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What is Operations Management?

Operations ManagementIf you’re starting a small business or you’re enrolled in business classes, you probably want to know more about operations management. This core function of a business is focused on dealing with the resources and material input used to create a product or service. It’s one of the three core functions of a business, the other two being finance and marketing. There are other supporting functions of a business, such as accounting, engineering, information systems and human resources, but the core is made up of the finance, marketing and operations management departments.

Making a Business More Efficient

The team that performs this role is concerned with making a business’s line of production as efficient as possible, which involves the cost of input materials as well as the process of creating the product or service offered by the business, according to Small Biz Connect. For example, in a retail store, the operations manager is usually simply called the store manager and is responsible for ordering merchandise and organizing an efficient sales floor. In a manufacturing plant, the operations management team is responsible for sourcing raw materials and devising the most efficient way to create a product. This role often overlaps with other parts of a business, such as the engineering or information systems departments, and there aren’t always clear divisions between these teams, especially in smaller businesses.

In a nutshell, operations management is a very simple concept and simply relates to providing better, more efficient services for customers. In business, it’s treated as a specialized role that uses statistical, analytical, mathematical and communications skills to solve problems. However, there isn’t a specialized degree for this area of business, and to go into this line of work usually requires a bachelor of business. With a Master of Business Administration, you can usually find higher-paying jobs leading management teams or doing consulting for businesses that need to improve their costs and profit margins.

A Career in Operations Management

To excel in this field, you need to be a good all-around team player with strong analytical skills and excellent communication skills. Most jobs in this area are full-time positions working with the same group of people every day, so you get plenty of time to work with a group and shape them into an efficient organization.

Some of the specific issues you’ll deal with include designing supply chains, choosing the structure of communications and service networks and figuring out how many resources to allocate to the construction of a business, as well as its layout, equipment, inventory and materials, according to MIT. It’s one of the most important roles in a business, and even small businesses with only a few employees should think in terms of operations management when analyzing their internal processes.

Often, in small businesses, the role of operations manager is taken on by the company owner, who also acts as marketing director and chief financial officer. If this description applies to you, learning about operations management will enable you to make decisions in a more structured way, as they’re made in larger, more complex organizations.

Related Resource: Supply Chain Management

All businesses need people will strong analytical skills to figure out how to run more efficiently, and the entire reason for a business’s existence is the product or service it offers customers. If you have good all-around business skills, you’ll probably be successful in operations management.