What Is an Operations Department? (With Duties and Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 2 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Effective operations are critical to maintaining a successful business, and efficiency relies on professionals who focus on operational processes. Organisations often hire operational teams to oversee their production processes and help them meet their goals. Learning about operational departments can help you decide if a career in this field suits your talents, interests and professional objectives. In this article, we describe the operations department, explore the duties and skills of operational management professionals, explain the benefits of an operations department and list five jobs to consider if you're interested in a job on an operations management team.

What is an operations department?

An operations department consists of a team of professionals that focuses on the overall operations of a specific area of business. This may include planning, supervising and organising production, manufacturing or provision of other services that help to maximise the profit of a business. Operations management teams measure, evaluate, maintain and improve internal processes to help ensure their efficiency and productivity.

What do operational management professionals do?

Operations managers are responsible for acquiring, developing and delivering goods to clients or customers based on the needs of the target market and the abilities of the company. Here are some of the other specific responsibilities an operations manager may have:

  • providing inspiration and leadership to employees

  • developing important policies and implementing strategic decisions

  • reviewing current operational policies and procedures for an organisation and implementing new policies when necessary

  • assisting human resources with recruiting efforts as needed

  • promoting an effective company culture that encourages top performance and employee morale

  • overseeing budgets, reports, business plans and auditing

  • collaborating with senior stakeholders in the company

  • ensuring that the staff have filed important regulatory and legal documents

  • monitoring compliance according to laws and regulations

  • meeting with the board of directors to discuss and plan for short- and long-term goals

  • identifying and addressing issues and opportunities for the company

  • building partnerships and alliances with other companies for the benefit of the organisation

  • supporting communication between management staff and employees

Operational management professional skills

Here are some skills that can benefit a professional in an operational management role:

Leadership

Operations managers help to lead and manage many employees who carry out the daily tasks of a company. They have exceptional leadership skills to motivate and inspire employees. With their support, team members can become top performers by exceeding expectations in their roles and positions.

Related: 10 Leadership Role Examples (With Functions of Leadership)

Communication

Operations managers communicate with employees, team leads, managers, executives, shareholders and others to assist with organisational goals. They have excellent communication skills to convey which operations are effective and which might benefit from improvement. They may develop and pitch plans to senior executives and then communicate the direction to other staff members.

Related: 16 Good Communicator Characteristics (and How to Become One)

Critical thinking and problem solving

Operations managers identify and help to solve issues a company faces. They think critically to plan and implement solutions to problems. Operations managers often lead their teams in the development and implementation of new systems and processes.

Organisation

Operations managers require strong organisational skills because they have deadlines to meet for many tasks and projects. To meet these deadlines, they often have effective organisational systems that assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities. They may also manage team lead roles and responsibilities, such as scheduling and distributing duties among team members.

Decision-making

Often, operations managers have the responsibility of making important decisions that can affect business outcomes. These professionals should know how to identify problems, consider solutions, collaborate with other executives and implement their chosen solution in a timely manner. They may also make decisions about the way their teams function to ensure efficiency.

Benefits of an operation department

It's essential to understand the importance of operations management for your business to operate effectively. Here are some of the central benefits of operations management that make it important for businesses:

Reduces waste

Waste reduction is an essential component of operations management. Effective operations management teams assist with eliminating waste, which can reduce costs. Operations management may handle waste from overproduction, defects, inventory, waiting times, overprocessing and unused time. They can then streamline wasteful activities that consume time and resources but don't provide value to the customer or organisation into lean business practices.

Ensures product quality

By creating processes that reduce waste and improve efficiency, operation departments help ensure the quality of the products or services the organisation offers. They often help organisations establish effective quality assurance processes, which use specifications, standards and feedback to improve products and services continuously. Some ways operational teams might improve product quality include investing in new equipment and expanding production teams.

Improves customer satisfaction

By ensuring the quality of an organisation's products or services, an operation department can help the organisation maintain high levels of customer satisfaction. When organisations emphasise the quality of what they offer, they can earn the trust of consumers. Maintaining product quality may help the organisation maintain its current customer base and gain new customers.

Increases revenue

Making operations more efficient can increase revenue because it may minimise waste and encourage business growth. When customers perceive a company's products or services as reliable, their patronage helps the organisation grow. Operation departments can help companies manage customer demand by improving production, sales and customer service processes.

Boosts employee productivity

Operation departments can help improve employee productivity by identifying areas of concern, resolving and preventing productivity issues and working with employees to determine what motivates them. They can then establish processes that make it easier for employees to work more efficiently, which can increase productivity. This can also promote job satisfaction, which often makes professionals feel motivated and encouraged at work.

Related: 12 Tips for Working From Home to Enhance Your Productivity

Assists with company objectives

Organisations typically have many short-term and long-term goals, and operation departments can help teams achieve them. By implementing operations that encourage productivity, customer satisfaction and employee retention, operational managers have an important role in facilitating goal completion. They may help individuals and teams reach their objectives on a daily, weekly or monthly basis or assist the company in achieving its mission and vision.

5 operational management jobs

If you're interested in working in operational management, you have many career options. Here are five jobs in the field for you to consider:

1. Production scheduler

National average salary: $3,270 per month

Primary duties: A production scheduler is a business professional who organises and manages workflows for production teams. They focus on identifying, preventing and resolving production issues that affect productivity. The primary duties of a production scheduler often include managing production schedules, improving quality and performance and evaluating employee performances.

2. Manufacturing supervisor

National average salary: $4,037 per month

Primary duties: A manufacturing supervisor is a management professional who oversees production teams in manufacturing facilities. They ensure assembly line team members and other manufacturing professionals adhere to health and safety regulations and complete their duties effectively. Other duties of a manufacturing supervisor may include scheduling team members, managing inventory and maintaining production equipment.

3. Account manager

National average salary: $4,932 per month

Primary duties: An account manager is a business professional who works with clients to ensure the organisation meets their needs. They maintain business relationships that benefit the organisation and the customer by offering products or services and maintaining client satisfaction. The primary duties of an account manager often include creating budgets, managing client projects and communicating client concerns to other teams.

Related: 10 Important Account Manager Skills and How to Improve Them

4. Logistics manager

National average salary: $5,293 per month

Primary duties: A logistics manager is a business professional who plans and manages logistics operations for an organisation. They usually work at manufacturing or distribution facilities, where they arrange for the transportation of goods. Other duties of a logistics manager may include managing warehouse inventory, scheduling shipments and negotiating rates with transportation companies.

5. Project manager

National average salary: $6,212 per month

Primary duties: A project manager is a business professional who develops, implements and manages projects on a specific team within an organisation. They may work on one of many teams, such as software development, IT, finance, advertising and health care administration. The primary duties of a project manager often include planning projects, communicating project specifications with their teams, evaluating the project at each stage and identifying and resolving issues quickly as they arise.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

Explore more articles