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The Role of an Operations Manager in the Manufacturing Sector

December 9, 2019

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The Role of an Operations Manager in the Manufacturing Sector

Operations managers are an essential part of any business, but even more so in the manufacturing industry. They’re ultimately responsible for turning your business ideas into fully functioning products and are a part of many different areas of the company. If you’re considering becoming an operations manager, read on to find out what the role entails as well as the key part the operations manager has to play in a manufacturing business.

Planning the Process

One of the main roles an operations manager is responsible for is, of course, planning. Without a plan, there will be no product, and with a bad plan, things will go wrong, or your product will not turn out the way it was intended. Operations managers need to make clear, detailed plans about each stage of production to make sure that the whole process goes as smoothly as possible. This means taking into account any goals the company is aiming for – for example, is the focus on producing a larger number of products that are a lower cost in order to win over customers with a cheaper price, or is there a focus on producing higher quality but more expensive products? There needs to be a clear aim of what is wanted out of the process in order to not only produce the ideal product for your business but also streamline the process, decide which process is best for your type of goods, and cut out anything unnecessary.

When thinking about your process, consider whether you’re going for made-to-order, mass production or mass customization. Made-to-order is best for those looking to produce a smaller number of a variety of products, since the beauty of made-to-order is that you can alter and customize each product according to the specific customer. Mass production is basically the opposite, where you’re producing a large quantity of identical products for a lower cost. Mass customization, however, is a mix of the two – cutting mass production off at a certain point and then customizing to the client’s liking, meaning you can get the best of both worlds by achieving something personal to customers but still at a large quantity and reasonable cost.

Maintaining A Professional Workforce

An operations manager isn’t just in charge of the production process; they’re also in charge of people. Managing employees has many different aspects – you have to make sure that efficiency is being maintained and employees are doing what they can to keep the process going smoothly. However, you also need to be on top of their satisfaction and wellbeing – low motivation, bad moods, lack of comfort, and bad conditions can all contribute to workers feeling uncomfortable and unhappy in their work, decreasing the efficiency and quality of production. Doing what you can and putting plans in place to keep employees happy will not only benefit the team and bring them together, but it will also improve the speed of your process and encourage a positive attitude to work.

Whether you’re looking at it from an individual perspective or a business perspective, looking after your employees and putting facilities in place to keep them happy will only benefit your company. It’s also important to include training for employees to keep them up to date with new technologies such as nanotechnology and reinstate what is expected from them. This goes for you, too – make sure you’re aware of everything going on and keep yourself up to date. Also ensure you have a lot of knowledge about what you’re doing to ensure you’re best prepared – taking a masters in operations management from Kettering University will give you all the skills you need to be informed and professional in an operations management role.

Location, Facilities, and Equipment Decisions

An operations manager is also responsible for deciding which site is best for your business, what sort of facilities are required, and what equipment and machinery will be needed in the process.

When thinking about the location of the site, it’s important to consider several factors. You should take into account where your raw materials are coming from as well as where you plan on shipping your final products to. This will minimize transport and shipping costs as much as possible. You also want to select an area where other costs, such as land, taxes, and utilities, are as low as possible to cut on expenses and dedicate more money to production. It’s a good idea to find an area where you’re likely to be able to access plenty of workers. Click here for more information on how to select the best location for your manufacturing company.

You also need to consider what sort of facilities need to be put in place not only for the production process but for your staff, too. Don’t forget to check everything thoroughly with the health and safety regulations in your area, or you’ll end up being shut down before you’ve even started.

Once you’ve worked out the basic facilities you’ll need, think about equipment. This includes machinery required in production, items needed for storage, equipment needed to both supply staff and keep them happy, and many other factors. You should also think about all of the materials needed to form your product.

As operations manager, you are also in charge of costing all of this, so budget everything, and see if it’s possible to drive these costs down. Filing down your expenses will give you a lot more leeway over your production and other aspects, such as the materials you can access, so you can improve your production process as well as gain a lead on other competitors in the manufacturing industry. Having said this, don’t be afraid to spend a little more on better quality items, especially if they’re long-lasting – although a cheaper price may be tempting, a longer-lasting and better-quality item will save you much more money in the long run.

These 3 key points are essential to an operations manager’s role, and with the right preparation, what can be an incredibly challenging task can be done swiftly and professionally.

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