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What are the major responsibilities of the operations manager, and which responsibility might be the most challenging?

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Kale Emmerich eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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An operations manager is just that—someone in charge of operations. The operations manager has leadership over every aspect of operations: planning, production, scheduling, managing employees, distribution and more. Essentially, anything that goes on inside the walls of a facility (manufacturing plant, call center, etc.), the operations manager is in charge of.

Obviously, this is a very expansive job that requires someone with a diverse skill set and an ability to work under extreme pressure. The most difficult responsibility depends on who you are asking, but my personal belief would be managing employees. Machinery either works or doesn't and can be fixed if it's broken. Customers will always be difficult. Employees, however, need to be guided and motivated to be properly engaged with the company mission.

Employees can make or break the success of an operation, so managing them is certainly one of the more difficult and important roles an operations manager undertakes.

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Michael Ugulini eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The major responsibilities of the operations manager are analyzing corporate strategy, creating and developing programs, activities, and tasks that conform to this strategy, and designing the proper products and services that further the corporate strategy. In addition, the operations manager must plan and oversee activities, processes, and more that contribute to the overall corporate goals.

Moreover, the operations manager must measure the effectiveness of operations and make changes to procedures that are ineffective. He or she must replace them with more effective and efficient procedures, when necessary, to contribute to the company's revenues and profits.

The most challenging responsibility in all of these is the creating and developing of programs, activities, and tasks that conform to corporate strategic goals. It is vital that the operations manager creates and develops the proper programs and such. Everything else after that is dependent on initially making the right decisions as to what programs and initiatives to implement. A wrong decision here and the rest of the production chain could be an exercise in futility - and lost resources.

Creating and developing the right programs means that problems in production down the road can be addressed, without the whole process being abandoned. However, creating and developing the wrong program from the get-go means problems in production down the road may not be solvable because the entire program from the beginning was wrong.

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