Operations Manager Interview Questions

Operations INterview

This article provides some interesting interview questions to help you prepare for your interview as an operations manager or executive.  The article was also written from the perspective of the hiring manager so you can gain more insight as to what they will be looking for during your interview.  

Original article click here.

Operations Manager Interview Questions

Operations Managers play an important role as they ensure smooth operation of all company procedures. Their role is to plan, oversee and coordinate day-to-day activities to improve effectiveness, productivity and performance.

You should look for candidates with broad experience and working knowledge of all organizational functions. Operations Managers are responsible for various tasks, from logistics to resources management and budget planning. Therefore, your ideal candidate should know how to tackle operational problems and be able to find effective solutions in a timely manner.

During your interview process, you should keep an eye out for candidates who are eager to step up when a challenge arises. Excellent numerical and interpersonal skills are also signs that your candidate is a good match for your Operations Manager position. For better results, tailor these questions to meet any specific tasks and requirements you have.

Operational and Situational questions

  • Describe the main daily tasks for an Operations Manager.
  • What is budget planning and how do you handle it step-by-step?
  • What is your experience with logistics management?
  • Have you ever negotiated contracts with vendors? What’s the most effective approach?
  • Which Management Information Systems have you previously used?
  • Are you familiar with Cost Analysis tools? Mention any statistical tools you have experience working with.
  • If your manager asked you to make a report about production costs, what method would you use?
  • Which are, in your opinion, the most important financial management best practices?
  • What does successful communication between different organizational functions/departments mean to you?
  • How do support services contribute to achieving business goals? Give some examples.
  • We want to ensure our confidential data is stored in a secure place. How would you cooperate with our IT team to achieve this?

Behavioral questions

  • Have you ever successfully implemented a cost-cutting strategy?
  • How big was the last team you worked with and what problems did you face?
  • What’s your experience in making presentations?
  • How do you manage 1:1 employee meetings?

 

Please feel free to contact Power Writers USA with questions or comments.  We are your best source to help you land an interview by providing top-notch resume writing services, resume updates, cover letters, etc.

Operations Management Employment to Improve by 31 Percent in 2017

Gears of Operation

Today we are sharing an excerpt of an article by Apics which focuses on some of the current job market trends for operations management positions and which specific job positions appear to be most in demand.

Operations Management Employment to Improve by 31 Percent in 2017

Findings from the “2016 APICS Operations Management Employment Outlook” report forecast an increased amount of opportunities for individuals in the field. APICS and the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Cameron School of Business interviewed a random sample of 30,000 industry professionals around the globe to create a joint report providing year-to-year comparisons; trend analysis; and a 12-month outlook on hiring, layoffs, job function, job title, and salary compensation.

The job market for operations management professionals has been steadily improving since the first salary and employment report was released in 2009. Forty-one percent of survey respondents anticipate hiring within the next 12 months, up from 38 percent of survey respondents in the 2014 project. This growth in anticipated hiring pairs with a 3 percent decline in anticipated layoffs, resulting in a significant 31 percent projected net gain for operations management industry employment in 2017.

In addition to overall trends in operations management hiring, the report takes a closer look at five main job specialties within operations management: execution and control of operations, purchasing and customer relationship management (CRM), resource planning, and supply chain management. The Purchasing and CRM specialty is projected to be the most in-demand job area for the next 12 months.

2016 APICS Operations Management Employment Outlook infographic

Salary and compensation data collected in the 2016 survey also continue the positive trends reported in years past. Average annual compensation across all operations management job categories was reported to be $101,644 in 2016, a 3.3 percent increase compared with the 2014 report’s findings.

Respondents who classified their roles as “execution and control of operations” average the highest reported annual compensation. Those who selected “resource planning” as their job classifications are the lowest at $71,329.

Since the first APICS salary survey in 2009, male salaries have consistently outpaced female salaries, mirroring the gender bias found across industries nationwide. In the “2016 APICS Operations Management Employment Outlook,” however, signs of improvement are visible. Females in the US Midwest on average across all age ranges report an 8 percent higher salary than their male counterparts. When the US sample is divided by age and gender, another promising trend toward gender pay equality emerges: Females under the age of 25 are earning 41 percent more than males of the same age. There is still much improvement needed, evidenced by the numbers for the North Central and South East regions. In these parts of the United States, females earn on average 39 and 35 percent, respectively, less than their male counterparts.

According to the data, education makes a difference too. Employees with a bachelor’s degree can expect approximately 30 percent more in total compensation, on average, compared with a similar employee with only a high school diploma. Individuals completing a master of business administration (MBA) degree can expect approximately 11 percent higher compensation, on average, than those with a bachelor’s degree and approximately 44 percent more than those with only a high school diploma. Of those employees with an associate’s or technical degree, women earn approximately 14 percent less than men with the same amount of education. Women with a bachelor’s degree earn 11 percent less than similarly educated men.

To read more of the original article click here.

If you have any questions, comments, or are in need of resume writing services, please contact Power Writers USA.

Five Skills Key to Successful Business Operations Management

Operations Management

Over the last several weeks we have been taking the time to highlight some of the larger industries we write resumes for.  This week we will look at the role of the operations manager.  

Original article click here.

You cannot be a good business leader unless you thoroughly understand the business operations in your organization and how it links to its performance. I have noticed one big reason business strategies fail – it is the unbelievable reality that senior leadership many a times doesn’t understand the basics of their business. How it runs and what makes it run. An operations mindset is extremely critical for all leaders – No matter how good you are at framing strategy; it also has to get executed successfully for an organization to succeed. This is where the business operations team can play a big role, by not only providing insights to the leadership on the ways to improve business performance through profitable growth and strategic management of costs and risks but also to reduce the gap between strategy and execution through disciplined process implementation. Quite a few big buzz words there. But it boils down to one thing – to succeed in business, you have to understand and be good at operations. I strongly believe an operational mindset is a mental “muscle” that can be developed. For all those who want to develop this muscle or are thinking of a career in business operations, this post is for them.

So without further ado, here are the five top skills/loves that I believe are must-haves for those who want to enhance the performance and productivity of organizations through understanding and improving their operations:

Must-Have #1 – You love people:

Lee Iacocca said:  “In the end, all business operations can be reduced to three words: people, product and profits. Unless you’ve got a good team, you can’t do much with the other two.” Understanding people across multiple functions and roles and leveraging their strengths is extremely important to meet objectives – in an operational role where you have to work mainly in a matrix structure where you have lots of responsibility but not always the required hierarchical authority, this becomes paramount. You must know how to connect with people and energize and enthuse them. Communication skills, beyond the verbal and the written, the ability to listen and read between the lines is an useful asset to align people to your goals. And all this is not possible unless you have a genuine interest and love for people.

Must-Have #2 – You love numbers:

Does the idea of deciphering lots and lots of rows and columns of numbers spread across sheets give you the shivers ? As they say, the devil lies in the details and to be good at operations, making sense of numbers must excite you. Plenty of common sense plus and an ability to derive meaning out of the different ways numbers can be combined or dissected to arrive at the right performance metrics for early warning signals for the business as well as measuring the results is part and parcel of the operations role. Knowing your numbers and the different levers that can be applied to them makes you the master of the game.

Must-Have #3 – You love wearing multiple hats:

In operations, you have to be put yourself in the shoes of different functions on a day-to-day basis – sales, IT, finance, business, delivery – to be able to understand the requirements from all perspectives and execute on it. A specialist in operations with a generalist bent of mind to connect all the dots in the organization for the right solutions.  You have to become the subject matter expert in many things at the same time. Quoting from an article by Vikram Mansharamani in HBR – there appears to be reasonable and robust data suggesting that generalists are better at navigating uncertainty. Professor Phillip Tetlock conducted a 20+ year study of 284 professional forecasters. He asked them to predict the probability of various occurrences both within and outside of their areas of expertise. Analysis of the 80,000+ forecasts found that experts are less accurate predictors than non-experts in their area of expertise. Tetlock’s conclusion: when seeking accuracy of predictions, it is better to turn to those like “Berlin’s prototypical fox, those who know many little things, draw from an eclectic array of traditions, and accept ambiguity and contradictions.” Ideological reliance on a single perspective appears detrimental to one’s ability to successfully navigate vague or poorly-defined situations (which are more prevalent today than ever before).

Must-Have #4 – You love solving puzzles:

Providing smart and creative recommendations for business process improvement is one of the key areas in which business operations team can be key contributors. As an operation person, you have to identify the problems, dig for knowledge in the vast amounts of available data and then analyze it to arrive at the areas of focus. As per research by Gartner, through 2012, 80% of organizations will struggle to recruit the talent required to meet their business analytics objectives. This needs an inquisitive mind, a persistent approach and deduction skills. If you are a crossword or Sudoku fanatic, you are in the right “zone” here :)

Must-Have #5 – You love WORK:

Back end work, strategic work, boring work, last-minute deadline work, grunt work,  thinking work, transactional work, delegated work, filling in for someone else work – your work landscape in an operations role will constantly be changing and switching. So, you must have a great love for work by itself and in itself in all its myriad shapes and forms. If you are particular about doing only one type of work and consider certain types of work below you – this is certainly not the role for you. The duties and responsibilities in this role are fluid and are different from company to company or even business head to business head. I have rarely across a defined job description that remains constant over a period of time in my career. So, your guiding principles and measuring stick for your work should be based on what you want to achieve, not what type of work is needed to get there. A passion for work coupled with an ability to set your own standards for excellence is crucial in this role.

In addition to the above, a  business operations person must be able to exude confidence, have conviction and be firm on what he/she believes is the right thing to do. It is only then that by focusing on some of the points where structure, processes, people and systems intersect, and engaging and influencing all the stakeholders involved to work on those critical junctions, the business operations team can release benefits that ripple across the organization.

What other skills do you think are necessary for successful business management and operations? What have I missed? Please share your experiences below. I would love to hear and learn from you.

Operations Management: Definition, Principles, Activities, Trends

Operations Management Career

We write for a lot of Operations Management professionals. We mean A LOT. Hundreds each year, across all industries and verticals. This article was particularly insightful to us as Power Writers USA continues to provide world class support to it’s clientele.

Original article click here.

WHAT IS OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT?

 

Operations management involves planning, organizing, and supervising processes, and make necessary improvements for higher profitability. The adjustments in the everyday operations have to support the company’s strategic goals, so they are preceded by deep analysis and measurement of the current processes.

 

Historical background

Operations management was previously called production management, clearly showing its origins in manufacturing. Historically, it all began with the division of production, starting as early as the times of ancient craftsmen, but spreading more widely only by adding the concept of interchangeability of parts in the eighteenth century, ultimately sparking the industrial revolution.

 

Still, it was not until Henry Ford took a twist on manufacturing with his famous assembly line concept, otherwise known as “bring work to men,” that the management of production for improving productivity became a hot topic. From the 1950’s and 1960’s, it formed a separate discipline, besides bringing other concepts, such as Taylorism, production planning, or inventory control, to life.

 

As the economies in the developed world were gradually shifting to be service-based, all the corporate functions, including product management, started to integrate them. The service side also began its approach by applying product management principles to the planning and organizing of processes, to the point where it made more sense to call it operations management.

 

Multidisciplinary nature

Operations management is now a multidisciplinary functional area in a company, along with finance and marketing. It makes sure the materials and labor, or any other input, is used in the most effective and efficient way possible within an organization – thus maximizing the output.

Operations management requires being familiar with a wide range of disciplines. It incorporates general management, factory- and equipment maintenance management by tradition. The operations manager has to know about the common strategic policies, basic material planning, manufacturing and production systems, and their analysis. Production and cost control principles are also of importance. And last, but not least, it has to be someone’s who is able to navigate industrial labor relations.

Interested in a deep dive into operations maangement? Read the following slides.

 

Required skills

The skills required to perform such work are as diverse as the function itself. The most important skills are:

 

Organizational abilities. Organizing processes in an organization requires a set of skills from planning and prioritizing through execution to monitoring. These abilities together help the manager achieve productivity and efficiency.

Analytic capabilities/understanding of process. The capability to understand processes in your area often includes a broad understanding of other functions, too. An attention to detail is often helpful to go deeper in the analysis.

Coordination of processes. Once processes are analyzed and understood, they can be optimized for maximum efficiency. Quick decision-making is a real advantage here, as well as a clear focus problem-solving.

People skills. Flaws in the interactions with employees or member of senior management can seriously harm productivity, so an operation manager has to have people skills to properly navigate the fine lines with their colleagues. Furthermore, clear communication of the tasks and goals serves as great motivation and to give a purpose for everyone.

Creativity. Again, problem-solving skills are essential for a creative approach if things don’t go in the right direction. When they do, creativity helps find new ways to improve corporate performance.

Tech-savviness. In order to understand and design processes in a time when operations are getting increasingly technology-dependent, affinity for technology is a skill that can’t be underestimated. Operations managers have to be familiar with the most common technologies used in their industries, and have an even deeper understanding of the specific operation technology at their organizations.

 

THE MAJOR PRINCIPLES OF OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT

Some of the fundamentals of the everyday work in operations management worth expanding a little more. Below you will find two major approaches that are important to understand the driving forces behind the decisions about planning, designing and organizing processes.

They are both embracing the idea of focusing on the delivery: supporting the organization to deliver better results, by an optimized input of materials, equipment, technology, and human resources.

 

The Ten Principles of OM by Randall Schaeffer

 

Randall Schaeffer is an experienced manufacturing and operations management professional, an industrial philosopher, and regular speaker at conferences organized by APICS, the leading US association of supply chain and operations management. He presented his list of 10 principles of operations management at an APICS conference in 2007, saying the violation of these principles had caused the struggle US manufacturing companies were experiencing.

 

Reality. Operations management should focus on the problem, instead of the techniques, because no tool in itself would present a universal solution.

Organization. Processes in manufacturing are interconnected. All elements have to be predictable and consistent, in order to achieve a similar outcome in profits.

Fundamentals. The Pareto rule is also applicable to operations: 80% of success comes from a strict adherence to precisely maintaining records and disciplines, and only 20% comes from applying new techniques to the processes.

Accountability. Managers are expected to set the rules and the metrics, and define responsibilities of their subordinates, as well as regularly check if the goals are met. Only this way would the workers put in the necessary efforts.

Variance. Variance of processes has to be encouraged, because if managed well, they can be sources of creativity.

Causality. Problems are symptoms: effects of underlying causes. Unless the causes are attacked, the same problems will appear again.

Managed passion. The passion of employees can be a major driver of company growth, and it can be instilled by the managers if not coming naturally.

Humility. Instead of a costly trial and error process, managers should acknowledge their limitations, “get help, and move on.”

Success. What is considered success will change over time, but always consider the interest of the customer. In order to keep them, all the other principles have to be revised occasionally.

Change. There will always be new theories and solutions, so you should not stick to one or the other, but embrace the change, and manage for stability in the long term.

 

The 16 principles of operations management by Dr. Richard Schonberger

 

Dr. Richard J. Schonberger, renowned researcher of American manufacturing and author of the book “World Class Manufacturing: The Next Decade,” has become widely known in operations management by his set of 16 customer-focused principles.

Team up with customers. Know what they buy and use, and organize product families accordingly.

Continual, rapid improvement. Aim for non-stop improvement to always deliver the best quality, aim for a quicker response to customer demand, and always offer maximum flexibility. Thus, it gives more value, in a more flexible way.

Unified purpose. Involve frontline employees in strategic discussions to make sure they understand the purpose of their work and have their say in what to change.

Know the competition. Know their customers, their best practices, and their competitive edges.

Focus. Allow no variations that the customers don’t buy or demand.

Organize resources. Set priorities in organizing resources in a way the operations are close to the customer rate of use or demand.

Invest in HR. Offer cross-training options, job rotation, and improvements in work safety and health. Also offer more rewards and recognitions.

Maintain equipment. Always think of improvement of current assets first, instead of a new purchase.

Simple “best” equipment. Keep the equipment as simple and flexible as possible, at a reasonable cost.

Minimize human error. Improve the equipment and keep frontline workers accountable.

Cut times. Shorten product path to customer by making processes and delivery faster.

Cut setup. Be prepared to support different processes and get all information and tools ready for on-demand production.

Pull system. Improve the workflow and cut the waste by producing on demand.

Total quality control. Use only the best materials, processes, and partners.

Fix causes. Focus on controlling the root causes that really affect cost and performance.

Visibility management. Promote corporate achievements, let the market know about your improvements in competence or productivity.

 

 

The activities of operations management

There are three major groups of activities performed by operations management, deriving from its planning or designing, organizing, and supervising functions. All activities involve considering assets, costs, and human resources, and are preceded by a thorough analysis of processes.

 

Design

Before planning processes or designing products, operations management should be busy analyzing the market to test the demands. If it delivers promising results, e.g. a niche to target or a new product or service to develop, you can start planning.

 

In most cases, planning involves designing a new product, from the initial concept to the actual launch, with several testing phases involved. During planning, you will have to consider both technical and business requirements.

 

Sometimes the processes need to be updated: designing a new supply chain or other logistics processes. If your product is a service, process design aims for a variety of requirements and customer contact levels.

 

Again in other cases, it’s about a new facility: your company decides to expand its operations, and you will have to decide on the location of the facility, its capacity, and its layout.

 

Plans should always support the business objectives: they are in focus when considering the costs and finding the best matching quality and capacity, or calculating inventory and human labor needs.

 

Therefore, it is important to set proper measures in the planning phase, to know if the actual performance meets them, or there is need for adjustments. Capacity is one of these measures, as is product quality, or delivery times. The initial figures are usually estimates based on the market analysis conducted beforehand.

Bonus tip!  If you are thinking about operations management as a career, make it a point to reach out to industry professionals and conduct some informational interviews to learn more about what’s to be expected of you in that role.  It can be very insightful!

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