Operation executives create policies, processes and strategies that help their companies run efficiently and profitably. They work in a variety of businesses and organizations, ranging from local hospitals to international corporations. Although specific skills vary depending on the industry, successful operation executives need excellent communication and leadership skills and the ability to make good decisions under pressure.
Operation Executive Job Description
Although all operation executives oversee daily operations, other duties may differ from company to company. One business may hire an operation executive because they believe that his strong sales background will be invaluable, while another business may prefer to hire an executive who has experience managing company culture change.
The management executive job scope may include these responsibilities:
- Preparation and oversight of the operational budget.
- Development of strategies and procedures that increase efficiency and maximize profits.
- Oversight of day-to-day operations.
- Creation of sales or production goals, often in cooperation with other executives and the chief executive officer.
- Identification of issues that may affect sales, production or delivery of services, and creation of solutions to promptly address problems.
- Supervision of managers and operational staff members.
- Interpretation of data and analytics and report generation.
- Presentations to fellow executive team members, the CEO, employees, shareholders, the board of directors and the media.
Successful operation executives understand how to motivate and encourage employees to meet and exceed targets and goals. They often have experience in several areas of business in addition to operations, such as finance, human resources and marketing, and they draw on this experience to create realistic goals and strategies for operations.
Titles used for the operations role vary, but may include chief operating officer, vice president of operations, executive director of operations or senior production manager. Regardless of what they’re called, operation executives enjoy comparatively high salaries, although job security isn’t guaranteed.
If the company surpasses its goals, operation executives may be rewarded with praise and hefty bonuses. Unfortunately, if sales decline or the company faces a costly product recall, the executive’s job and reputation may be at risk.
The operation executive’s ability to succeed in the position is dependent on developing a strong rapport with the CEO. The CEO may rely on the executive to serve as sounding board for ideas or provide expertise in areas in which she is lacking. In some cases, a job as an operation executive can lead to an eventual promotion to CEO.
Education and Training
A bachelor’s degree is usually the minimum educational requirement for operation executive positions. A degree in business administration, finance, accounting, supply chain management, business analytics or operation management can be helpful. Some companies may prefer to hire candidates who possess master or doctoral degrees.
Much of the training for the position begins long before you ever accept a job as an operations executive. Companies look for candidates who have held high-level positions in the industry and have a strong background in the field.
Salary and Job Outlook
PayScale estimates the average salary of a chief operating officer at $135,598 and notes that the average pay for an executive director of operations is $108,225. In addition to their salary, operation executives may also receive bonuses, commissions and profit sharing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment of top executives, including operation executives, to grow 8 percent by 2026.