If you are a company that deals with building products, you know that operational costs are a major factor in your bottom line. To run an efficient warehouse you will invest in forklifts, inventory, delivery trucks, and other capital-intensive areas. One key investment we have found many companies overlook is a strong Operations Manager.
Failing to invest in an Operations Manager limits a company’s overall efficiency and profitability. By improving operations and cutting out waste, an operations manager will pay for themselves over and over again. So what makes a strong ops manager? After touring hundreds of building product companies, here are some of the common traits we have found in the most successful companies.
Ability to Relate
A strong ops manager needs to be able to relate to each member of the team uniquely and motivate them collectively. This requires an aptitude for relationships in which the ops manager is approachable while maintaining their authoritative position among peers. Some practical means of setting up these relationships is holding weekly group evaluation meetings and monthly individual evaluations where the ops manager communicates clear expectations and honest feedback regarding opportunities for improvement.
Strong Communication Skills
Being an ops manager often means being an advocate for both upper management and the employees who report to you. The ability to speak to upper management and work through issues with other departments to determine the best solution for the overall good of the company cannot be overemphasized. One of the most impactful tasks of an ops manager is to help all departments (sales, purchasing, warehouse, shop, etc.) understand how their job performance affects the overall company and help them develop a plan for improvement where needed.
Focus on Continuous Improvement
Finally, many of the most successful ops managers we have met are leaders who are willing to go through the pain of change for the benefit of efficiency. Continuous improvement is always available for those who are willing to keep an eye on the horizon and embrace new processes, technology, and ideas. This ops manager sees a problem and immediately begins to look for ways they might leverage new technology and ideas in order to solve the problem and eliminate waste.
In any business, there will always be room for improvement so having someone who tirelessly pursues efficiency is crucial. An ops manager should be constantly looking to the future to make the next improvement. These characteristics may not be easy to find in one person, but investing in a quality ops manager will create a huge return on investment.