You’re already a functioning business. You have a good understanding of strategy, you’ve hired your essential staff, and know how to meet your customers’ needs. You’re getting orders out the door and operating with a system, but…
Maybe you could do it better.
Hiring an operations manager who focuses on the right tasks might be the key to moving your organization to the next level.
First, though, what exactly does an operations manager do?
Many companies often struggle to answer this question, and owners continually ask me how to create the perfect job description for such an all-encompassing position.
The operations manager is a HUGE job, both in size and significance. Depending on the size of your company, how you function, and your specific market segments, it might take more than one person to carry out these responsibilities. But finding the right leader can make a huge difference in the effectiveness of an organization!
While the exact duties of an operations manager can vary, the best operations managers always take on these five key roles.
1. Provide Storage, Access, and Maintenance for Your Inventory
The role of an operations manager is to provide storage, access, and maintenance for your rental inventory. They need to provide processes for the utilization of all equipment and accessories.
You might think, “But I’m the one who provides the warehouse. I’m the owner.”
That’s understandable, but even if you provide the actual warehouse, your operations manager is the person who makes sure the warehouse is used for the right purposes. There are owners (not you, of course!) who store their boats, jet skis, and other personal items in the company warehouse.
Then they complain about operational efficiency. C’mon. The most valuable real estate in your business it the open floor space needed to run an efficient and scalable operation.
The right operations manager is the person who can tell the owner to get their junk out of the warehouse.
2. Prep and Deliver Orders
The operations manager is also responsible for how you prep and deliver orders. Once you’ve confirmed a transaction with a customer, it’s time to act on it. The operations manager’s job is to make sure the order is implemented to the full extent of the customer’s expectations.
This means they’re going to have plan workflow and predict demand. So in addition to managing space, the operations manager also has to manage people.
They must be able to look into the upcoming orders, see into the pipeline, and anticipate what’s ahead. They’ll know, “Next Thursday we’re going to be really busy! We get the orders back Wednesday that need to be fulfilled by Friday so everything will need to happen on Thursday. I’ll need extra help.” Then, they’ll plan for it.
The operations manager will identify what’s coming and prepare accordingly.
3. Schedule and Supervise Crew
Because the operations manager is anticipating future workflow, they need to be involved in crew scheduling and supervision.
One of the biggest challenges in any business is having to work with people. If we only had to deal with equipment, work would be so much easier! You need a manager who can lead and supervise people.
Supervision is different from micromanaging. Micromanagers are easy to come by — they’re a dime a dozen. But a good operations manager doesn’t just tell people what to do. They remove obstacles to progress so the team can complete their jobs.
4. Maintain an Accurate Inventory
Given that AV is an inventory-based business, you’d think we’d be good at keeping up with our stuff.
But we’re not.
A good operations manager will maintain an accurate inventory of the rental items and supplies so they can predict shortages far in advance. This increases the likelihood of finding cost-effective solutions.
Last-minute needs are always more expensive. And when you’re the buyer, that means last-minute is more expensive for you. A good operations manager will promptly let you know when you’ll need to outsource, buy, and otherwise prepare for future shortages.
Most of all, your operations manager needs to be a person who can adapt. We’re a 24/7 business — I’ve been in the business for 35 years and that’s the one thing that hasn’t changed in the industry.
We work all the time. Being able to adapt, respond, and react is extremely important in any AV job — particularly the role of an operations manager.
Anticipate demand, think on their feet, plan ahead, lead people, and roll with it all when something changes. That’s what we’re looking for.
As you analyze the effectiveness of your company, take a look at the role of your operations manager. If they can refine their skills in these five roles, not only will they be more effective at their job, but your entire company will benefit.