Definition: The supervision of personnel in a non-production environment.

General: Operations is a broad term that includes everything from the end of a production line all the way until a product is delivered to a customer. Examples are warehousing (raw materials and products), distribution management, logistics, transportation, supply chain management, and customer service. In the past, manufacturing and marketing products were core competencies in business, and operations was an ignored cost center that added no value to customers. Today (especially in an E-Commerce environment) the new competitive advantage for any company is getting the right product to the right customer at the right time for the right price and using the most cost effective means. Companies who focus on effective operations are seeing dramatic improvements in the service they provide to customers.

Key Connecting Points:
Leadership skills: Operations positions are supervisory/leadership based where you will be responsible for a team of 10 to 100 associates who are involved in moving products through the supply chain. You will motivate them to achieve quality, quantity, cost, and process improvement goals. You will facilitate the creation of a continuous learning environment that fosters teamwork, process improvement, and skill development. Highlight examples in your military experience where you built teams and motivated people to achieve difficult objectives.

Teamwork skills: While you will supervise your team, you will also interface with many different functional areas of your company. Since you will not have direct authority over these other areas, you will motivate them with your interpersonal skills—your ability to establish rapport, gain trust, and motivate with your vision, technical competence and ability to effectively communicate your ideas. Because of high performance work teams, your ability to facilitate improvements and problem solving without being in charge is important.

Technical skills: Operations is becoming more technical, especially relating to computer technology. Many of the improvements in operations have come from using computers to improve the quality of work being produced, as well as to improve coordination and the speed of decision making between different functional areas in a company. You must show an ability and aptitude to learn and apply new technology to produce improved results.

Logistics experience: Highlight any military experience you have with scheduling, logistics, transportation, inventory control and resource management. The military is known for being logistically intensive, involving the coordination of many groups of people under tight timeline and budget requirements. Develop examples of times you improved results by optimizing logistics/transportation processes (process improvement).

Possible Job Titles:
Team Leader
Operations Manager
Operations Facilitator
Maintenance Team Leader
Distribution Manager

Sample Job Description – Operations Please keep in mind the following job descriptions are just two of many possible Operations job descriptions.

You will start your career as a Team Leader, supervising 20-75 distribution associates in one of the departments in the distribution center (receiving, warehousing, order fulfillment, shipping, etc.). You will be responsible for motivating and leading your team to provide high quality and cost-effective service to the next customer in the logistical chain, with ultimate responsibility to customers. Distribution is sophisticated in its use of advanced systems, both mechanical (gravity flow conveyors) and computerized (inventory control/automation). They use state-of-the-art systems for managing mass distribution of low cost goods obtained from a broad array of suppliers. The distribution center is the key link in the “raw materials to finished product” chain. You will be responsible for motivating, training and counseling your team to meet the standards of the distribution center. This is an extremely fluid, flexible environment, and a close working relationship with your team is vital. The complexity and intricacy of the entire distribution process is such that any knowledge you have of statistical methods, sampling techniques, and accounting and finance principles are beneficial.

You will start your career as a Service Team Leader, where you will lead a team of 10-14 service technicians who perform the service of sophisticated company products. You will plan and manage the day-to-day service operation to fulfill customer requirements and maximize profitability. You will interface with customers to understand their service needs, develop and negotiate service agreements tailored to those needs, schedule resources to meet workload, and monitor and interpret service agreement contracts. You will work closely with your technicians to plan activities, help identify and troubleshoot customer problems and develop training programs addressing policies, procedures and other business requirements. You will take part in developing market plans and coordinate with the sales force to support area and regional objectives and meet customer demands. This is a unique position in that you will need excellent leadership skills to motivate your team of technicians, good technical skills to understand maintenance on sophisticated equipment, and strong customer interface skills to grow the business.