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Operations Manager

What does an Operations Manager do?

Operations managers oversee the production of goods and/or provision of services. Their job is to make sure an organisation is running as well as it possibly can, with a smooth efficient service that meets the expectations and needs of customers and clients.

An operations manager has a broad role, and the specific responsibilities will vary between different companies, but generally include:

  • monitoring and analysing the current system of production or provision to check effectiveness, and working out a strategy for improvement
  • managing day-to-day activities, analysing statistics, and reading and writing reports
  • liaising with other team members, including interacting with managers of different areas of the organisation
  • presenting findings to stakeholders and higher management
  • training and supervising new employees, and tracking and measuring staff performance
  • managing quality assurance programmes
  • researching new technologies and alternative methods of efficiency
  • setting and reviewing budgets and managing costs
  • overseeing inventory, distribution of goods and facility layout.

What qualifications do I need?

Relevant professional management qualifications are often required for this job. It is common for operations managers to hold an honours or master’s degree in business administration or a similar subject. Many have obtained, or are working towards, an MBA. Some lower-level operations managers step up into the role from a slightly junior position within the same company. In industries such as retail or transport, it is possible to start employment in a general role as a college-leaver, and then work your way up to a senior role. However, chief executives often prefer to employ those with managerial experience when hiring from outside the organisation.

What subjects do I need?

Contact each institution for their specific requirements, but these subjects are recommended: 
• Mathematics
• Computer Applications
• Information Technology


Where can I study?

Various Courses

Cape Peninsula University of Technology
National Diploma: Operations Management

Durban University of Technology
Operations and Quality Management

Tshwane University of Technology
Operations Management

College SA
Diploma: Business Management (Production and Operations)

Where can I get more info?

The Association for Operations Management of Southern Africa (SAPICS) – www.sapics.org


Interview with an Operations Manager

Tshamaano Nepfumbada | OPERATIONS MANAGER | Film and Publication Board (FPB)

Tshamaano Nepfumbada | OPERATIONS MANAGER | Film and Publication Board (FPB)

Why did you choose this profession?
Growing up, I was always fascinated by the media industry, but it all seemed like a distant future until I landed a job in Public Service Radio. Having worked in the Public Broadcasting Service arena for several years, serving, empowering and protecting the South African citizen through my job has almost become like second nature, and it’s certainly fun.

What training did you undergo?
I studied for a BCom Marketing degree and BCom Honours in Strategic Management at the University of Johannesburg. In addition, I undertook the Management Advancement Programme with Wits Business School and an Online Marketing Course at the University of Cape Town.

How does experience compare to formal training?
One needs to complement qualifications with relevant on-the-job training and experience in order to reach the highest level of effectiveness.

Describe your typical day
Firstly, I plan for the day and prioritise key projects and tasks. A key component of my job is ensuring that all content (film, games, publications) that’s submitted to the FPB is classified in line with the FPB Act and the relevant classification guidelines, and that content that is in cinemas and at various retailers and distributors is monitored to ensure compliance with our regulations.

What do you like most about your job?
Knowing that each day we are making a difference in at least one child’s life, in terms of what media content they are exposed to.

Which aspects are you least keen on?
The thought and the reality that we live in a society wherein certain individuals have made it their life mission to exploit and expose young children to inappropriate adult experiences, such as child pornography.

What’s been the highlight of your career thus far?
Having worked in the media industry (Radio, and Film and Publication Board) where my work touches millions of people and brings about positive change in their lives.

Your future goals?
Not even the sky is the limit for me. Due to the rapidly changing environment, I align my goals to environmental requirements at that point in time.

What advice would you give to young people starting out?
You must be passionate about public service, and love working with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds. This is not a typical 8 to 5 job; it requires complete dedication, commitment and self-motivation.

Describe your job in three words
Exciting • Fulfilling • Edifying