E-commerce, big data and an interconnected global economy have ramped up the speed of business like never before. To succeed and grow in this environment, companies must be consistently productive and highly efficient. That’s why operations managers are more important than ever for keeping businesses functioning at their best and proceeding toward their goals. With the complex demands of running operations today, these leaders need an education in a broad base of skills and techniques. Earning an online MBA with a specialization in strategic management puts a professional on track to lead the way in establishing agile, up-to-date processes. Armed with advanced knowledge, operations managers are positioned to make a major contribution to keeping customers satisfied and readying an organization to scale up over time.


Leadership in operations is centered on keeping every aspect of production and manufacturing running smoothly. This professional is charged with ensuring the business functions quickly and efficiently to offer quality goods or services. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics pointed out, a manager may take on a wide range of duties to fulfill those expectations, with the job’s requirements tailored to the specific needs of the organization. Operations leadership supervises production systems, beginning with planning how a particular item will be produced and setting the applicable policies and procedures. Assessing what facilities, equipment and personnel are necessary to carry out manufacturing can be a complex process, and often needs flexibility for change. As operations staff carries out implementation, management must stay alert for potential inefficiencies or room for error, setting up the best possible approach to regularly turn goods that meet the organization’s standards. A manager keeps tabs on all aspects of production, finding ways to improve performance and cut costs. The professional forecasts any shortage of labor, changes in demand or problems with materials that may be coming down the line and plans accordingly. This work involves providing strong leadership to everyone involved in manufacturing and collaboration with other stakeholders, especially those working in fulfillment.


Exceptional leadership in operations brings significant rewards to a business as a whole. Manufacturing is the backbone of a company, and having highly trained experts in leadership roles allows an organization to function with agility and anticipate challenges. To offer that kind of guidance, professionals must develop a variety of skills involving both technical savvy and working with a team. An operations manager should have a thorough awareness of all the steps involved in producing goods and getting them out to consumers. The complexity of those manufacturing and supply processes means it’s vital to have a solid grasp of how to collect and manipulate relevant data. Leadership should have the mathematics ability and the expertise to project the outcomes of shifts in manufacturing or industry demands with accuracy. Information technology is essential to completing this work, so managers should have an understanding of how to take advantage of the tools they have available. They must also be deeply familiar with all the machinery involved in production so they can plan effectively. Being able to work closely with others, communicating clearly, maintaining high morale, and prioritizing health and safety at all times are crucial skills for succeeding in a leadership position.


Becoming a manager who is prepared to leverage resources to keep processes lean and powerful takes an advanced education. With business moving at an unprecedented pace and driven by big data, organizations need leaders who have an extensive background in strategy and the awareness to see how their actions affect the entire company. That makes individuals who complete online MBA programs with a focus on strategic management highly valuable to their companies. Graduates learn versatile skills that can be applied to the multi-disciplinary tasks of operations management. Online MBA courses in the latest operational technology and approaches, performance measurement, team leadership, and information technology all offer important insights for a professional. A combination of hands-on know-how and soft skills readies a leader to guide manufacturing, plan ahead and keep employees doing their best work. Villanova School of Business puts students in touch with experts in every aspect of business and operations, offering the latest methods and strategic thinking. Professionals working toward an MBA online have the chance to tackle real-world problems while using up-to-date tools and collaborating with a team. To learn more and find out how you can apply, visit the program page.

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