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Director of Operations
The director of operations in a company ensures that the business runs smoothly at all times. Various industries, from entertainment and media organisations to manufacturing companies and government departments, offer this position.

Directors of operations plan, direct, develop, implement or coordinate the day-to-day operations of companies or organisations that make products or provide services, as well as monitor, measure and report on operational issues.

Directors of operations continually liaise with all departmental managers, to keep up-to-date with the various aspects and needs of operational development. They have to be fully informed of operational objectives, purposes and achievements, at all times, to ensure efficient running of the business.

They work in many different settings, such as corporate headquarters for large businesses, government agencies, manufacturing plants, and schools. Many directors of operations work for consulting or management firms, using their expertise in areas such as strategic planning, policy-making, and the uses of materials and requirements.

The work is so diverse and general in nature it cannot be classified in any one area of management or administration. For instance, in large organisations, directors of operations directly oversee heads of major departments in areas such as procurement or purchasing, sales and facilities. However, in small firms, they may be required to take on most, and sometimes all, of these management functions themselves.

They usually gain their experience within one industry. A director of operations must constantly bear in mind the mission or goals of the particular company, whether it be to provide quality health care, produce flawless items for consumers, or to meet sales goals.

Satisfying Aspects
- working and interacting with people
- being part of the decision-making process

Demanding aspects
- having to work long hours
- be available after-hours when necessary
- finding the time to deal with all the tasks that need attention
- working at a fast pace which can be stressful
- often having to attend long meetings

- able to make decisions quickly
- have good people-management skills
- have business-development skills
- be a good communicator
- be organised, with an eye for detail
- able to find solutions to problems

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting requirements for course or degree. Each institution has its own requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: Depends on course.
Recommended Subjects: Accounting, Economics, Business Science, Information Technology

The education and experience requirements of directors of operations vary widely, depending on the nature of their responsibilities.

In large companies, employers usually require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree, either in business or a field related to the industry where they are applying, along with several years of managerial experience.

In industries such as the retail trade or transportation, it is possible for individuals without a degree to be promoted to this position from lower-level management positions, after having several years of experience in that field.

While there is no specific formal training available at tertiary institutions for this type of job, any business or sales course would be very helpful. Some businesses or organisations, however, have their own on-the-job training such as a Project Manager’s course.

- businesses and industries
- financial institutions
- entertainment and media organisations
- manufacturing companies
- government departments

Any of the above.