Operations Consultant Job Description
Operations consultants are often self-employed, contracting with various companies to help improve business efficiency, productivity, and reduce costs. They may also be employed within the business or operations units of organizations in a wide range of industries. Operations consultants juggle the roles of facilitator, supporter, and strategic planner. Because they are considered experts in their assigned units, several years of experience are required for this position. Leaders with analytical minds and excellent problem-solving skills would excel as operations consultants.
Operations Consultant Duties and Responsibilities
Operations consultants play a significant role in ensuring the optimal performance of an organization’s overall operations. A few of their main duties include:
Drive Operational Excellence
An operations consultant sets the pace by guiding a team’s efforts to ensure the right processes are being utilized in the right manner. They also make decisions and recommendations when the division is faced with operational difficulties.
Interacting with both internal and external clients to identify current processes that are in place and teaching them about best practices and process improvements is an essential
part of an operations consultant’s job.
Helping to plan, design, and implement new operational processes, operations consultants are instrumental in process improvement projects from start to finish.
Maintain Strong Industry Knowledge
Staying abreast of current trends, pricing, and new technology in their industry aids operations consultants in their evaluation and recommendation of new processes.
In their role as team leader, operations consultants oversee team members’ work performance, offering guidance and advice where needed and providing necessary feedback to management. Additionally, they offer support to the team when new processes are rolled out.
Operations Consultant Skills and Qualifications
Technical knowledge and expertise in the field they work in is crucial for operations consultants, as are several years of business experience. The following skills are also important to employers:
- Data analysis – data from both internal and external sources must be analyzed for operations consultants to make decisions and recommendations concerning the strength and improvement of processes
- Time management – because they are working in a deadline-driven environment and are responsible for scheduled deliverables, operations consultants must efficiently manage their time
- Multitasking skills – responsibility for several concurrent projects and dealing with internal and external clients and vendors require operations consultants to balance competing priorities
- Business management – analyzing data, interacting with various business units, and improving overall business operations make this a critical skill for operations consultants
- Negotiation – brokering contracts and pricing with current and prospective clients and vendors requires excellent negotiation techniques
Operations Consultant Tools of the Trade
- Microsoft Office (Word, Advanced Excel, Access)
- Project management software (Asana, JIRA, Confluence, or similar)
Operations Consultant Education and Training
A bachelor’s degree in a business-related major like management or finance will get your foot in the door, but it is recommended that applicants have five or more years of experience as well. A master’s and previous work as a chief operations officer or director of operations will put applicants at the top of the list.
Operations Consultant Salary and Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual salary for operations consultants ranges from a low of $43,000 to a high of $76,000, with a national average of $55,093. Operations consultants receive the standard medical, dental, vision, sick/vacation pay benefits package, but may also receive additional compensation in the form of bonuses ($1,750 to $14,000), profit sharing (an average of $2,000), and commissions (in the $10,000 range).
Because organizations will continue to seek new ways to improve efficiencies and reduce costs, it is expected that the job outlook for operations consultants will continue to increase. The BLS projects that the growth rate for this position is above average. A 14 percent increase is expected through 2026, which will add an additional 115,200 operations consultants to the current pool of over 800,000.
Operations Consultant Helpful Resources
Are you ready to enter the operations consultant field? We’ve compiled a list of helpful resources to get you on the right path:
Evaluating Organization Development: How to Ensure and Sustain the Successful Transformation – Maureen Jones and William Rothwell provide a step-by-step guide that includes “how to” lessons, case studies, and ready-to-use tools that will help simplify the planning, implementation, and assessment pieces of the process improvement puzzle
Essential Tools for Operations Management: Tools, Models and Approaches for Managers and Consultants – with over 30 years of experience in both the public and private operations management arena and a Ph.D. in strategic management, author Simon Burtonshaw-Gunn is the go-to person for tools of the trade. The new tools and techniques presented in this book in the areas of strategic management, business planning, product development, and people and supply chain management will serve as an excellent guide for operations consultants
Institute of Management Consultants (IMC USA) – this 50-year-old professional association for management consultants and firms promotes ethics and excellence in the consulting industry through the provision of education, CMC certification, and other professional resources
International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) – founded in 1962, ISPI’s membership consists of performance improvement professionals in the United States, Canada, and 44 countries outside of the U.S. This association is committed to excellence in workplace productivity and competence and seeks to meet this goal by providing members with research-based information, courses and workshops, conferences, and an open forum for networking opportunities
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