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Operations manager

What does an operations manager do? Who does the operations manager report to? Find out more about the day-to-day activities of an operations manager.
This is an image of a pair of woman viewing accessories that are pinned to a display board.

In major companies, an operations manager reports to the regional manager or, in a very large company, the national operations director of stores.

What does an operations manager do?

The operations manager works with other administrators and store managers in developing marketing strategies and funding plans for merchandising and management personnel, as well as supervising stock replenishment, equipment and supply needs, and inventory control procedures.

The primary objective of the operations manager is to develop and maintain effective programs to operate and control all of the retail units in the company, with a focus on superior customer service and cost control. For example, the operations manager may work to find a faster, less expensive way to move merchandise from the central distribution warehouse to store units.

Developing a company-wide training program to help all employees identify and report theft may be another activity of the operations manager because another area of responsibility for the operations manager is security. Security can have tremendous impact on the bottom line—profit.
Security refers to the safekeeping of merchandise in the store, as well as the safety of employees and customers. Because inadequate lighting, unsafe equipment, and poorly placed fixtures can prove to be safety hazards for people in the store, this is an important focus for the operations manager. In large stores, a security manager may be employed to work directly for the operations manager, overseeing the safekeeping of merchandise in the retail operation and minimizing theft.
The security manager works with the operations manager to determine which equipment will be used to deter theft, such as tags, security cameras, or perhaps a security employee disguised as a shopper. Security not only protects the physical inventory from outside theft but also monitors against internal theft or pilferage.
Physical inventory refers to the actual merchandise within the retail operation, whether on the sales floor, on trucks for delivery to the stores, or in the warehouse waiting to be transported to the store units. Internal theft refers to merchandise or money stolen by employees within the company.
To minimize internal theft opportunities, employees may be required to have personal purchases processed through the cash terminal by a store manager, rather than on their own. They may be required to store their handbags and packages in lockers and use a clear bag on the sales floor.
Advanced technology also helps minimize internal theft. Surveillance cameras are very discreet and can capture activity in front of and behind the cash register. Cash register terminals can video and store individual transactions numerically for swift information retrieval, and encouraging the use of debit and credit cards limits access to cash. Additionally, security management covers loss training for employees of the company.
Security decisions include determining which equipment will be used to deter theft.
Seminars on how to spot a shoplifter, who to contact, and where to go for assistance when identifying a thief assist employees in safely combating shrinkage, or merchandise losses resulting from theft (see image below).
Seminars on how to spot a shoplifter, who to contact, and where to go for assistance when identifying a thief assist employees in safely combating theft.

Next we explore the day-to-day operations of a retail store manager.

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Careers in Fashion: Retail Marketing, Merchandising, and Management

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