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What Does a Field Operations Manager Do?

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  • Written By: Helen Akers
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 07 August 2014
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A field operations manager's primary responsibility is to design and oversee the implementation of strategic goals for a specific business unit, region, or division. People in this position are in charge of supervising field employees, providing direction, feedback, and monitoring performance. They typically determine budgets, keep track of expenses, look for ways to make improvements, and ensure a good rapport is maintained between the firm and its customers.

There are many different types of industries that a field operations manager may work in. The industries of national forestry and gas and oil operations typically require that a bulk of the workforce perform daily activities outside of an office setting. At the core of the field manager's job duties is the ability to apply his knowledge of the industry and firm's operations in order to come up with an overall strategy. This strategy dictates how the work of field personnel is performed and how the firm's resources are used.

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Since a field operations manager is in charge of coming up with strategies, it is also part of his duties to make sure that they are being implemented correctly. Operations managers usually work with a team of front-line supervisors to delegate and communicate performance expectations and incentives. In some industries, operations managers also serve as a point of escalation, particularly in customer contact centers and business process services. For example, if the operations manager establishes an average performance quality expectation of 95 percent customer satisfaction, he will continuously monitor performance reports, stepping in to help correct shortcomings when necessary.

Providing feedback and coaching is an essential component of being a field operations manager. Besides being responsible for sales and service performance, the field operations manager may also need to ensure that the work environment is safe. A manager may need to provide instruction and communicate proper work methods, in addition to "best practices" as they are discovered. "Best practices" are what the firm considers to be the optimal way of performing certain job tasks.

Creating a budget and deciding what amount of funds can be allocated to various functions is another major task assigned to a field operations manager. He may need to work with a predetermined budget figure and decide or approve how it is going to be spent. For example, he may allocate a maximum of 30 percent of the budget to labor, 20 percent to training costs, 25 percent to sales and service, and 25 percent to supplies. The operations manager may also need to maintain good customer relations by helping field personnel work around internal obstacles related to policy and procedure.

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It does not matter what industry you are talking about -- a field operations manager must be someone that is trustworthy, responsible and can work without constant supervision. The person who fills this job works with a lot of independence and, as such, must be beyond reproach when it comes to honesty and the ability to implement orders as intended.

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