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What is a Regional Operations Manager?

By Carol Francois
Updated May 17, 2024
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A regional operations manager has all encompassing responsibility within a specific geographical area. He or she leads a team of local managers and support staff to meet the operational needs of the organization. This position is commonly found in retail, distribution, and service firms.

The skills required to become a manager of regional operations include leadership, strategic thinking, problem resolution, and staff management. This is not an entry-level position, but one that requires at least ten years of working experience in positions of increasing responsibility. In this role, it is important to have a combination of knowledge and experience in all aspects of the operation. This is invaluable for problem solving and providing support to local management staff.

There is no specific training program to become a regional operations manager. Instead, most employers require an undergraduate degree or diploma in business administration, management, or a related field. In some industries, there is a preference for candidates who have completed a management training program, such as a master's of business administration (MBA) or similar level of education.

The primary responsibilities of this types of manager can be divided into three primary groups: daily operations, strategic direction, and staff supervision. It is important to note that there is usually a travel expectation included in this type of position. Talk to the human resources department to determine how much travel is required, the size of the geographic area, and who is responsible for making travel arrangements.

Daily operational issues at the local level are the responsibility of the local managers, but items that are escalated or impact the entire region are the focus of the regional operations manager. He or she typically manages issues with transportation, communication between facilities within the region, and conflicting demand for resources. Issues are addressed at a high level, with a focus on the best interests of the organization, and not a specific department or location.

Strategic direction is typically based on the overall aim of the organization and the long-term revenue goals. It is very common for the regional operations manager to align productivity and revenue goals with the overall organizational plan. In most organizations, performance reviews compare individual activity against the strategic goals of the organization. Merit-based salary increases and bonus payments are tied to the success in these areas.

Staff supervision and management responsibilities include recruiting new staff, the hiring process, and daily management. In most organizations, performance management is the responsibility of the regional operations manager, who must coordinate with the human resources office to ensure compliance with organizational guidelines. Discipline and termination of staff and local managers also fall within this position's area of responsibility.

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