Career Story: Operations Manager For An Audio Products Company

Operations Manager For An Audio Products Company

Job Title: Operations Manager

Type of Company: My company designs, develops and sells digital audio hardware & software and certain iPhone applications.

Education: BA, Elmira College (Elmira, NY) •• certificate in management, University of Massachusetts

Previous Experience: I worked as a purchasing agent for a digital audio equipment producer and later as a purchasing manager for an audio technology company.

Job Tasks: My three key responsibilities are: financial management, production and inventory control and sales & marketing for our international distributors. In a small company (with eight employees), each employee has a range of responsibilities and we shy away from titles. In a large company, the operations manager would not be involved in sales & marketing, but the advantage of working for a small company is the more you can demonstrate hard work and good judgment, the more responsibility you're given and the higher salary you earn.

My typical day runs the gamut of -- financial management: accounts receivable (making sure our customers pay us on time), accounts payable (making sure we pay our suppliers on time so we maintain a good credit rating), developing a cash flow plan so we can look out 20 weeks to see where the cash shortages may be and strategize on those tight cash time periods, payroll and managing our company's SIMPLE retirement plan.

-- production and inventory control: looking at our product activity (sales, adjustments, returns from the field) and using that data to forecast our future needs, balancing historical activities against the influences of seasonal purchases by the consumer (i.e., Christmas up, summer down, general economy down). We have a twenty-week lead time (almost half a year) to order our product from China, so we look at our sales activity on a weekly basis, always trying to be ahead of demand. As a small company we don't have a lot of cash to spend on inventory, so we use several sales models to predict future demand.

It's always interesting to see where we failed and succeeded with our plan, and what were the variances we didn't predict very well.

-- international sales & marketing: 50% of our sales come from international distributors. 3-4 years ago 30% of our sales came from international distributors. Government deficit spending and the weak dollar have made most US products cheaper internationally, hence the large increase in international sales. 99% of our sales from international distributors are conducted via email. I am amazed at how proficient our international distributors are in the English language! I could not communicate in even the most pervasive languages like German or Spanish.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is being involved in a technology company which produces computer controllers and iPhone applications for music production and working with an interesting group of engineers. Music has appeal to just about everyone, and it's interesting to have customers who are well-known in their field (Sting, Maroon 5, Ray Charles, etc.)

The worst part is always chasing cash. Tight credit is one result of the recent bank meltdown. Very few businesses can finance their operations and expansion strictly from revenues from operations.

Job Tips: Three tips for being successful in an operations management job.
1. make sure you're comfortable with MS Office, especially Excel, Word and Access. I use these programs every day.

2. Have a strong accounting background, MBA preferred. You always have to base and justify your decisions on what improves the bottom line.

3. Because I interface with so many different groups (suppliers, customers, international distributors, engineers, bankers) strong communication skills are very important. Not just verbal communications, but email as most correspondence is electronic.

Popular Schools offering Operations Management Programs

quickinfoClick the Visit School Site buttons to go directly to a school's website and learn more about the school and programs it has to offer. School website will open in a new tab. .

Click the Request Info buttons to request more information from a representative at the school

Matching School Ads

CSU Global Campus - Marketing

  • Programs: Bachelors in Project Management, Master in Project Management, Undergraduate Certificate - Project Management, more...
  • Degrees: Bachelor, Master, Certificate

Become the leader you know you can be. The Forbes School of Business & TechnologyÒat Ashford University

  • Programs: BA Operations Management and Analysis, BA Supply Chain Management, MA Organizational Management - Supply Chain Management, more...
  • Degrees: Bachelor, Master

Since 1888, The University of Scranton has grounded its education in Catholic and Jesuit principles based on intellectual growth and integrity, all of which shape the online master’s and certificate programs.

  • Programs: MBA - Operations Management
  • Degrees: Master

Earn your Master's degree online from Norwich University.

  • Programs: MBA - Supply Chain Management and Logistics
  • Degrees: Master

Pursue your education at Ohio Christian University.

  • Programs: Bachelor of Arts in Business - Logistics Management, Associate of Arts in Business - Business Management, Bachelor of Arts in Business - Business Management, more...
  • Degrees: Bachelor, Associate, Master

See What’s Possible When You Earn a Degree at Florida Tech 100% Online

  • Programs: Master of Science in Supply Chain Management, MBA Project Management, MBA Management
  • Degrees: Master

Change the World with American University

Be a part of something bigger than yourself.

  • Programs: Graduate Certificate in Project Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Degrees: Certificate
ABCO Technology
Los Angeles

ABCO Technology is an accredited computer training academy that offers diploma programs for individual students, professionals and companies to learn different areas of Information technology and seek gainful employment.

  • Programs: PMP, Project Management
  • Degrees: Certificate
National Career College
Panorama City

Choosing a school and a new career path can be a very overwhelming process.

  • Programs: Business Management and Accounting
  • Degrees: Associate
General Assembly
Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Monica

General Assembly is a pioneer in education and career transformation, specializing in today’s most in-demand skills. 

  • Programs: Product Management (Part Time)
  • Degrees: Certificate
Matching School Ads

Additional Career Stories for Managers

The inside stories from people actually working in the field.
Click a story title to show the story, and click the title again to hide it.

All Types

You are visiting:

Find a school near you

What are Career Stories?

Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.

Most stories include:

  • a typical day or project
  • tips and advice
  • best and worst parts
  • educational background
  • previous experience

Browse hundreds of Career Stories

More Details On This Career

Please also see our detailed information about Managers, including:

Back to Top