Operations supervisors can occupy a number of settings. These include retail stores, airports, train and bus stations, warehouses, power plants and manufacturing plants. At its essence, the job description of an operations supervisor involves responsibility for the day-to-day work in one of these places. The supervisor serves as a manager of personnel, inspector, decision maker, supplier and equipper of the staff and contact point for managers and regulators.

Job Overview: What Does an Operations Supervisor Do?

Oversight of the daily operations and activities in a facility comes within the tasks of an operations supervisor. Management of the operations means being alert for and responding to issues that arise during the shift. These range from inspections that reveal violations to equipment failures to even injuries to workers or customers. In some organizations, the operations supervisor makes personnel decisions such as hiring and firing.

Operations Supervisor Description For Resume– Duties

  • Inspect grounds, supplies and equipment
  • Train, assign and evaluate crew members and other employees
  • Ensure adequate staff and resources for performance of tasks and projects
  • Find alternate suppliers or workers in case of shortages or unavailability of primary resources
  • Track and record attendance, hours worked and performance of employees
  • Oversee maintenance of records on employees and activities of facility or department
  • Respond to notices from regulatory agencies, vendors, suppliers, purchasers and customers, or their representatives
  • Advise managers and supervisors on results of regulatory inspections, including fines or stop-work orders
  • Recommend improvements to facilities, equipment, processes, safety measures and operations
  • Coordinate activities and operations of various departments
  • Develop policies and procedures for work activities consistent with safety regulations and principles
  • Record and calculate expenses, including costs for labor, supplies, utilities, fuel and repairs of equipment
  • Complete forms required by company or regulatory agencies

Operations Supervisor Job Essential Skills

Analytical. Operations supervisors must have the ability to determine the causes of and solutions to malfunctions or errors in operations. Analytical skills also include evaluating the efficiency of processes and personnel.

Communication. Oral skills help operations supervisors instruct crews and respond to questions from supervisors, employees, investigators and other stakeholders in the organization’s operations. Supervisors must be able to write reports and complete required forms concisely and accurately.

Computer. Using spreadsheets and databases helps operations supervisors track operating costs and maintain lists of employees, contacts and operating procedures.

Management. The operations supervisor job description includes overseeing employees. Management of staff requires the ability to instruct clearly, answer staff questions, evaluate performance and convey directions or suggestions for improvements. Operations supervisors may need to resolve conflicts among employees.

Becoming an Operations Supervisor

Operations supervisors combine formal education and experience to qualify themselves for these roles. Backgrounds in industrial and transportation sectors prepare operations supervisors to learn about and handle occupational and other safety issues. Supervisors can enhance their employment chances with safety certifications from the Board of Certified Safety Professionals and the National Safety Management Society.

Those employed in certain industries may be required to have or can become more employable with industry-specific certifications. For example, airports may require their operations supervisors to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration in various areas or otherwise demonstrate knowledge with FAA regulations in subjects such as inspections, security, fueling and aircraft maintenance.

Education and Training

Employers generally prefer applicants to have a bachelor’s degree or other post-secondary education. Typical majors include business administration and management. Candidates with degrees in logistics and supply chain management also can also land supervisor positions, especially in manufacturing, distribution or retail companies.

In retail establishments, an aspiring operations supervisor may take classes in sales, marketing and finance. For those working at airports, the education may consist of aviation logistics, aviation science and aeronautics. (https://www.nctaviationcareers.com/careers/operations-supervisor) Training includes instruction in regulations from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Prospective operations supervisors train through internships with companies and local government agencies. These opportunities expose future supervisors to safety standards, inspections and the daily facets of the overall operations of the facility or company.

Work Experience

Applicants for operations supervisor positions should have a previous work history in supervisory roles. This may include shift supervisors, customer service managers, crew managers or crew trainers.

Prior work experience in the particular type of employer or setting can also help demonstrate qualifications. For instance, retail operations supervisors should have worked as sales or stock associates, cashiers or clerks. In a distribution center especially, jobs may include materials handlers, loaders or order fillers.

Operations supervisors at airports normally need prior experience in airport operations. These may include roles in parking, hangars, terminals and refueling sections or areas. Supervisors may come from the ranks of technicians, baggage handlers and flight line crews, among others.

Candidates can build the necessary work record through summer jobs, internships and through full-time work. For certain employers, a lengthy term and history of relevant jobs can replace or reduce the educational requirement.

Work Schedule

Operations supervisors typically are full-time workers. The shifts they hold depend on the work setting. In local government departments, operations supervisors usually work weekdays and during daytime hours. Those with transportation companies, airports, manufacturing facilities and warehouses can expect to have evenings and weekends, as these workplaces run often on a 24-hour basis.

Career Opportunities

The particular industry can shape the available job opportunities. For instance, as reported by the North Texas Council of Governments, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an increase of 11 percent to 20 percent growth in the employment of airport operations supervisors. In manufacturing sectors, employment in the United States of these workers overall is expected to drop through 2022.

Operations supervisors may advance to more senior roles, such as operations manager, general manager or director of operations. With performance and enough experience in these roles comes the opportunity to advance to executive positions such as chief operating officer.


Prospects for employment rest strongly with operations supervisor candidates who exhibit prior leadership experience and background in a particular field. Supervisors must combine knowledge and skills of business, management and the industry in which they may work. For operations supervisors, the job can lead to higher-level management roles in companies, non-profits or government.