Regardless of the size or type of business you have, there are processes and operations issues that could probably be dealt with better than they currently are. So, does that mean you need an operations manager? (Or, that you need to wear another hat yourself?) Probably. What does an operations manager, or a C.O.O. do? They find the inefficiencies or problems in your work flow, production processes, quality, supply chain, inventory, manufacturing, and everything else that effects the bottom line and ultimately the success of your company. Then they re-engineer those processes to be more efficient and profitable for the company.

The primary goal of the operations manager is the same customer-centric goal we've preached about in many other HowStuffWorks articles -- creating happy and loyal customers. If you aren't creating happy customers then why are you in business? By effectively analyzing and managing your business's operations, you can create the right products with the right features at the right cost.

Managing operations involves all of the processes in a business, including the supply chain, product quality, manufacturing, sales and marketing, safety and health, and environmental concerns. Operations managers use tools like performance measurement, flowcharts, best practices information, and benchmarking to determine where the problems are and the best methods to correct them.

The role of the operations manager varies in every industry, but even if you're a doughnut shop owner on Main Street you probably could benefit from a good hard look at your operations. In this edition of HowStuffWorks, we'll explain how managing the operations of a business works and explore some of the tools, techniques and current thought that will help you streamline your business and bring more dough into your shop!