Behind the scenes: The work of operations managers at ADA

The job of an operations manager is a demanding one, as they are responsible for making sure that operations run smoothly. But what exactly does the job involve? What tasks do operations managers have to perform and what challenges do they face?

Efficiency and variety are the order of the day

“Keep the shop running” – that’s one way to describe the work of an operations manager at ADA in a nutshell. It may sound simple, but it’s actually a complex task. After all, each ADA operations manager is simultaneously the managing director of a plant and is therefore responsible for ensuring that all processes run efficiently and that the products are manufactured and delivered on time and in high quality. They analyse data and work closely with other departments to ensure that all aspects of the production process are seamlessly integrated. Even though everyone shares this goal, there are still differences between the different plants. In addition to differences in culture and language, it is above all the product groups and vertical integration that must be taken into account when optimising processes. For example, the type of products manufactured – whether seating furniture, beds, mattresses or slatted bases – and the scale of the work steps carried out in a plant have a significant impact on the workload of that plant’s operations manager.

And if you think it’s enough to just keep an eye on your own plant – you’ve got another thing coming. Our operations managers have numerous central – i.e. group-wide – functions. Their areas of responsibility include quality assurance, occupational safety, route planning, warehousing and logistics as well as infrastructure and resources. “Our production spans a total of 5 locations in Austria, Hungary and Romania. The area of operations is the largest in our entire company, encompassing just under ¾ of our workforce. The new organisational structure presents both the opportunity and the challenge of optimising and standardising the various processes at the plants. To achieve this, open and honest collaboration across all locations is essential”, explains ADA Chief Operations Officer (COO) Mario Hasenhütl.

The people behind the job

One thing is certain: operations managers at ADA have a long and varied task list. Even though this position has only existed for just under 2 years as a result of our new matrix organisation, the team can draw on many years of experience within the company. The operations managers at all the plants have been working at ADA for over 15 years and can make strategic use of their expertise and networks. “I started at ADA 33 years ago and, since that time, I’ve familiarised myself with and helped to shape various areas of the company. These skills and experiences are particularly valuable in my current position. They help me to make informed decisions and solve problems quickly and efficiently”, explains Franz Binder, Operations Manager at the Hungarian plant in Körmend. However, being with the company for a long time is no guarantee of success. Operations managers must constantly adapt to new situations. They must also be team players, as well as responsible and resilient. Besides strong social skills and leadership qualities, the job profile also demands cost awareness and entrepreneurial thinking. “For us, a question that often arises is: what is the best way to put new issues across to our colleagues? So many different characters work in a company, but they all have to be on the same page. It’s our job to strengthen our team solidarity across borders and create a motivating working environment”, adds Tamas Lendvai, Operations Manager at Nova.

Each day brings new challenges

And if you ask the five men why they chose this career, they’re all in agreement. “The chance to take on responsibility and play an active role in shaping the future path of ADA is the biggest motivation”, explains Markus Höllerbauer, Operations Manager at the plant in Anger, Eastern Styria. “There are no monotonous days in this job. On the contrary: each day presents new challenges and tasks. Whether it’s digital transformation, sustainability, supply chain optimisation or another issue – you never know what the next day will bring”, adds Szilárd Imre Solti, Operations Manager at the Salonta plant. And that’s exactly what makes this job so exciting and varied.