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A Chief Operating Officer (COO) is an executive at a corporation who makes important decisions regarding production and worker policies. He or she sets new goals and policies by reviewing statistics about the quality, safety, and efficiency of workmanship. In addition, an operations officer meets frequently with other executives to assess the overall condition of the company. The ultimate goal of someone in this position is to maximize profits and customer satisfaction by ensuring that production runs as smoothly as possible.
In a small company, it is common for the chief operating officer to actively engage with workers and floor supervisors on a regular basis. He or she might tour manufacturing plants or service centers to evaluate the success of policies and procedures. When the officer recognizes an area that can be improved, he or she can begin formulating ideas to remedy the situation. The officer might notice, for example, that newer workers are considerably less productive than seasoned laborers. After considering costs, the officer can decide to implement a more comprehensive training program to better prepare new employees for their jobs.
Most COOs of large corporations do not interact as frequently with laborers. Instead, they primarily receive information from department supervisors and vice officers regarding the status of day-to-day activities. An officer carefully considers raw production data and concerns brought forth by other managers to determine the best ways to improve circumstances.
It is common for a chief operating officer to attend executive meetings to discuss policies with other company heads. Executives inform each other of their findings and ideas, and work together to make important company decisions. The COO might consult with the technology officer to discuss whether new systems and equipment could enhance productivity. If they believe so, the financial officer can help them determine how much money should be allocated to acquire new machines and retrain workers.
A person who wants to work in this position typically needs to obtain an advanced degree in business administration in addition to gaining several years of experience in other managerial positions. When operating officer positions become available, many companies choose to promote internal workers rather than bring in outside professionals. An individual who has worked at a corporation for several years is generally more familiar with the specific operations and needs of the company. A successful chief operating officer may eventually have the opportunity to become a chief executive officer or even the president of a corporation.