THOUGHT PIECE the carling team

Drink Industry Shift Operations Manager Job Description


The shift operations manager oversees the production process. They can be responsible for one or more areas, including shipping, purchasing, warehousing, and/or manufacturing.

The shift operations manager must ensure that customer’s expectations are met and that the quality of the product remains high. They will work to ensure all aspects of the production process are running smoothly, that staff are being productive, budgets are being met and the workplace is safe. Additionally, they usually oversee budgets for the production process and ensure that the business complies with environmental regulations.


The key responsibilities for the shift operations manager involve supervising staff and managing the ongoing production process. The shift operations manager’s responsibilities include:

  • Manage day-to-day operations of the brewery/distillery/winery
    They must ensure all aspects of the production process runs smoothly. In some larger facilities, they may be responsible for a single aspect of production, for example managing the warehousing of products or managing the raw materials that come into the facility.
  • Monitor and manage operational costs
    A shift operations manager ensures the production process meets a certain budget, usually defined in collaboration with other managers. They are responsible for headcount budget conformance and for driving cost-saving initiatives. This may be across the entire facility or within a specific department.
  • Ensure that staff are operating efficiently
    They must ensure staff are working in the most efficient way on the production line. If operating conditions change, they must redirect staff to ensure they are used efficiently.
  • Provide leadership and drive performance excellence
    A shift operations manager will demonstrate effective leadership throughout the facility and is key to improving the performance of staff.
  • Make decisions about human resources
    They are usually responsible for hiring staff, determining staff compensation, choosing which staff to promote and which to terminate or discipline.   All decisions must comply to the company’s internal policies. They must plan and manage human resources to deal with changing operating conditions and fluctuating market demand.
  • Monitor staff performance
    Staff members performance must be evaluated so decisions can be made about their training and employment. The shift operations manager must ensure site and team KPIs performance are achieved.
  • Responsible for creating staff training initiatives
    The shift operations manager must ensure new staff are sufficiently trained or supervised to perform their role. They must also create initiatives which improve the skill of staff and production processes.
  • Report to department heads and other managers
    They must meet with senior management in the facility to inform them of staffing changes, production concerns and budget conformance. They must design cost-saving initiatives in conjunction with senior management.
  • Champion improvement in manufacturing processes
    The shift operations manager must look for ways to improve the performance of the production process. That can involve recommending the purchase of new equipment, changing the way equipment is used and changing how staff are used.
  • Monitor Health, Safety and Environmental compliance
    The shift operations manager is responsible for ensuring staff are working in a safe environment and are not performing any unsafe activities. They must ensure the facility complies with any relevant health, safety and environmental protection guidelines. They will also develop safety policies and ensure their compliance.
  • Ensure all resources required by the production process are available
    They must ensure that every resource used by the production process is available and monitor the levels/efficiency of the resources. Those resources can include a diverse array of materials, assets and human resources including raw materials for beverage making, bottles, packaging materials, availability of transportation and warehouse space.
  • Ensure the production team meets production requirements
    The shift operations manager will do their best to ensure production targets are met at the facility.   They will often be involved in establishing those targets, which can include safety targets, production capacity improvement targets, cost targets and more.
  • Coordinate incoming and outgoing stock
    The shift operations manager will ensure that the necessary resources used in the production process have arrived and that the finished product leaves the facility in a timely fashion.


While many shift operations managers do not have tertiary qualifications, a degree in management, finance, business or food production will be an advantage. Other forms of training that are useful include:

  • OH&S Risk Management training
  • Transport and Logistics (Warehousing and Storage) training
  • Lean Six Sigma
  • Budgeting and financial skills training
  • Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) training
  • Project management training

Work Experience

A shift operations manager will be extremely experienced with all aspects of the production process and will usually have previous experience working at a brewery, winery or distillery. Their work experience should include:

  • Experience in managing a production line
  • Experience in managing staff
  • Experience in maintaining occupational health & safety standards
  • Environmental compliance experience
  • Project management experience
  • Experience in managing budgets

Key Skills

The shift operations manager oversees every aspect of the production process, so must have a varied set of skills including:

  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Leadership skills
  • The ability to motivate staff and to foster a positive learning environment
  • Experience in tracking the performance of staff
  • Ability to create and assess KPIs
  • Project management skills and the ability to deal with tight deadlines
  • Strong organisation and planning skills
  • Budget management skills and ability to understand the organisation’s financial performance
  • Accuracy and attention to detail
  • Ability to manage inventories and warehouse space
  • Ability to work with machinery used in the production process
  • Strong computer skills
  • Ability to understand and meet customer needs

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What are the primary duties of a shift operations manager in the beverage industry?

A shift operations manager is tasked with overseeing the smooth running of production processes, managing day-to-day operational tasks, ensuring efficiency among staff, and keeping operational costs within budget.

How does a shift operations manager contribute to cost management?

The manager is responsible for monitoring and managing operational costs, ensuring budget conformance, and initiating cost-saving strategies to maintain financial efficiency within the production facility.

What kind of leadership role does a shift operations manager play?

The shift operations manager provides leadership that drives performance excellence, ensures efficient staff operation, and is instrumental in fostering a positive working environment.

In terms of staffing, what are the responsibilities of a shift operations manager?

This manager handles human resource decisions such as hiring, training, performance monitoring, and implementing staff development initiatives, all while complying with the company’s internal policies.

Can you describe the shift operations manager’s role in ensuring compliance and safety?

The manager is accountable for Health, Safety, and Environmental compliance, developing safety policies, and guaranteeing adherence to protect the well-being of the staff and environment.