Manufacturing production managers work to improve the production efficiency of manufacturing plants. They also bear overall responsibility for the quality of finished products. To get this job, you need a combination of the right education and professional work experience.
1. What Do Manufacturing Production Managers Do?
Their duties include:
- Hiring and supervising production workers – This involves allocating tasks with the view of ensuring production targets are met
- Training these workers about manufacturing health and safety practices
- Analyzing production processes to identify and eliminate bottlenecks
- Finding ways to minimize production costs while increasing efficiency
- Ensuring compliance with relevant manufacturing standards and regulations
- Overseeing the storage of finished goods
- Maintaining contact with suppliers of raw materials and manufacturing equipment
- Supervising the repair and maintenance of manufacturing equipment
- Providing solutions to challenges or emergencies that arise during the manufacturing process
2. Work Environment
Most manufacturing production managers work from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday, and often on Saturdays. In large factories that operate for 24 hours, these managers work on shifts.
Manufacturing production managers have offices, but they spend most of the time on the production floor supervising workers and monitoring production processes. They commonly wear hardhats while at work.
The average annual salary for manufacturing production managers in the US is $64,188, according to Payscale.
4. Education and Training
To receive the best preparation for this job, pursue a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing operations management, such as the one offered at the University of Minnesota. The degree will enables you to:
- Gain an in-depth understanding of manufacturing systems, technologies and operations
- Learn regulatory issues in manufacturing and how to address them
- Develop leadership skills
- Gain an understanding of supply chain management as it relates to the manufacturing industry
If you are unable to pursue this degree, you can also get started with a degree in manufacturing engineering or industrial engineering.
Production management is a challenging job, so don’t expect to get the job immediately after earning your degree. You must first gain quite a few years of work experience. As such, you will likely begin in a position such as manufacturing analyst or industrial engineer and work your way up through positions such as materials manager and assistant production manager.
5. Important Qualities
To excel in this profession, you need:
- Strong skills in personnel management
- Strong leadership skills
- Strong decision-making and problem-solving skills to address emergencies
- Strong planning and analytical skills
- The ability to think on your feet, especially during emergencies
- Good multitasking skills
- Good communication skills
- The ability to motivate people
- Good teamwork skills
- Good practical and technical skills
- Good research skills
- A keen attention to details
6. Career Advancement
After landing the position of manufacturing production manager, undertake the following activities to improve your competence and advancement prospects:
- Obtain a professional certification from the American Production and Inventory Control Society. (Become APICS Certified in Production and Inventory Management).
- Pursue a master’s degree in manufacturing management or business administration, or both.
- Secure membership in the Association for Manufacturing Excellence to access industry publications and networking opportunities.
7. Job Opportunities
The employers of manufacturing production managers include:
- Chemical manufacturing plants
- Pharmaceutical manufacturing plants
- Equipment and machinery manufacturing plants
- Food manufacturing plants
- Fabricated metal manufacturing plants
With several years of experience as a manufacturing production manager, a professional certification and a master’s degree, you can advance to become the overall plant manager.
Lastly, the Bureau of Labor Statics predicts slow growth for manufacturing production managers, primarily because many US companies outsource manufacturing activities. You should, therefore, focus on obtaining vast manufacturing experience and advanced credentials to be a stand-out candidate for the available positions. Good luck!