Industrial Production Managers
On the Job
Industrial production managers coordinate resources and activities to produce millions of products every year.
Have you ever ordered something from a catalog only to discover that it is backordered? Instead of getting your package in about a week, you may have to wait several weeks or more. Often, things are backordered because the item you ordered became unexpectedly popular. This means the factories that initially made the product suddenly must make more. Production schedules must change and workers might have to work extra shifts. Raw materials must be ordered and machines must be altered. And these are just a few of the changes that are needed. Industrial production managers oversee all these areas to make sure that companies and customers get the products they need.Although their duties vary from plant to plant, industrial production managers share many of the same tasks. Their primary goal is to plan the production schedule to fit within budget and time limits. To do this, they first analyze the plant's employee and financial resources. Managers then select the best way to meet the production quota. They decide which machines to use, and whether overtime or extra shifts are needed. They negotiate prices and purchase supplies and materials. They may hire new employees. They also decide on the sequence of production. In addition, managers monitor the production run to be sure it stays on schedule. If problems arise, they correct them.
Managers also monitor the quality of products. They test random samples from the production line. If quality drops below standards, they find out why. If the problem is poor work, managers may try to improve training programs. They may also reorganize the production process. Sometimes they take suggestions from workers. If the problem is poor materials, managers work with the purchasing department to improve the quality of the product's parts.
Managers often work closely with the heads of other departments. Together, they plan and carry out the company's goals and policies. For example, the production manager may work with the purchasing department to be sure that plant inventories are kept at their best level. This is very important. Having too much inventory ties up the company's money. On the other hand, not having enough causes delays in the production. Computers help with this coordination. Managers also use computers to get current company data and to prepare reports.
Production managers usually report to the plant manager or the vice president. They may also act as a link between top managers and line supervisors. In many plants, one manager is in charge of all aspects of production. They direct everything from marketing to distribution. In large plants, one manager is in charge of each operation.
Production managers must stay up to date on developments in the field. They research new ways to produce goods more efficiently and keep costs down. They also study new ideas about quality control.
The following list of occupational tasks is specific to this career.
- Plan production schedules, distribution, and marketing efforts within budget and time limits.
- Analyze the plant's employee and financial resources. Develop budgets and approve any spending.
- Select the best way to meet the production quota. Direct and coordinate production.
- Monitor the production run to be sure it stays on schedule. Create quality control programs and correct problems.
- Examine and test samples of products.
- Set and monitor product standards. Determine how to improve the product when quality drops.
- Work closely with heads of other departments to meet company goals.
- Ensure that inventory is maintained at the proper level. Negotiate with vendors about prices.
- Use computers to coordinate work between departments and to store production information.
- Report to the plant manager or the vice president for manufacturing. May act as a link between executives and production supervisors.
- May be responsible for all aspects of production. May be in charge of only one operation.
- May hire and train employees.
- Prepare production reports.
- Stay up to date on new developments in the field.
People in this career perform the following list of tasks, but the tasks are common to many occupations.
- Get information needed to do the job.
- Communicate with supervisors, peers, or subordinates.
- Coordinate the work and activities of others.
- Guide, direct, and motivate subordinates.
- Make decisions and solve problems.
- Organize, plan, and prioritize work.
- Schedule work and activities.
- Establish and maintain relationships.
- Resolve conflicts and negotiate with others.
- Monitor events, materials, and surroundings.
- Identify objects, actions, and events.
- Coach others.
- Develop and build teams.
- Train and teach others.
- Update and use job-related knowledge.
- Judge the value of objects, services, or people.
- Evaluate information against standards.
- Process information.
- Think creatively.
- Use computers.
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Have a high level of social contact. They work closely with production crew, executives, and department heads.
- Communicate with others by telephone, e-mail, and in person on a daily basis. They also use letters and memos, but less often.
- Usually work with a group or as part of a team.
- Are substantially responsible for the work done by production workers.
- Are substantially responsible for the health and safety of production workers.
- May sometimes be in conflict situations with company employees.
- May on occasion deal with angry, unpleasant, or discourteous people.
- Usually work indoors. Some work sites may not have heating or air conditioning. May occasionally work outdoors.
- Often wear safety gear, such as goggles or hard hats.
- Regularly are exposed to distracting or uncomfortable noises when on the factory floor.
- Are sometimes exposed to contaminants.
- Sometimes work near or with hazardous equipment or situations that might produce minor cuts, stings, or burns.
- Are occasionally exposed to hot or cold temperatures, depending on location.
- Must be very exact in performing their job. Errors could cost the company money or result in safety hazards.
- Regularly make decisions that affect their employer's finances and reputation.
- Make decisions that affect employees on a daily basis. It is unusual for them to consult a supervisor before deciding a course of action.
- Set their daily tasks and priorities without talking to another first.
- Work under moderate job pressures. They abide by strict daily deadlines.
- Repeat the same tasks.
- Sometimes must match their pace of work with the speed of equipment.
- Usually work more than 40 hours a week, especially when production deadlines must be met.
- Generally work a set schedule. However, they may be called at any hour to deal with emergencies.
- Often work late shifts in facilities that operate around the clock.
Physical Work Conditions
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Stand for long periods of time.
- Walk or run for long periods of time.
- Use their hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools, or controls.
- Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
- Understand the speech of another person.
- See details of objects that are less than a few feet away.
- See details of objects that are more than a few feet away.
- See differences between colors, shades, and brightness.
- Hold the arm and hand in one position or hold the hand steady while moving the arm.
- Use fingers or hands to grasp, move, or assemble objects.
- Focus on one source of sound and ignore others.
- React quickly using hands, fingers, or feet.
- Adjust body movements or equipment controls to keep pace with speed changes of moving objects.
- Be physically active for long periods without getting tired or out of breath.
- Use stomach and lower back muscles to support the body for long periods without getting tired.
- Hear sounds and recognize the difference between them.
- Make quick, precise adjustments to machine controls.
- Move two or more limbs together (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while remaining in place.
- Make fast, repeated movements of fingers, hands, and wrists.
- Use muscles to lift, push, pull, or carry heavy objects.
People in this career frequently:
It is important for people in this career to be able to:
It is not as important, but still necessary, for people in this career to be able to:
Source: Minnesota Department of Education.