Production Manager

Production managers are responsible for managing and overseeing one or more production lines in factories. Depending on the size of the factory, they’re usually in charge of manufacturing products, supplying raw materials and, sometimes, even operational maintenance. They often work for companies involved in making chemical, pharmaceutical or automotive products and tend to work shifts or watches with other engineers to ensure a 24-hour operation.

The life of a production manager...

Organising production

Usually assigned to one or more production lines, production managers are given production orders from other departments within the factory at the start of each shift, which take into account customer demand and define the day’s production priorities. Often, every product has to be made in a certain way or in a different colour, for example, meaning production managers have to decide and plan in which order they should begin producing the various goods. As a result, they’re in charge of production schedules, as well as team schedules for the operators working along each stage of the production line. Managing teams of operators is one of the fundamental parts of their day-to-day role.

Managing unexpected events

In the event of any problems or machine failures, production managers need to work closely with quality and maintenance staff to stop the production line and solve the issue. Working hand in hand with quality and maintenance departments, production managers are always looking for the root cause of any problems and the best solutions, both in the short and longer term, to restart production as quickly as possible.

Continuous improvement

Beyond managing the daily operations of a production line, production managers have to identify ways of improving their lines to produce high quality goods even faster and at lower costs than before. Once ideas have been signed off by other teams and managers, they’re able to manage the process of improving lines, from ordering new machines to installing them on the line and training operators.

Required skills

A solid technical foundation, ideally in manufacturing-related technologies, as well as good organisational skills and a diligent, reactive approach are all key.

Typical educational background

General engineering studies, masters in science and technology

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