Production managers oversee the production process in all types of manufacturing operations. They are responsible for ensuring the manufacturing process runs smoothly, is cost-effective and delivers products to the desired quality and on time. Production planning, control and supervision are important areas of production management.
Planning involves drawing up details of the materials and machines needed to meet an order. Planners set quality standards for the product and estimate the time that will be needed and the costs involved.
Production control involves making sure that production schedules are followed. Controllers monitor progress and adjust production schedules if problems arise, such as mechanical breakdown.
Production supervisors are responsible for the day-to-day running of a production area or process. They manage production workers and other resources to make sure that production targets are met.
Production managers liaise closely with maintenance technicians, company buyers, suppliers, quality control and training departments, and health and safety inspectors. They also produce reports for senior managers and clients.
In a small company one person may be responsible for all production management work. Large companies may have production managers who have overall responsibility and supervise production planners, controllers and production supervisors.
Production managers usually work 37 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. However, many manufacturing companies operate shifts including evenings, weekends and nights. Managers may be required on site for these shift patterns or may be on-call.
Production managers are mainly office based but some of their time is spent on the factory floor, carrying out inspections and meeting supervisory staff and workers. Protective clothing may be required in production areas.
As a production manager you should:
Manufacturing companies throughout the UK employ production managers and opportunities are generally good. Larger employers include pharmaceutical companies, automotive manufacturers and suppliers, food processing industries and engineering firms. Experienced production managers may progress into more strategic management and planning roles.
If working for a large national or international company, there may be opportunities to work overseas.
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