Industrial production managers oversee the daily operations of manufacturing and related plants. They coordinate, plan, and direct the activities used to create a wide range of goods, such as cars, computer equipment, or paper products.

Duties

Industrial production managers typically do the following:

  • Decide how best to use a plant’s workers and equipment to meet production goals
  • Ensure that production stays on schedule and within budget
  • Hire, train, and evaluate workers
  • Analyze production data
  • Write production reports
  • Monitor a plant’s workers and programs to ensure they meet performance and safety requirements
  • Streamline the production process
  • Determine whether new machines are needed or whether overtime work is necessary
  • Fix any production problems

Industrial production managers, also called plant managers, may oversee an entire manufacturing plant or a specific area of production.

Industrial production managers are responsible for carrying out quality control programs to make sure the finished product meets a specific level of quality. Often called quality control systems managers, these managers use programs to help identify defects in products, identify the cause of the defect, and solve the problem creating it. For example, a manager may determine that a defect is being caused by parts from an outside supplier. The manager can then work with the supplier to improve the quality of the parts.

Industrial production managers work closely with managers from other departments as well. For example, the procurement (buying) department orders the supplies that the production department uses. A breakdown in communication between these two departments can cause production slowdowns. Industrial production managers also communicate with other managers and departments, such as sales, warehousing, finance, and research and design.

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Work Environment

Industrial production managers held about 186,500 jobs in 2018. The largest employers of industrial production managers were as follows:

Transportation equipment manufacturing                                     10%
Fabricated metal product manufacturing 10
Chemical manufacturing 8
Machinery manufacturing 8
Food manufacturing 7

Industrial production managers split their time between the production area and a nearby office. When they are working in the production area, they may need to wear protective equipment, such as a helmet or safety goggles.

Work Schedules

Most industrial production managers work full time and some work more than 40 hours per week. In some facilities, managers work night or weekend shifts and must be on call to deal with emergencies at any time.

Education and Training

Industrial production managers typically need a bachelor’s degree and several years of related work experience.

Education

Employers prefer that industrial production managers have at least a bachelor’s degree. While the degree may be in any field, many industrial production managers have a bachelor’s degree in business administration or industrial engineering. Sometimes, production workers with many years of experience take management classes to become production managers. At large plants, where managers have more oversight responsibilities, employers may look for managers who have a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a graduate degree in industrial management.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Many industrial production managers begin as production workers and move up through the ranks. They usually advance to a first-line supervisory position before eventually becoming an industrial production manager. Most earn a college degree in business management or take company-sponsored classes to increase their chances of a promotion.

Alternatively, a worker who joins a firm immediately after graduating from college may work as first-line supervisor before beginning a job as a production manager.

Some begin working as an industrial production manager directly after college or graduate school. They may spend their first few months in training programs, becoming familiar with the production process, company policies, and safety regulations. In large companies, many also spend short periods of time working in other departments, such as purchasing or accounting, to learn more about the company.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

While not required, industrial production managers can earn certifications that show a higher level of competency in quality or management systems. The APICS offers a Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) credential. The American Society of Quality (ASQ) offers credentials in quality control. Both certifications require specific amounts of work experience before applying for the credential, so they are generally not earned before entering the occupation.

Personality and Interests

Industrial production managers typically have an interest in the Persuading and Organizing interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Persuading interest area indicates a focus on influencing, motivating, and selling to other people. The Organizing interest area indicates a focus on working with information and processes to keep things arranged in orderly systems.

If you are not sure whether you have a Persuading or Organizing interest which might fit with a career as an industrial production manager, you can take a career test to measure your interests.

Industrial production managers should also possess the following specific qualities:

Interpersonal skills. Industrial production must have excellent communication skills so they can work with managers from other departments, as well as with the company’s senior-level management.

Leadership skills. To keep the production process running smoothly, industrial production managers must motivate and direct the employees they manage.

Problem-solving skills. Production managers must be able to identify problems immediately and solve them. For example, if a product has a defect, the manager determines whether it is a onetime problem or the result of the production process.

Time-management skills. To meet production deadlines, managers must carefully manage their employees’ time as well as their own.

Pay

The median annual wage for industrial production managers was $105,480 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $65,050, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $176,070.

In May 2019, the median annual wages for industrial production managers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Chemical manufacturing $116,110
Transportation equipment manufacturing                                111,270
Machinery manufacturing 105,010
Food manufacturing 98,420
Fabricated metal product manufacturing 97,330

Most industrial production managers work full time and some work more than 40 hours per week.

Job Outlook

Employment of industrial production managers is projected to show little or no change from 2018 to 2028. Most of these managers are employed in various manufacturing industries, which may see a decrease in overall employment due to increased productivity.

In the past, employment of industrial production managers was less affected by productivity gains because these managers were responsible for coordinating work activities with the goal of increased productivity. However, as facilities adapt to leaner production models that rely more heavily on robotics and other technology, employment of workers and managers may be equally affected.

Some manufacturing jobs are at risk of being outsourced to other countries with lower wages, dampening some employment growth. However, this risk may be reduced by recent trends of “reshoring,” where previously outsourced personnel and services are being brought back to the United States. In addition, some firms are moving jobs to lower-cost regions of the United States rather than foreign countries in a trend referred to as “domestic sourcing.”

Job Prospects

Applicants will likely face strong competition for positions, but those who have several years of experience and a bachelor’s degree in industrial management or business administration should have the best prospects.

For More Information

For more information about careers in production management and certification, visit

Association for Operations Management (APICS)

For more information about quality management and certification, visit

American Society for Quality                                 

For general information about manufacturing careers, visit

National Association of Manufacturers

CareerOneStop

For a career video on quality control systems managers, visit

Quality control systems managers

 

FAQ

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The career information above is taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. This excellent resource for occupational data is published by the U.S. Department of Labor every two years. Truity periodically updates our site with information from the BLS database.

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