Production ManagerJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends
Do you enjoy making things lean and efficient? Do you strive to make sure things get done on time and under budget? If you enjoy handling all aspects of efficiency and operation, being a production manager might be right for you.
Production managers use their expertise in both managing people and removing the day-to-day hurdles that lead to inefficiency. From motivating staff and setting goals to determining scheduling and ordering equipment and developing workflow policies, the product manager does it all.
Production managers will need to be able to act as liaisons between their team and upper management while keeping their team running efficiently and safely. They’re excellent communicators and can accurately forecast and anticipate delays and inefficiencies. Optimizing their workplace for safety and efficiency is this position’s main goal, which allows their team to work to their full potential.
Sample job description
We’re a diverse and growing manufacturer looking for a solid production manager to lead our team. The ideal candidate will be well-versed in machine operations and manufacturing processes, as well as a very capable manager that can motivate and manage a large workforce. In your role, you’ll be overseeing potentially dozens of staff members across a multitude of departments. These team members may come from production, operations, maintenance, engineering, and quality control in varying numbers. With your expertise, we hope to bring about a safer, more productive, and more cost-efficient production floor.
If you think you have what it takes to be an outstanding team player with great communication skills, and an unrivaled understanding of the manufacturing process, we’d love to hear from you!
Typical duties and responsibilities
Determine objectives and limitations with other managers
Create cost estimates and prepare budgets
Structure workflow to meet deadlines
Monitor production to resolve issues
Evaluate the performance of staff and production personnel
Order and approve maintenance work and replacement equipment
Create and enforce health and safety guidelines that align with company goals and regulations
Education and experience
Demonstrated management experience in related field
Thorough knowledge of production management processes
Required skills and qualifications
Excellent leadership and organizational skills
Great attention to detail
Proficiency using MS office suite or ERP software
Strong decision-making skills with a solution-oriented mindset
Outstanding communication skills
Understanding of health and safety regulations and quality standards
B.S. or B.A in Business Administration, Industrial Engineering, Industrial Technology, Manufacturing, or related field
5 years of prior plant manager, floor manager, or production manager experience
Experience with Solidworks or Autocad
Working knowledge of current manufacturing processes
Experience speaking to different types of people effectively
Average salary and compensation
The average salary for a Production Manager is $101,000 per year in the United States. Salary will vary based on market, industry, and company size.
Los Angeles, California
New York City, New York
Typical work environment
As a production manager, your work environment will shift from a standard office environment to the production floor and executive offices. Depending on location, you may have significant travel. The production environment will generally be dangerous and noisy, typically requiring hearing, sight, and breathing protection. Awareness of surroundings is necessary in this case to avoid contact with moving machinery, metal heated to dangerous temperatures, and caustic chemicals.
Alternatively, the office environment poses a significantly less physical risk, with occasional lifting and climate control. Generally, the time spent in the office versus on the production floor will be about 40/60.
Production managers can generally expect to work 40 hours a week, with additional hours as necessary to maintain deadlines. Working around staffing hours and acting as a liaison to management may require working later or on weekends in some cases. With that said, the standard working hours of a production manager are typically 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday.
As Production managers handle a wide variety of different tasks, there are many institutions that offer certifications, including:
CPIM – Certified in Production and Inventory Management. Demonstrating an understanding of what makes supply chains resilient and agile in today’s world, the CPIM shows you how to manage disruptions, mitigate risk, and adapt to demand variations.
IPC J-STD-001. This certification is about obtaining the IPC endorsement for the standard process control of materials, methods, and verification criteria for producing high-quality soldered electronics. It demonstrates the user’s thorough understanding of process control and certifies an industry-standard consensus.
CMS Certified Manufacturing Specialist. CMS is heavily geared towards programs with a strong manufacturing emphasis. This certification demonstrates the user’s ability to properly handle electronics, technical drafting, woodworking, metrology, polymers, traditional machining, standard industrial materials, production planning and quality, and management and supervision.
The path leading to becoming a production manager starts with obtaining a relevant degree in the manufacturing field. Afterward, gaining experience in the manufacturing industry is a must. Becoming proficient in a variety of different manufacturing roles is important to enter a management position.
Students that wish to become production managers should seek higher education and further certification on top of work experience to remain competitive in this field. There is very little overlap between manufacturing jobs and other fields, so it’s important to gain and maintain work experience in this specific field in order to effectively manage a team on the manufacturing floor.
Additionally, developing soft skills, like handling disputes, shift conflicts, and motivating and inspiring workers is a must. Being able to shift from communicating with manufacturing staff and upper management effectively is vital in being able to act as an effective and efficient liaison.
US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook
SOC Code: 27-3042
Projected Employment in 2030
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift
Manufacturing is vital to the global supply chain and is only expected to grow in demand. Non-automated manufacturing done in teams will always require planning and oversight by a manager, and the unique specifics of understanding the job will require trained experts to understand the processes involved.
Staying on top of manufacturing techniques and trends along with maintaining certifications and training while accruing both manufacturing and management experience is crucial in maintaining a strong position in this industry.
Sample interview questions
What processes do you use to determine your department’s budget for a particular job?
How do you handle deadlines?
What are some examples of cost-cutting you’ve done?
In the past, how have you handled disputes between staff?
What’s your method of quality control?
What are your methods for forecasting and planning staff scheduling?
How do you handle a difficult staff member?
Have you had to overcome a major setback in your previous job? How did you work around it?
Have you had to convince your team to do a job they were reluctant to do? How did you achieve this?
Describe a time in which you implemented an improvement in a process. What was its impact?
Are You Interested in Becoming a Production Manager?
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