Industrial production managers are responsible for planning the manufacturing of a company’s products and or consumer goods. To be successful they must match the company’s production capacity to its customer’s demands and ensure that production runs smoothly and efficiently. They rely upon their expertise in efficient supply chain & inventory management practices in order to mitigate the incidence of parts and material shortages.
These shortages can adversely affect production schedules and increase costs. They are tasked with controlling the entire manufacturing process and eliminating any causes of lost or idle time as it relates to machine downtime, employee absence and delays. They must be experienced in production cell management and prepared to analyze and reduce manufacturing cycle times. In this capacity, they must be adept at ensuring production outlines and assembly drawings are clear and concise, work orders and instructions understood and that employees are well trained and motivated to produce.
Additional responsibilities include reducing the incidence of overtime by managing multiple work schedules and improving efficiencies. They may be asked to analyze a company’s future ROI (Return on Investment) on a given machine or equipment purchase. This is done by reviewing costs pertaining to the upkeep and maintenance of the equipment, the training required to bring employees up to speed and the spare parts and possible repair costs involved. They often work with operations to ensure that any machine or equipment purchase has an added net benefit to the company and is not a drain on its resources or its cash holdings.
While some industrial production managers are in charge of the entire shop floor, some are relegated to managing a given product line, area or group of production cells. Their compensation varies depending upon the position they hold and their level of responsibilities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest wage earners are those production managers involved in control instrument manufacturing, pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing as well as plastics and motor vehicle parts. In terms of salary, Payscale.com states that the average salary for industrial production managers was between $49,388.00 and $77,119.00 in 2009.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Job Description and Outlook
Given the state of the global economy and the constant pressures on manufacturing to remain cost competitive, the right industrial production manager is essential to the long-term viability of a given company. If they are able to reduce costs, improve cycle times, eliminate lost and idle time and shorten product to market lead times, then they can become a valuable commodity within any company. While manufacturing jobs have been lost due to overseas, low cost competitors, there is ample evidence that with the right production manager, a company can not only remain competitive, but thrive! In addition, there is always a question of overseas manufacturers and their inherent longer lead times on parts, materials and the finished product. This often forces companies to revaluate their approach to site manufacturing and leads to several companies seeing a net savings in keeping manufacturing jobs closer to their given market. This is seen in the presence of Japanese automotive manufacturers who have manufacturing plants in North America to service consumers in the United States, Mexico and Canada.
Training and Education Requirements
A number of industrial production managers attain their positions by virtue of their experience and capabilities in production. They may rise through the ranks after years of applicable training in separate job functions on the production floor. In fact, a bachelor’s degree isn’t a prerequisite for all companies. While it does help to have a higher level of education, a number of companies need their production managers to have industry and manufacturing experience relative to the product being made or the process being used. Still, for industrial engineering production managers, a degree in engineering and or operations is an added bonus.
Industrial production managers must be able to manage all aspects of work. This involves being well prepared to put lean manufacturing principles in place and constantly pursue continuous improvement initiatives. The key to success is to lower the time it takes to make the product and reduce the costs of overtime and delays. The best certification for industrial production managers, and the one most recognized by employers, is the CPIM (Certified Production & Inventory Management) certification. This certification is offered by APICS (American Productivity & Inventory Control Society) and includes training on JIT (Just in Time) manufacturing & supply chain management principles, proper production and workload planning, as well as lean manufacturing principles used by such manufacturing icons like Dell’s “Push-Pull” system or Honda’s JIT model.
Aside from APICS, there is also the Production Managers Association in the United States and the Production Services Association in the UK. However, because industrial production management and operations management fall under the same umbrella, they both have similar associations that are able to provide training, books and courses to upgrade one’s skills. Here is a full list of the most common professional associations open to industrial production managers.
- APICS: American Productivity & Inventory Control Society
- POMS: Production and Operations Management Society
- The Association of Technology, Management & Applied Engineering
- The Institute of Operations Management
- EurOMA: European Operations Management Association
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