Industrial production has come a long way since the first industrial production manager, Henry Ford, set up an assembly line for the Model T. Over the last century industry has evolved into operations Mr. Ford would be unable to identify. Gone are conveyor belts with workers adding an element to a widget as it passed by their work stations. Often employees never saw the finished product they helped to build.
Twenty-first century manufacturing is lean manufacturing. The basis of this line of attack is to find and implement efficiencies at every level. Lean manufacturing attempts to use fewer resources to produce products. In order to be successful, the lean environment must use cutting edge technologies and recruit the finest professionals in the field. Manufacturing in a lean environment eliminates waste and streamlines processes. The company’s capital assets and employees are all employed to increase profitability.
Industrial production managers are responsible for the supervision, scheduling and processes of all the activities it requires to make the company’s goods. An industrial production manager meets production quotas, and he or she meets the schedule.
He or she raises issues of quality or safety with the appropriate division or line manager. The industrial production manager helps to discover and implement new technologies and processes. He or she is proactive in preventing problems that slow production. When manufacturing hits a snag he assists in finding and implementing the solution.
Computer skills are vital to the industrial production manager. Interpersonal skills are also required. The manager must be able to compromise, negotiate, influence and collaborate with distinct personalities every day.
Industrial production managers thrive on challenges. They must find new approaches for reducing waste while keeping inventories low and meeting tight delivery schedules. Today’s manufacturing environment is highly competitive.
The size of the manufacturing facility determines the magnitude of the industrial production manager’s responsibilities. He or she may be accountable for the entire process, from raw material to finished product. Larger facilities may divide the manufacturing floor into zones or areas and have several production managers. The men and women who choose careers in production are problem solvers. They are creative thinkers with excellent oral, and written communications skills. They also know that strong computer skills are indispensable.
Industrial production managers spend as much time working on the production floor as they do in their offices. They may be assigned to provide information to engineering, purchasing, sales or finance.
A career as an industrial production manager is fast paced and diverse. Often the job is stressful. Industrial production managers may be expected to be available at any time in an emergency. In many ways the industrial production manager has his finger on the pulse of the company.
Training and Education Requirements
The field of American manufacturing is so broad that training as an industrial production manager is provided by the individual’s employer. A college degree in engineering or business administration is helpful, but experience in manufacturing is essential. Industrial production managers Industrial production managers usually work their way up through company ranks. They have demonstrated leadership skills in various positions. They take advantage of educational opportunities offered by the company. Depending on the manufacturer, recent college graduates may be hired and placed in the company’s training program.
Production techniques are extremely complex, today, and new equipment and techniques will continue complicating factors. Larger companies prefer to hire employees with graduate degrees in engineering, industrial management or business administration. Academic courses in mathematics, computer technology, or the behavioral sciences may be valuable for promotion.
Industrial Production Manager’s Salary and Wages
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics average annual salaries for industrial product managers were $83,290 in 2008. The lowest ten percent earned less than $50,330 and highest ten percent earned over $140,530 per year. Salary ranges are based on the industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a moderate decline in employment in manufacturing employment until at least 2018 due to continued business automation.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Professional certifications are not required to become an industrial production manager. Some certifications may be useful in obtaining a position as an industrial production manager. Among the valuable credentials is the CPIM, Certified in Production and Inventory Management. The CPIM is earned by passing several tests that prove proficiency in several different quality and management systems.
The American Society for Quality awards a Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence to managers with at least ten years of experience in decision-making positions. The award also requires testing. Education in decision sciences may be substituted for manufacturing experience in some cases.
Professional development opportunities are available through organizations such as The American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS). APICS works in tandem The American Management Association, The American Society of Transportation and Logistics, The Association for Manufacturing Excellence, The Supply-Chain Council and The Institute of Operations Management.