A plant manager, also known as a factory or operations manager, has the general responsibility of maintaining a manufacturing plant’s operations including storage and shipping of products. It involves full operational control of the overall system activities such as engineering, output, marketing, and other commercial activities.
The position requires leadership, which is needed to ensure that the financial plan and production target date are met. Community relations should be established and maintained in order to supervise and manage the staff well. Since the job involves an extensive knowledge of production mechanics, qualifications include knowledge of industrial principles, manufacturing, and employment policies. Prior experience in administering production operations and mechanics is greatly advantageous.
Responsibilities in Managing a Plant
The plant manager is the over-all supervisor of the operational system of the plant. He is responsible for planning, organizing, and regulating the production and maintenance operations to guarantee effective return on capital. He implements manufacturing strategies and actions for the accomplishment of plant production goals. Furthermore, he should encourage the use of new techniques and concentrate on fact based problem solving.
The manager is responsible for training, selecting, and motivating plant supervisory and administrative staff achieve an effective use of manpower and enhance human resource utilization within every department. The manager must have good social connections within the plant community. He also administers assessment of employee performance and ensures that complaints of employees are addressed in time.
Moreover, he utilizes manpower, facilities, equipment, materials and assets to ensure minimal manufacturing errors. This also includes initiative plans and assurance of attaining business objectives and production schedules while maintaining quality product standards. The manager is also involved with negotiating collective bargaining agreements. He coordinates and directs operations aside from establishing and directing plant policies and procedures. To accomplish this he must confer with the department heads to ensure coordination of purchasing, production, and shipping.
Educational Attainment, Training and Salary
The job typically requires a high school diploma or equivalent. Basic reading, writing, arithmetic skills, and social skills are useful for someone managing and supervising people as well as operating machinery. But preferably, one must attain at least a bachelor’s degree in an engineering discipline, particularly in high standard industries where the career requires higher skills and intensive knowledge of production mechanics. Other qualifications includes prior experience in managing production operations and knowledge regarding manufacturing and employment regulations, policies, practices, and procedures. Knowledge of industry principles such as lean manufacturing and six sigma methodologies are also required.
Plant managers usually start at the bottom starting as a general manager and work through various departments before sitting in a manager position. Working in each department is beneficial in order for them to understand how each department works and its connection to each other. At that point, plant owners and operators will select manager trainees through a training course before allowing them to administer the plant. The chosen ones undergo an observation period wherein the potential skills are being observed intensely.
The average salary of a plant manager ranges from $71000 to $88000 per year. The salary depends on the manufacturing company the plant is involved and the number of years experience as manager. Proving one as capable and trustworthy in handling the plant, the more chance he will get a significant amount of salary overtime.
Other benefits include a full health insurance plan. The manager also receives vacation time and sick leave.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Challenges for a Plant Manager
Being a plant manager has a crucial role in maintaining the standard and competitiveness of the plant. Having a sense of commitment, leadership and social skills is beneficial in aiming the position. The manager should be aware and conscious of the things and issues currently happening in the system. He should be logical and alert in case of emergency decisions. Gaining knowledge about every department is important in order to supervise and manage the whole system smoothly. Building social relationships and understanding within the community is helpful for effective and progressive plant management. The manager should prove and maintain his work ethics and professionalism in everything that he does.