Production manager: job description

Production managers are responsible for the technical management, supervision and control of industrial production processes.

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Shift and 'on-call' work may be required, particularly where manufacturing/production equipment is in continual 24-hour operation.

What does a production manager do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Production managers ensure that manufacturing processes run reliably and efficiently.

Responsibilities of the job include:

  • planning and organising production schedules
  • assessing project and resource requirements
  • estimating, negotiating and agreeing budgets and timescales with clients and managers
  • ensuring that health and safety regulations are met
  • determining quality control standards
  • overseeing production processes
  • re-negotiating timescales or schedules as necessary
  • selecting, ordering and purchasing materials
  • organising the repair and routine maintenance of production equipment
  • liaising with buyers and marketing and sales staff
  • supervising and managing the work of junior staff
  • organising relevant training sessions.

In larger companies, there may be close links between production management and general or strategic management and marketing or finance roles.

Typical employers of production managers

Food manufacturing and processing companies employ the majority of production managers.

You can also find jobs with:

  • food manufacturing and processing companies
  • pharmaceuticals companies
  • defence sector
  • aerospace manufacturers
  • electronic and electrical goods.

You may be able to find a graduate scheme in production management, for which a degree relevant to the industry and employer may be required. An alternative route into this career is starting as a trainee or in a junior post such as a production supervisor, material planner or in inventory control. With appropriate experience, production managers may gain responsibility for several sites, possibly including production plants overseas.

Vacancies are advertised online at TARGETjobs, by careers services and on websites such as Engineering and Technology jobs and Food Manufacture. Specialist recruitment agencies may also advertise vacancies.

Qualifications and training required

It is possible to enter this profession with a degree or higher national diploma (HND) in any subject. However, depending on the industry you are trying to enter, some employers may require a sector-specific discipline such as business management, electrical, electronic, mechanical, process or production engineering, materials science or biochemistry. The degrees permitted will change across industries and employers.

If you are aiming for a more junior role, it is possible to enter the profession without a degree or HND. However, career progression may be limited. To find out more about getting into business and management via a school leaver route, visit the business section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.

Membership with a professional body such as the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport or the Chartered Management Institute may be beneficial. Both offer opportunities for continuing professional development (CPD), career-related events and networking opportunities.

Key skills for production managers

  • confidence
  • technical skills
  • project management skills
  • organisation and efficiency
  • leadership and interpersonal skills
  • problem solving skills
  • IT and numerical skills
  • communication skills
  • teamworking skills.

Managers must also be able to handle responsibility and the pressure of meeting deadlines.

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