Industrial production managers oversee the daily operations of manufacturing and related plants.
What they do
Industrial production managers coordinate, plan, and direct the activities used to create a wide range of goods, such as cars, computer equipment, or paper products.
They typically do the following:
- Decide how best to use a plant’s workers and equipment to meet production goals
- Ensure that production stays on schedule and within budget
- Hire, train, and evaluate workers
- Analyze production data
- Write production reports
- Monitor a plant’s workers and programs to ensure they meet performance and safety requirements
- Streamline the production process
- Determine whether new machines are needed or whether overtime work is necessary
- Fix any production problems
Industrial production managers, also called plant managers, may oversee an entire manufacturing plant or a specific area of production.
Industrial production managers are responsible for carrying out quality control programs to make sure the finished product meets a specific level of quality. Often called quality control systems managers, these managers use programs to help identify defects in products, identify the cause of the defect, and solve the problem creating it. For example, a manager may determine that a defect is being caused by parts from an outside supplier. The manager can then work with the supplier to improve the quality of the parts.
Industrial production managers work closely with managers from other departments as well. For example, the procurement (buying) department orders the supplies that the production department uses. A breakdown in communication between these two departments can cause production slowdowns. Industrial production managers also communicate with other managers and departments, such as sales, warehousing, finance, and research and design.
Industrial production managers split their time between the production area and a nearby office. When they are working in the production area, they may need to wear protective equipment, such as a helmet or safety goggles.
How to become an Industrial Production Manager
Industrial production managers typically need a bachelor’s degree and several years of related work experience.
Employers prefer that industrial production managers have at least a bachelor’s degree. While the degree may be in any field, many industrial production managers have a bachelor’s degree in business administration or industrial engineering. Sometimes, production workers with many years of experience take management classes to become production managers. At large plants, where managers have more oversight responsibilities, employers may look for managers who have a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a graduate degree in industrial management.
Many industrial production managers begin as production workers and move up through the ranks. They usually advance to a first-line supervisory position before eventually becoming an industrial production manager. Most earn a college degree in business management or take company-sponsored classes to increase their chances of a promotion.
Alternatively, a worker who joins a firm immediately after graduating from college may work as first-line supervisor before beginning a job as a production manager.
Some begin working as an industrial production manager directly after college or graduate school. They may spend their first few months in training programs, becoming familiar with the production process, company policies, and safety regulations. In large companies, many also spend short periods of time working in other departments, such as purchasing or accounting, to learn more about the company.
The median annual wage for industrial production managers was $105,480 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $65,050, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $176,070.
Employment of industrial production managers is projected to grow 1 percent from 2019 to 2029, slower than the average for all occupations.
Similar Job Titles
Area Plant Manager, General Production Manager, Manufacturing Coordinator, Manufacturing Manager, Plant Manager, Plant Senior Manager, Product Line Manager, Production Control Manager, Production Manager, Sub Plant Manager
General and Operations Manager, Food Service Manager, First-Line Supervisor of Production and Operating Workers, First-Line Supervisor of Helpers/Laborers/Material Movers, First-Line Supervisor of Transportation and Material-Moving Machine and Vehicle Operators
The trade associations listed below represent organizations made up of people (members) who work and promote advancement in the field. Members are very interested in telling others about their work and about careers in those areas. As well, trade associations provide opportunities for organizational networking and learning more about the field’s trends and directions.
- American Foundry Society
- American Institute of Chemical Engineers
- American Management Association
- American Society for Quality
- National Wooden Pallet and Container Association
- Society of Manufacturing Engineers
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
Magazines and Publications
Whether their product is a golf club, a car, or a frozen dinner, industrial production managers ensure that production operations meet quality and safety standards, comply with regulations, and stay on schedule. Industrial production managers also plan how to make the best use of equipment and workers to meet their goals, all while keeping costs within budget. They may oversee quality control programs to find any defects in the product and correct the problem causing it. When issues are identified, these managers need to communicate with all of the affected departments, vendors, and contractors. Industrial production managers work in all types of manufacturing plants both in the office and in production areas where they may wear protective gear. Those who specialize in quality control systems generally work in laboratories and factories, but may also find roles in healthcare. Most industrial production managers work full time, and overtime is common. Night or weekend shifts are not unusual, and managers may sometimes need to be on call to deal with emergencies. Industrial production managers typically need a bachelor’s degree and several years of related work experience. Many managers start as production workers, and move up to this position by gaining experience and furthering their education. At large plants, employers may prefer candidates with a graduate degree in business or industrial management.