A production manager is involved with the planning, coordination and control of industrial processes.
A production manager ensures that goods and services are produced efficiently; that they are of the right quality, quantity, and cost; and that they are produced on time, to satisfaction of the customer, at the right price. The scope of the job depends on the nature of the production system: jobbing production, mass production, process production, or batch production.
Many companies are involved in several types of production, adding to the complexity of the job. Most production managers are responsible for both human and material resources.
Typical work activities
The exact nature of the work will depend on the size of the employing organisation. However tasks typically involve:
- Overseeing the production process, drawing up a production schedule;
- Ensuring that the production is cost effective;
- Making sure that products are produced on time and are of good quality;
- Working out the human and material resources needed;
- Drafting a time scale for the job;
- Estimating costs and setting the quality standards;
- Monitoring the production processes and adjusting schedules as needed;
- Being responsible for the selection and maintenance of equipment;
- Monitoring product standards and implementing quality-control programmes;
- Liaising among different departments e.g. suppliers, managers;
- Working with managers to implement the company’s policies and goals;
- Ensuring that health and safety guidelines are followed;
- Supervising and motivating a team of workers;
- Reviewing the performance of subordinates;
- Identifying training needs.
A production manager is involved in both the pre-production (planning) stage as well as the production (control and supervision) stage. A large part of production management involves dealing with people, particularly those who work in your team.
Production managers are also involved with product design and purchasing. In a small firm you may have to make many of the decisions yourself, but in larger organisations planners, controllers, production engineers and production supervisors will assist you.
In progressive firms, the production manager’s role tends to be more closely integrated with other functions, such as marketing, sales and finance.