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Manufacturing Manager

Education and Training: Bachelor’s Degree and/or on-the job training
Average Salary: $83,290 per year
Job Outlook: Fair

Manufacturing managers ensure that the processes that relate to manufacturing i.e. people, equipment, and production process stay on track and that output adheres to pre-established specifications. This can involve scheduling machines or people, ensuring production costs stay in budget, and making sure staff adheres to safety and quality standards.

In addition, a manufacturing manager may be required to communicate regularly with upper-level management or other departments or implement efficient production or quality methods such as Lean, ISO14000, Total Quality Management, or Kaizen. Manufacturing experience, along with familiarity with production and quality management methods, are a must for success as a manufacturing manager.

Education and Training Requirements

Although there is no standard required education or training, many manufacturing managers have degrees in management, industrial technology, business administration, industrial engineering, or other disciplines in addition to several years of manufacturing experience.

Certification is available for those who wish to professionally validate their skills. The Association for Operations Management offers certification as a Certified in Production and Inventory Management. The test modules cover resource planning, management, scheduling and planning, operations, and resource management. Recipients of this certification are required to earn 75 professional development points every five years to maintain certification.

The American Society for Quality awards the Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence certification. Applicants must have 10 years or more experience in a related field with a minimum of five years in a decision making capacity. Some of the time requirement is waived for those who hold a degree. Test subjects include leadership, strategic plan development and deployment, management elements and methods, quality management tools, customer-focused organizations, supply chain management, training and development. Once certification is achieved, individuals must complete professional development every three years to maintain a valid certification.

Excellent communication skills are required since a manufacturing manager must be able to direct, inform, and persuade staff. Good computer skills are also an asset. In addition, manufacturing managers must stay abreast of new technologies.

Getting the Job

Many manufacturing managers come from the lower ranks after having spent several years on the production line and then in supervisory positions. These individuals have a distinct advantage over outside applicants due to their knowledge of the company’s production process and its policies and procedures.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment will decline by eight percent during the 2008-2018 decade. As manufacturing processes become more automated and the import of manufacturing goods increases, the need for manufacturing workers is decreasing. This decline, however, will have a minimal effect on management.

Working Conditions and Environment

Manufacturing managers work in a variety of industries. Some work in tire manufacturing plants, others in pharmaceutical plants, while others may work in automobile or aerospace plants. Shift work, being on-call, and working more than 50 hours are the norm in this field. Manufacturing Managers spend time in their offices as well as on the floor. Some stress or burnout should be expected from rotating shifts, being called in to fix problems at all times, and the 50 hour work week.

Salary and Benefits

The median starting salary for manufacturing managers was $83,290 per year in 2008. Fifty percent of manufacturing managers earn between $64,390 and $108,710 per year. Ten percent earned less than $50,330 and the top ten percent earned $140,530.

Where to Go for More Information

American Society for Quality
P.O. Box 3005
600 North Plankinton Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53201-3005
(800) 248-1946

Association for Operations Management
8430 West Bryn Mawr Ave., Ste. 1000
Chicago, IL 60631
(800) 444-2742
(773) 867-1777

Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance
525 S Main St., Ste. 210
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74103
(918) 592.0722

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesManufacturing & Production