Education and Training: Graduate degrees in industrial management or business administration
Average Salary: $83,290
Job Outlook: Fair
Production planners are also known as industrial production managers in the United States. Their main responsibilities include planning and coordinating production related activities in a manufacturing industry. They create plans for optimal use of resources, both people and products in order to achieve maximum profits for their employer while keeping costs low.
They are also involved in strategic processes such as increasing productivity while maintaining quality, lean production, monitoring production standards, and implementing quality control programs. For this reason, new management techniques may be brought in, particularly Six Sigma, which result in continuous quality improvement.
Production planners work with various other units, such as finance, logistics, sales, and procurement.
Education and Training Requirements
Since production planners are needed in all kinds of manufacturing industries, the education and training requirements vary depending on the industry they are employed in. Most employers prefer those with a college degree in business administration.
Large manufacturing units typically hire those with an undergraduate degree in engineering and a graduate degree in business administration.
Production planners spend time on the shop floor with production workers to understand production processes. Most start their careers as supervisors and are then promoted to managerial positions.
Getting the Job
Students with an undergraduate degree can start off as production workers and work their way to a production planner role through job promotions. Those with a graduate degree may have to appear for grueling interviews which test their knowledge of production processes and quality control measures.
Job advancement is possible by taking continuing education programs in industrial production, business administration, and supply chain management.
Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development
Employment opportunities for production planners are expected to decline slightly due to the automation of production processes. However, those in senior managerial positions will have no shortage of jobs as companies start looking for improved productivity and coordination between machines and workers.
Job prospects are excellent for those with work experience in production and degrees in engineering and business administration.
Those employed as production workers should enhance their academic qualifications by opting for continuing education programs in industrial engineering or industrial management.
Working Conditions and Environment
While production planners work from their private office, they have to spend time in the production area ensuring that safety practices are followed. Their remaining time is spent in meetings with other managers to discuss things like sales, procurement, and business analysis.
Since manufacturing units have production deadlines, production planners do not have a fixed work schedule. They must be available round the clock and may be required to work late night shifts. Dealing with production workers in case of emergencies and ensuring quality control is also a part of their job.
Salary and Benefits
As of May 2008, the median annual wages for production planners were $83,290. Those employed in industries manufacturing medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, and control instruments earn the highest salaries.
Production planners get benefits that are given to all company employees. This could vary from industry to industry but generally includes things like life insurance, medical insurance, bonuses, sick leave, and paid time off.
Where to Go for More Information
American Society for Quality
600 N Plankinton Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53203
The Association for Operations Management
8430 West Bryn Mawr Ave., Ste. 1000
Chicago, IL 60631