Becoming an Industrial Production Manager: Salary Info & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of an industrial production management career? Get real job duties, career prospects and salary info to see if becoming an industrial production manager is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of Becoming an Industrial Production Manager

Industrial production managers oversee the operations of manufacturing plants. Learn about the ups and downs to being an industrial production manager by reading below.

PROS of Becoming an Industrial Production Manager
High earnings (average salary of about $102,000 as of May 2014)*
Wide range of production specialties and industries to work in (automobiles, metals, computer equipment, etc.)*
Opportunity to start out as an entry-level worker and climb the ladder to this management position*
Best job prospects are for individuals with bachelor's degrees in industrial management or business administration*

CONS of Becoming an Industrial Production Manager
Often requires years of experience in a manufacturing setting*
Jobs are expected to decline as the manufacturing process becomes more automated*
Long hours are common*
Weekend and night shifts are sometimes assigned*
Managers are on-call in case of emergencies*
-2% Job outlook from 2012-2022

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Occupational Information

Job Description

Computer equipment, paper products, cars and other goods are all created with the help of an industrial production manager. In this career, it is your job to make sure that the operations of a manufacturing plant run smoothly. This involves deciding how to efficiently use your workers and equipment. Your employer normally assigns you goals and expectations that you have to meet. Other duties include hiring and training new workers, evaluating worker performance, ensuring safety procedures are followed and resolving production problems as they arise. Meanwhile, you'll continually analyze the production process in order to come up with ways to increase efficiency and reduce costs.

Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that industrial production managers earned about $49 per hour as of May 2014, which resulted in an average salary of roughly $102,000 (www.bls.gov). If you want to be employed in one of the highest-paying industries, look for work with oil and gas extraction companies, other information services, scientific research and development services, natural gas distribution, and software publishers. These industries paid industrial production managers more than roughly $120,000 on average per year.

Job Outlook

The BLS predicted that industrial production managers would see a -2% growth in employment from 2012 to 2022. This negative growth is expected to be the result of the automation of many manufacturing processes along with competition from foreign markets; however, production managers will still be needed due to oversee workers and equipment. Many of the new jobs will be in fabricated metal products and transportation equipment manufacturing.

What Are the Requirements?

Education, Training and Experience

Many industrial production managers hold bachelor's degrees. Common majors for this career include industrial engineering or business administration. In more advanced positions with larger companies, you may need a master's degree in industrial management or a Master of Business Administration. After getting hired, you'll generally spend a few months in a training program that will familiarize you with the company policies, safety procedures and the production process.

In some circumstances, you might be able to start your career as a lower-level factory worker and climb the ladder to a job as an industrial production manager. You could start out as a production worker, advance to a first-line supervisor position and then get promoted to a managerial position. In these cases, employees usually acquire degrees in business management or complete company-sponsored management training before moving on to a management position.

Skills

The ability to meet deadlines is an important requirement for industrial production managers. You have to not only manage your own time well, but you also need to manage the time of your workers, and falling behind in the production schedule can cost your employer money. Employers also want industrial production managers that are good leaders. The ability to inspire your team of workers to do well is important.

What Do Employers Want?

When looking to hire industrial production managers, employers often seek applicants with formal engineering education and experience in manufacturing. Some employers require you to have experience in the specific type of products the company manufactures or the specific production methods the company utilizes. Read the following sample of job postings from May 2012 to learn about some qualifications that real employers wanted in industrial production managers.

  • In Tennessee, a manufacturing company needs a production manager with a bachelor's degree in engineering and 5-7 years of supervisory experience in a manufacturing setting. Ideal applicants have experience in consumer product, food, chemical or pharmaceutical industries.
  • An alloy manufacturer in Illinois is looking for an industrial production manager who has a bachelor's in industrial or mechanical engineering and 3-5 years of experience in manufacturing. Ideal applicants are knowledgeable in manufacturing methods like 6 Sigma, Lean and ISO.
  • In Virginia, an electrical components manufacturer has an opening for an industrial production manager with a bachelor's degree, 2-5 years of electrical/mechanical experience, 3-6 years of manufacturing experience and 2-5 years of management experience. The employer prefers candidates with Six Sigma, SPC and related production process improvement techniques.
  • A food manufacturer in Minnesota needs an industrial production manager that can comply with all federal and state rules and regulations. Individuals need a bachelor's degree in food science or a related field as well as at least five years in food manufacturing and three years in supervising.

How to Stand Out in the Field

Joining an industry organization is one way to gain an edge in the industrial production management field. You could join the Association for Operations Management, which provides a range of career tools and resources. As a member, you'll receive access to job boards and networking tools, discounts on training classes and access to industry publications.

You could also distinguish yourself from other applicants by obtaining certification. In fact, the BLS points out that certification can demonstrate an advanced level of proficiency in quality control or management systems. The Association for Operations Management, for example, offers the Certified in Production and Inventory Management credential to candidates with two years of experience in the profession. Additionally, the American Society for Quality offers a range of quality control certification for professionals at various levels of education and experience and in a variety of fields.

Other Career Options

If you want to work with products and oversee a team of workers, but you don't want to work in a factory, consider becoming a sales manager. As a sales manager, you'll oversee a sales team, which can involve hiring salespeople, setting up training programs, setting goals for your employees and examining the consumer sales of your company's products. A bachelor's degree and sales experience will generally qualify you for the career. This can be a stressful position, but sales managers have much higher earning potential than production managers; the BLS reports that sales managers earned an average salary of about $117,000 as of 2011. Job prospects in this field were projected to grow at an average rate of 12% from 2010-2020.

If you want a management career involved in structural development rather than product development, consider becoming a construction manager. In this field, you'll help coordinate construction projects by estimating costs, determining the best construction methods and ensuring projects are running smoothly. You'll usually need a bachelor's degree related to construction and applicable experience to enter this career. Compared to industrial production managers, these professionals have better earning potential and job prospects; according to the BLS, construction managers earned an average salary of about $94,000 of of 2011, and jobs in this field were expected to grow by 17% from 2010-2020.

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