What Is a Manufacturing Operations Manager?
Manufacturing operations managers are tasked with the supervision and oversight of the daily operations of manufacturing facilities and other related plants. Their job consists of managing employees, organizing schedules, meeting performance goals, and other administrative duties.
Depending on the size of the company, managers may be responsible for the entire facility, or a specific branch or sector within a larger plant.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's Degree|
|Job Skills||Leadership, organization, time management, interpersonal communication|
|Average Salary (2020)*||$96,719|
|Job Outlook (2019-2029)**||1% (for all industrial production managers)|
Sources: *Payscale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
As a general rule, manufacturing operations managers must have at least a bachelor's degree, although an exact field is not usually a requirement. Aspiring managers looking to gain an edge can choose a degree program that teaches managerial skills, such as business administration. Another educational path includes gaining 'insider knowledge' of the industry through a degree in industrial engineering or something similar.
Some larger companies may require their managers to perform more complex functions and take on greater responsibility, and as such they may prefer managers who have a master's degree, such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA), or a graduate degree in industrial management.
In addition to formal education, operations managers often have work experience in the same industry. Professionals start in a lower position, such as production worker, and these entry-level jobs provide valuable insight and experience into how the company works. After acquiring this experience, workers are then promoted to a more senior position.
Just like any other manager working in a different field, managers need to be able to supervise and lead their subordinates. Conflict resolution, leadership, and interpersonal communication are all essential talents that operations managers will need to have.
Cooperation and coordination are two other crucial talents, as managers will need to work closely with other departments within a company to ensure quality control and efficiency. Handling so many tasks at once will naturally necessitate superb organizational and time management talents.
Managers will also be expected to meet production goals, quality control standards, and other metrics set forth by their employer. Creative problem-solving skills are crucial in devising solutions to these challenges.
Outside of standard managerial skills, operations managers are not usually required to possess advanced knowledge of any manufacturing processes. Having this knowledge, however, may come in handy on the job and make candidates more appealing.
Career Outlook & Salary
In the next decade, the job market for operations managers is expected to just hold steady. The BLS predicts a 1 percent change in employment for all industrial production managers, a category into which operations managers fall.
The BLS notes that automation and outsourcing are very real threats to the industry, but the growing trend of 'reshoring,' or bringing previously-outsourced work back into the US, is catching on and will be a good source of employment in the industry.
Manufacturing operations managers command a respectable salary, as Payscale.com reported an average salary of $96,719 for all individuals in this profession. Payscale.com also found that location, industry, and years of experience all played a factor in determining how much a manager earns, as the overall salary range was $64k-$130k.
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