What Makes A Production Manager?
Production managers are an integral part of any food manufacturing business. The role requires skills such as planning, coordination and control of manufacturing processes, thus ensuring products are produced efficiently and to a high standard.
In 2017, UK total food and drink exports were worth more than £22bn, (the equivalent in 2016 for Germany was E56.7bn) and production managers played a substantial role in helping to achieve this result. These individuals have a significant influence in what products can be produced. But what is it that makes a production manager?
What traits are needed to achieve success within a growing industry? With 140,000 new recruits needed within the UK food and beverage manufacturing by 2024, production managers are needed to control the manufacturing, nurture the new workforce and maintain the quality of these valuable exports.
Impeccable Planning Skills
Production managers are the initiating factor within manufacturing, ensuring production lines run seamlessly and products are of the highest quality. The responsibility of organising the day-to-day production requires impeccable planning skills by the professional.
They are cognisant of everything which occurs within the workplace. Production managers ensure that production schedules are optimised and that the workflow is running in a safe and timely manner, with a minimum of downtime.
Production managers oversee a highly technical and diverse team. Therefore, effective leadership skills are a prime characteristic of what makes a successful production manager. Leadership is an essential trait, as the safety and productivity standards achieved reflect on the production management.
These professionals set the tone of the criteria which workers adhere to. The food and beverage industry is fast paced, and production managers need to ensure all personnel are properly trained and working safely. Injuries within the food and beverage industry have reduced by 55%, showing the increased impact production managers have had thus far on delivering effective risk management.
Diversity and Flexibility
Experience and knowledge of the industry are essential in producing the complete production manager. Experience can be gained by working your way up the ladder from school level. And the best insight to manufacturing is obtained by undertaking a variety of roles, perhaps including, quality, new product development and engineering, within a number of different companies where processes will be different.
However, other production managers are required at higher management levels to ensure compliance with requirements of major companies. A diverse background gives managers the skill set and the level of flexibility needed to succeed in the role.
The Right Set of Skills
The responsibilities placed on a production manager necessitates that they are strong leaders and have the right set of skills. To achieve the level of a successful manager, these are the competencies the individual should possess:
- Time management – production managers are skilled individuals with the process of getting tasks completed. They have a high level of understanding of what is needed to achieve an efficient production schedule and workflow, while seeing opportunities where others may not.
- Decision-making – production managers succeed in making key decisions under pressure and promptly.
- Innovation – production managers are creative individuals who have the confidence to bring ideas forward. They also have great judgement as to how innovative ideas will fare within their research and development initiatives.
- Communication – production managers are able to supervise the work of junior staff whilst able to liaise with the purchasing, marketing and sales departments.
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