Typical Job Titles of Direct Reports
- Material Handler
- Production Worker
- Production Manager
- Quality Control Inspector
- Robotics Technician
- Instrument Specialist
- Process Control Technician
- Automation Technician/Specialist/Engineer
- Programmable Logic Controllers Technician
- Process Engineer
- Development Engineer
Plant Manager Position Overview
A plant manager manages a team of supervisors as well as the workers on the production line. This role is responsible for overseeing the daily operations of manufacturing plants and their employees. Duties include planning production schedules, identifying productivity goals, and monitoring processes to ensure efficiency and compliance in the manufacturing process. A plant manager also develops strategies that make certain the production goals are met at a minimal cost. Additionally, the plant manager is responsible for maintaining a safe work environment for the employees. A good plant manager has strong leadership qualities, gives clear direction, thinks proactively, and has a high degree of accountability.
Some core responsibilities of a Plant Manager
- Planning, organizing, directing, and running optimum day-to-day operations
- Managing production, assets capacity, and flexibility while minimizing unnecessary costs and maintaining quality standards
- Ensuring production output, product quality, and on-time shipping
- Allocating resources effectively
- Creating and managing budgets
- Utilizing assets to produce optimal results
- Collecting and analyzing data to find areas of waste and overtime
- Creating reports to present to executives regarding processes
- Committing to plant safety procedures
- Developing systems and processes that track and optimize productivity
- Staying apprised of whether standards, metrics, and performance targets are being met in order to ensure effective return on assets
- Keeping up to date with latest production management best practices
- Maintaining lean manufacturing processes
- Implementing strategies in alignment with strategic initiatives
- Monitoring operations, initiating and driving corrective actions when needed
- Overseeing work schedules to ensure coverage
- Providing a clear sense of direction and focus to team members
- Building a trusting relationship with workers
- Addressing employees’ issues or grievances
- Recruiting, managing, and developing plant staff
Plant managers usually need a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering or a related field. It is, however, possible for an employee who has only a high school diploma or a GED, combined with several years of experience at the same plant, to move into a plant manager position.
Depending on the education level, a plant manager can have varying experience levels. For example, someone who has a high school diploma or a GED needs five years or more of experience. Someone who has an undergraduate degree usually needs at least three years of experience as an Engineer or a similar role. A person who has an MBA may be able to earn an entry-level position with less than one year of experience. The size and type of plant and the industry are also factors in the experience that is required.
Required and Desired Skills
A successful plant manager needs to possess a specific set of skills. Here are some of the skills that contribute to being a good plant manager:
- Communication (Writing and Speaking) – A plant manager needs to effectively communicate expectations and general information with their team, as well as provide information to upper management and executives. Their skills must include both verbal and written.
- Financial Management – A plant manager deals with a lot of financial information in managing the plant’s funds to ensure they are used effectively.
- Computer – A plant manager must be adept at MS Office, spreadsheets, email, presentation and slideshows, database management, Quickbooks, and enterprise systems.
- Presentation – Presentation hard skills include visual communication, slideshows, research, data analysis, reporting, graphic design.
- Management – Management hard skills include business knowledge, budgeting, project management, finance, office management skills, logistics, negotiating, and planning.
- Production-Specific Processes – Continual Improvement Process, Quality Control, Lean Manufacturing, ISO, Six Sigma, Quality Control and Assurance
- Staff Management – A plant manager must have an ability to delegate, be open, make decisions, and solve problems in managing the staff in the plant
- Leadership – Strong leadership qualities that include giving clear direction, thinking proactively, and having a high sense of accountability
- Motivation – The ability to lead a team, motivate, and cultivate direct reports to achieve high performance, encouraging individuals to do better
- Adaptability – The ability to be flexible and agile when things change
- Forward Thinking – Planning for the future, thinking two steps ahead, making goals for the future in order to accomplish more with less stress
- Conflict Management – The ability to identify, address, and manage conflict by finding root causes and resolutions
- Decisiveness – Being able to make tough decisions in assessing situations and arriving at best course of action
- Organization – The ability to stay organized with many plates in the air; organizing thoughts, processes, tasks, workflow, and inventory management are critical
A Day in the Life of a Plant Manager
A typical day may first involve walking around the factory, checking the dispatch and production areas, and making sure everything is working. Then, the plant manager may check on the orders that have come in and possibly prioritize them. More than likely, you will meet with shift supervisors to stay informed for important issues that could impact the production for the time period as well as communicate the priorities.
Having production meetings and factory meetings to keep everyone on the same page is a standard daily activity. Getting answers to questions such as: Is the projected production on target? Are all the machines working properly? Has the required stock been ordered? Are deliveries on schedule?
Checking on KPIs (like customer service, deliveries, stock, and orders placed) is also an important part of the plant manager’s daily duties. In order to stay apprised of all the critical aspects of production, the plant manager interacts with many different roles both inside the plant’s operational staff and outside team members in logistics, purchasing, and planning.
Typical Working Conditions
Plant managers work all across the floor in a factory. They usually have an office area where they do paperwork and conduct meetings and/or interviews. But, the majority of the time is spent in the plant observing workers, training new employees, and making sure all the machinery is working properly.
Plant Manager Salary Range and Benefits
The salary ranges for a plant manager in the U.S. can vary widely depending on factors such as education, certifications, additional skills, and the number of years in the profession. The average plant manager salary can be anywhere from $106,000 to $171,268. The lowest percentile of plant managers can make an annual salary of $72,000 while the top earners can make $135,000 and above. Many compensation packages for plant managers can include bonuses for meeting annual goals.
Other common benefits for Plant Managers include:
- Relocation assistance
- 401(k) matching
- Health insurance
- Dental insurance
- Disability insurance
- AD&D insurance
- Vision insurance