If your company manufactures and produces products, there is a person who is tasked with overseeing and managing the entire process in the plant–the Plant Manager. The role of a plant manager is critical to the successful production of the product being manufactured. There are a lot of moving pieces in the plant that result in production and the manager must be on top of all of it.
The plant manager directs the work and the resources that are needed for the production process. All of the work must be planned and managed so that it meets the cost, quality, and quantity specifications for a company and/or project. He/she is involved in the daily operations as well as the long-range plans. Some large plants have a plant manager assigned to manage one area; however, typically, the manager is responsible for the entire plant’s operations.
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
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.
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:
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.
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.
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: