Plant Manager Job Description and Education Requirements

A plant manager oversees the operations of a manufacturing facility and develops strategies to increase production at minimal costs. Most plant manager positions require 4-year or graduate degrees in business or technology management, but because experience is a major requirement, many employees start out as production workers, gain experience and work their way up to plant manager status.

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Job Description for a Plant Manager

A plant manager is responsible for directing and coordinating the daily operations of a manufacturing plant. This includes developing efficiency strategies to ensure the plant meets production goals and standards at minimal manufacturing costs. The plant manager works directly with department heads to coordinate purchasing, production and distribution operations. Duties include instituting policies and procedures, training supervisors and administrators, maintaining a production schedule, giving performance reviews and motivating staff to meet production goals.

The plant manager is also responsible for upholding a safe work environment. Approximately half of all plant managers worked on average more than 40 hours per week in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The BLS also indicates that industrial production managers should see a two percent decline in employment from 2012 to 2022, which is attributed to the decline in many manufacturing industries. The median annual income for these managers was $89,190 as of May 2012 (www.bls.gov).

Education Requirements

There are no strict education requirements for becoming a plant manager, but many positions require a 4-year degree in business or industrial management. Such degrees include a curriculum focused on managerial accounting, business finance, business strategy, quality and supply chain management, cost accounting and human resources. Some employers, especially at larger plants with more complex production processes, prefer candidates with a graduate degree in a business or technical field. Many college graduates who enter the plant manager position right out of school are typically unfamiliar with their facility's production process, so many plants offer extensive management training programs.

Skills and Certificate Information

Employers favor applicants with experience in the manufacturing process and familiarity with their plant in particular. Some plant managers start out as production workers and work their way up to management. These workers must prove their leadership skills to their employer and often attend courses to learn more about the company and plant management skills.

They can also earn production management certifications, such as Certified in Production and Inventory Management, which requires passing exams focused on topics like production operations, supply chain management and strategic planning. Such certifications must be maintained through professional development procedures every few years.

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