Jack Welch, one of the greatest-known executives in American history, once said: “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” When the CEO of General Electric spoke of “leaders,” he spoke of all the managers, directors, supervisors, and executives who dedicate their days to helping businesses thrive.
Managers are vital components of a business, no matter the industry. Companies and their employees rely on managers to establish objectives, to direct operations, to build teams, and to accomplish goals. Businesses depend on managers to ensure everything is running smoothly, efficiently, and safely. This is particularly true in the manufacturing industry.
Manufacturing, as a whole, is powered by innovation and technology. It is the largest driver of economic growth in the United States, and ranks among the top employers in the nation. However, manufacturing companies could not thrive without their managers. It is these professionals that ensure the production process is safe, efficient, precise, and meeting quality standards. In other words, they ensure success.
What Do Manufacturing Managers Do?
Manufacturing managers direct, coordinate, and supervise the operations of a manufacturing team. They may help run an entire manufacturing plant or oversee a specific part of the manufacturing process, such as production or quality management. A manufacturing manager’s job duties will vary depending on their role and specific job title. However, they can often be found:
- Setting up and checking machines for safety
- Monitoring processes and workflows closely, and optimizing for efficiency
- Overseeing production to ensure products meet specifications/quality standards
- Hiring and training new workers, as well as assessing performance
- Delegating tasks to employees
- Establishing goals for production and the manufacturing company as a whole
- Coordinating a business plan to effectively meet those goals
The Importance of Manufacturing Managers
If you are asking, “Why is manufacturing management important?”, first take time to consider the importance of manufacturing as a whole. Manufacturing is a critical contributor to the U.S. economy. It is responsible for many of the things we use every day, from your laptop to your television, your car to the bridge you pass over on the way to work. It is essential to other industries, like healthcare, in supplying vital technology and equipment. Without manufacturers, we would not have the assets, the advancements, or the solidity that we do today.
Due to its level of importance within the U.S. economy, manufacturers must be effective in meeting their goals. Manufacturers need to produce the highest-quality goods. They need to meet deadlines, quotas, and quantities. And it is the manufacturing management team that ensures this all happens according to plan. Without managers, operations would not run smoothly, quality would lack, workers would get hurt, and machinery would not run efficiently. There would be more losses than profits.
To break it down, here are some of the top reasons manufacturing management is important today:
- Management helps accomplish manufacturing objectives. One of the most important responsibilities of a manager is to create attainable goals for a business. In manufacturing, managers set goals around output, quality, and growth. Managers are also the main drivers behind reaching those goals. Managers will delegate tasks to workers, streamline the production process, closely monitor the quality of goods, and ensure those goods reach their customers. This, in turn, leads to revenue and business growth.
- Management helps reduce manufacturing costs. Managers are also responsible for monitoring the processes and workflows that go into manufacturing. If something is slowing the systems down, or causing added costs in the process, it is up to the manufacturing manager to find a solution. They may provide recommendations to optimize workflows, minimize product waste to save on material costs, maximize output with new technologies, and minimize the input involved. All of this is done to improve profit margins for the business.
- Management can help grow customer satisfaction, retention, and trust in the brand. When you have a great manager, it reflects on the business as a whole. Production stays on schedule. Processes are streamlined and efficient. Goods are of the highest quality. And, in turn, customers are happy with their products. They trust the brand and, over time, become returning customers. This gives the manufacturer a competitive edge, and creates a great foundation for customer retention. According to recent HubSpot research, just a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s revenue by 25-95%.
- Management ensures safety and compliance in the plant. While manufacturing has come a long way, safety remains a critical component of the industry. Manufacturing plants employ large equipment and machines, and it is important that all workers are trained, knowledgeable, and experienced in how to use each one. Manufacturing managers are responsible for training (or coordinating training for) their workers, to ensure that everyone understands the safety standards, the proper techniques, and what to do in case of an emergency. Similarly, manufacturers are expected to comply with certain standards regarding occupational safety, hygiene, health, and policies. Managers ensure that these standards are well-known across the manufacturing team and, more importantly, that they are respected and followed.
- Management grows and inspires the greater manufacturing team.
Manufacturing management is a highly hands-on career that involves a balance of tactical work and business chops. The other component of this role, however, is the people management. Manufacturing managers are not just responsible for running a plant or department; they are responsible for overseeing and developing their team. They are the ones that hire workers, train and onboard employees, and measure each worker’s performance. Managers are the ones that workers will go to in times of need, and they must do their best to guide each worker forward. Managers are not just directors and delegators. They are not just overseers. They are also motivators for the entire team to do the best possible work they can do. They are listeners, supporters, and role models for their employees. As Anne Mulcahy, former CEO of Xerox Corporation, once said: “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person—not just an employee—are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.”
Making an Impact in Manufacturing
From production line workers to programmers, machinists to manufacturing managers, every person plays an important part on the manufacturing team. However, if you are looking for a career where you can make the biggest possible impact – where you can have a voice in manufacturing, control manufacturing processes, and climb the ladder in your career – manufacturing management is the place to be. The question now is, how do you get there?
To become a manufacturing manager today, you are expected to have a bachelor’s degree. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists a bachelor’s degree as the primary requirement for industrial production managers (a type of manufacturing manager) today.
A bachelor’s degree in Manufacturing Management can prepare you to do the tactical and technical work of the job, as well as the larger responsibilities as a business leader. For example, in Goodwin’s manufacturing management program, you will take courses such as:
Organizational Supervision and Administrative Roles
Team Dynamics and Individual Skills
Upon graduation, you can take on a variety of important manufacturing management roles, including:
If a leadership career in manufacturing appeals to you, the recommended next step for you is higher education. For those who are experienced in manufacturing and looking to level-up your career, some manufacturing management classes may be the boost you need to qualify for that higher role.
However, for those just getting started, a bachelor’s degree in Manufacturing Management is an excellent place to begin. This degree will prepare you to manage a high-quality team that produces first-rate products, and enable you to hold a career with importance, with meaning, and with success. Today, U.S. manufacturing workers make at least 10% over the national average salary for all occupations. Manufacturing managers earn even more, with an average salary of $108,790 in the United States.
Start your career in manufacturing management at Goodwin University. Explore the bachelor’s degree program online, or call 800-889-3282 to learn more from the admissions team.