You've proven yourself as a key contributor on industrial worksites for years. What's more, you've demonstrated that you have all of the qualities of a leader. Now, it's only natural to think that becoming a production manager is the next step for you.

But what exactly does the role entail?

For starters, it's important to note that production managers hold responsibilities straddling both strategy and execution. From a management standpoint, their priorities include:

  • minimizing costs as much as possible to increase profitability
  • reducing a wide range of risks and cutting down on potential business exposures
  • ensuring onsite operations align with and deliver on key business goals
  • strengthening relationships with suppliers, vendors and partners

On a day-to-day basis, that translates to a flurry of activity, such as:

  • coordinating schedules
  • monitoring inventory as well as key performance indicators (KPIs) across all areas of operations
  • overseeing production engineering and identifying continuous improvements to production processes
  • ensuring safety and other risk-reduction programs are in place and working effectively
  • coaching and mentoring other employees

how do you become a production manager?

There's certainly no one set path to becoming a production manager, but the common ground for many is a certain level of experience in the industry. When it comes to acquiring valuable knowledge, the bottom line is that there's no substitute for real-world, on-the-job experience.

If you're still starting out in your career, in other words, becoming a production manager isn't out of reach — but it might not be your time yet. If, on the other hand, you’ve got loads of experience but worry your credentials aren’t quite up to par, consider certification or training in the following areas. Any one of these could help you secure the coveted role, so try to think about what would be the best complement for you, based on your background, field and existing expertise.

  • industrial production manager certification
  • kanban/lean six sigma certification or training
  • hazardous material management training or certification
  • training in supply chain management or logistics
  • total quality management training
  • just-in-time production training

Most of these can be pursued online — and mastering any one of them will amount to an ace up your sleeve.

what are alternative titles for production managers?

Production managers go by a lot of different names, including:

  • line manager
  • production supervisor
  • plant manager
  • plant supervisor
  • warehouse production coordinator

Adding to the confusion for aspiring production managers is the fact that “production manager” roles are sprinkled throughout a host of different industries, from film and television to manufacturing and logistics. So make sure you’re applying for a production manager role in the right industry!

what are the key skills of a production manager?

Production managers are in all things efficiency-oriented, of course, but they're also keenly aware that reconciling business goals with the day-to-day realities of industrial worksites requires a fine balance. And they know from experience that strong leadership can make all of the difference.

Does that sound like you? We certainly hope so. And if that's the case, just make sure you showcase the following aptitudes on your resume when applying for production manager roles:

  • analytical thinking
  • demonstrated leadership ability
  • business, operations and financial management
  • strong written and verbal communication skills
  • safety excellence
  • cost and risk reduction
  • strategic planning

Convince a prospective employer that you've got all of these traits, and you're a shoe-in.

what is the salary of a production manager?

Production managers tend to have a ton on their plate, as we've discussed, and most of them are compensated accordingly. Annual salaries in the six-figure range, frankly, are not unheard of. Hourly pay tends to range from $44.63 to $59.51, according to the latest data, with a national average of $51.60 per hour. And when you consider all of the different ways these seasoned pros deliver value, that makes a lot of sense.

Because of all those inputs, however, it’s sometimes hard to know the exact compensation figures for production managers. Your best bet is to check out our free salary comparison tool, which will help you discover at-a-glance data about pay rates across roles and markets.

key takeaways

We've analyzed what production managers do, mapped out a few career paths, touched on salary — and suggested a few of the ways you can pivot in this direction, as well. At this stage, in other words, the next move is on you.

Start searching for production manager openings near you with Randstad, or sign up to have us serve as your career partner going forward (plus, you'll get relevant jobs delivered directly to your inbox as they become available). Alternately, if you're just looking for deep insights into the ever-changing world of industrial work, click here for detailed analyses of other key roles in the manufacturing and logistics space.