Production management oversees manufacturing and managing production inputs like raw materials, capital, and labor to produce expected outputs like products. Managing production within a manufacturing company is necessary, whether it’s a large or small business. This becomes important as a company grows and managing desired output becomes more complex.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), production management jobs are expected to grow by 5 percent between 2020 and 2030, which is slower than the national average . Salary for production management roles in the US is much higher than average, with the median annual earnings at $103,150, rising to $170,470 for the top 10 percent .
Production management aims to monitor and improve the efficiency of activities, materials, staff resources, and budgets to produce goods. Production outcomes vary according to the industry. A production manager ensures that manufacturing stays on schedule, within budget, and achieves the desired output goals.
Production management job descriptions vary by each industry and level of the role, but in general, someone working in production management may have the following responsibilities:
Managing manufacturing processes and looking at inputs to achieve outputs
Creating and maintaining work schedules and budgets
Monitoring production to find ways to improve efficiency and processes. operations
Communicating effectively with staff, stakeholders, suppliers, and customers
Manage safety and quality processes
Manage a production team
Identify, evaluate, and resolve any problems with manufacturing or staffing.
Working in production management involves a specific skill set encompassing technical and workplace skills.
Competency with technical equipment
Knowledge of industry regulations
Leadership and management
Ability to multitask
Attention to detail
Industries that manufacture products rely on production management. Production management jobs can vary by industry, including:
Metal and fabricated products
Computers and technology
According to BLS, the industry with the highest level of employment is fabricated metal product manufacturing, followed by transportation equipment, is the industry with the highest employment level.
Production management jobs, titles, and salaries vary and have different responsibilities. Rather than searching for production manager roles, you might want to expand your search to incorporate similar jobs.
Here are some product management jobs and average salaries:
*All salary data is sourced from Glassdoor as of August 2022
Average salary (US): $57,256
A production manager manages the production process and ensures the company's manufacturing goals are met (outputs) by successfully overseeing inputs such as time, staffing, efficiency, materials, and costs.
Average salary (US): $82,221
A manufacturing manager looks after the day-to-day manufacturing operation. They organize schedules, manage staff, and set budgets. The role is very similar to a production manager, except the production manager is responsible for the entire production process, while a manufacturing manager looks after the equipment and those that use it.
Average salary (US): $54,419
An assistant production manager supports the production manager with their duties. Their tasks are similar but at a level below.
Average salary (US): $57,771
An industrial production manager oversees production and manufacturing in an industrial plant. Their role includes scheduling production and managing budgets, staff, and processes.
Average salary (US): $86,823
A plant manager supervises operations and manufacturing and is responsible for making strategic decisions, managing staff, ensuring safety, and working to achieve production goals.
Average salary (US): $58,240
An operations manager is responsible for the production and daily operations, making business decisions, and working as a senior management team member. They look to improve production processes and may recruit and train staff.
To become a production manager, it’s a good idea to be qualified in all areas, including skills, education, training, experience, and certifications.
A bachelor’s degree is typically the minimum educational requirement to become a production manager, with 62% of managers holding one and 18% holding an associate degree . However, it’s possible to qualify for a position if you have a high school diploma and gained an impressive amount of experience.
Useful bachelor’s degree subjects include business, engineering, industrial management, manufacturing, or similar. Depending on the company and level of responsibilities, some positions may require an MBA. Some schools offer options to complete a production management degree.
On-the-job training is offered, and a new employee will often spend the first months training to learn about the company and job responsibilities.
If you can complete an internship in manufacturing or production, that’ll be helpful to learn the processes and understand the industry.
Experience is necessary in most cases to work in production management, in production and leadership roles. Some work in entry-level positions to gain experience or move across from other leadership positions.
Given the competition for positions, having relevant certifications can boost your resume, and some employers will ask for certain relevant certifications. A range of certifications is available including:
Manufacturing Management Certification (CTME)
Incident Safety Officer - Fire Suppression Certification (ISO)
Certification in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM)
Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence Certification CMQ/OE
Six Sigma Green Belt
Master Project Manager (MPM)
If want to pursue a career in production management, a great place to start is by learning more about the manufacturing management process by taking the Advanced Manufacturing Enterprise course offered by The State University of New York on Coursera. You can also brush up on your leadership skills with the Leading People and Teams Specialization delivered by the University of Michigan.
1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Industrial Production Managers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/industrial-production-managers.htm#tab-1.” Accessed July 12, 2022.
2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Industrial Production Managers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/industrial-production-managers.htm#tab-5.” Accessed July 12, 2022.
3. Zippia. “Production Manager Education Requirements, .” Accessed August 8, 2022.
This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.