Production supervisors manage the production operations in manufacturing and other industrial environments. They have staff management and production responsibilities that require communication and analytical skill to keep production efforts moving effectively.
Production supervisors are site managers that plan, direct and coordinate the production activities in the manufacturing industry. For successful production, supervisors must ensure product output and quality meet established goals while remaining on budget. Production supervisors may oversee production for an entire plant or just one area, depending on size. (See Reference 1)
The production supervisor’s duties include planning and coordinating the work activities of staff, adjusting work assignments to meet targeted goals and actively recruiting and hiring additional employees to ensure a fluid production environment. Production supervisors conduct conflict resolution, performance appraisals and new staff orientation. (See Reference 2)
To keep production consistent, production supervisors establish and monitor the methods used to produce items. They often implement policies and procedures and direct production operation, which require an understanding of the equipment and tools used in the production setting. In the event more materials or personnel are required, the production supervisor makes budgetary recommendations. (See Reference 3)
Production supervisors are responsible for establishing production standards through the implementation of quality control programs. In the production process, the finished product is reviewed to ensure it meets accepted quality standards. If there are issues, the production supervisor is tasked with reviewing the process to determine the problem and the solution. The production supervisor may use advanced tools and methods to institute quality control issues including ISO 9000, Total Quality Management (TQM) or Six Sigma. (See Reference 1)
Industrial production management usually requires a college degree in business administration, management, industrial technology or industrial engineering. For larger plants and manufacturers, a general degree is usually required. For smaller production operations, production supervisors may move into their function after a production career that affords them intimate knowledge of the production process.