Companies want to ensure they produce the right amounts of manufactured goods. Companies that do not produce enough products risk having their customers purchase products from competitors. However, an overproduction of products can lead to waste associated with operating factories at full capacity and can also cause manufacturers to lose money when they have to discount outdated products. As a result, manufacturing planners—also known as production planners—are often hired to create production schedules that are ideal.
Manufacturing planners determine how goods will be produced at a manufacturing facility. Plans are based partially on sales forecasts. Manufacturing planners perform market research and also take into consideration any shortages that have occurred in stores that carry manufactured goods. The manufacturing planners also must take into consideration the costs of production to determine how the company’s resources can be used the most productively. The production planner determines how many materials will be needed for the production and also determines the amount of manpower needed, according to Microsoft. Inventories need to be checked on a regular basis in order to ensure production facilities have enough resources. The production planner arrives to solve problems related to production planning whenever requested, such as deviations in purchase orders.
Manufacturing planners often have to travel to production facility plants in order to inspect processes. They also have to travel to weekly meetings, according to ACCO Brands. When visiting production facilities, these workers can potentially be exposed to the same hazards that other workers are exposed to, such as heat and noise.
At least a high school diploma is needed in order to become a manufacturing planner. In many cases, a bachelor’s degree is needed, according to ACCO Brands. Many manufacturing planners are trained on the job. However, companies usually prefer that these workers have computer skills. They also are often expected to have good communication skills in order to articulate changes made in company policy, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The growth rate of manufacturing planners is expected to be 2 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While the manufacturing industry overall is declining and many workers are being replaced with machines, the manufacturing planner position usually cannot be automated. These planners are needed because there is an increasing emphasis placed on products being produced on time.
Payscale.com reports that production planners earned between $12.52 and $29.86 an hour in 2010. These workers can earn between $37,625 and $70,026 annually.