Manufacturing managers need to understand how things are made. That's because
they oversee the equipment, decide on repairs and upgrades and train employees
on the equipment's use.
Computers are changing this career. That's according to Henry Marschall.
He owns a manufacturing consulting service in Rhode Island.
"The long-term plans of manufacturing organizations are to reduce the human
element. Computer-controlled machinery will become so sophisticated that labor
will be limited to loading and unloading pallets, with the machinery performing
all the elements," says Marschall.
Marschall adds that managers gather records and present information to
upper management about how the facility is operating. They do this to allow
upper management to evaluate the success of the operation.
Managers are always looking for ways to make manufacturing more efficient
and cost-effective. They are responsible for overall safety in the factory
or office, says Marschall.
Manufacturing managers work in many industries. They oversee the production
of cars and trucks, aviation equipment, books, medical supplies, electronics,
furniture, clothing and food products.
Manufacturing management is very closely related to engineering. Many programs
combine the two. Many, if not most, manufacturing managers have a background
Sarah Shohet is the director of admissions and placement of the manufacturing
program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). "I think this
field is for anyone who has an interest in how things are made," she says.
Ann Cross is president of a manufacturing consulting firm. She came into
the field after a teaching career. "The move from teaching is not as strange
as one may think," she says.
"[You are] trying to create an environment conducive to growth, learning
and achievement in both. One tries to set goals and timelines and offer opportunities
to problem solve for individuals and as part of a team."
But you can't stay in your office all the time, warns Marschall. "A manufacturing
manager should always be hands on, always reviewing and troubleshooting the
daily activities of his operations," he says.
"In manufacturing, a manager is not successful or respected if he or she
only spends [time] in his or her office. Manufacturing managers are on-site
resources for answers to any questions presented by his personnel. He or she
should know where to research answers that are not immediately obvious."
A workweek of more than 40 hours is common. And emergencies mean you must
be ready to go at a moment's notice.
"In terms of these types of managing skills, a manager should be an extrovert.
He or she must respect and enjoy people," says Marschall.
Oversee the process of making things