CNC Supervisor Job Description
CNC (computer numerical control) supervisors work in manufacturing plants and machine shops, where they oversee and direct teams of CNC machinists and operators. CNC supervisors manage schedules and ensure that work is completed according to expected delivery dates while also troubleshooting and programming CNC machines and identifying opportunities to enhance efficiency.
This role balances team leadership and coordination with a high level of technical knowledge and machine programming skills. CNC supervisors need to develop and enact effective processes for machine shops and manufacturing activities while ensuring safe practices and preventing delays in production.
CNC Supervisor Duties and Responsibilities
While the CNC supervisor’s responsibilities can depend on their specific field, most share several core duties:
Supervise CNC Machinists
The primary duty of a CNC supervisor is directing and overseeing the day-to-day activities of a team of CNC machinists. This aspect of the role involves examining production schedules and deadlines and determining how to best schedule employees and activities to complete jobs safely and efficiently. The CNC supervisor may also provide direct, hands-on support in programming and overseeing CNC machine operation.
Manage Training and Supervision Processes
Most CNC supervisors train new hires on policies and procedures. This can include instruction and direct supervision on programming CNC machines and ensuring that they are operated safely and efficiently. The CNC supervisor may also develop training materials and manuals and periodically oversee employees to make sure they utilize best practices to carry out their duties.
Maintain Plant Safety
CNC supervisors enact and monitor workplace safety measures. They may develop or use checklists or digital reporting methods to conduct machine and personnel inspections, improve reporting and hazard reduction processes, and prepare safety reports for plant managers. CNC supervisors also prepare incident reports and investigate issues if an accident occurs within the plant.
Develop Employee Schedules
CNC supervisors manage employee schedules, often for rotating shifts. This includes maintaining records of employee shifts and hours worked and developing schedules to maintain safety during rotations and adequate personnel levels at all times. In this role, CNC supervisors may also recruit occasional and temporary workers who can be available in case of employee absences.
Prepare Production Records
CNC supervisors compose and maintain production reports and records. These can include daily activity reports, information related to machine issues, and employee evaluations. CNC supervisors may provide these reports to plant managers to enhance productivity, share information related to recurring machine issues, and ensure that workers adhere to production schedules and quotas.
Conduct Troubleshooting and Repair Procedures
Finally, CNC supervisors ensure that machinery works as expected by taking part in troubleshooting and repair activities. This aspect of the role requires extensive familiarity with the machines’ parts and internal processes, as well as a keen understanding of how they work together and specific areas that may contribute to machine stoppages or slowdowns.
CNC Supervisor Skills and Qualifications
CNC supervisors manage manufacturing employees while ensuring that machinery runs safely and efficiently. Companies typically hire applicants with at least a high school diploma and the following skills:
- Team coordination – CNC supervisors direct machine shop employee activities based on workloads and deliverables, so they need to be effective coordinators, leaders, and schedulers
- Specifications and materials oversight – in this role, CNC supervisors also examine specification sheets and other production documents, so they should have some familiarity with ensuring that work is completed according to specifications
- CNC machine operation – CNC machine operation skills are also key for CNC supervisors, since they need to train new hires, work on the manufacturing floor to help meet deadlines, and troubleshoot machinery
- Safety monitoring – in this role, CNC machinists should be familiar with workplace safety procedures and best practices to prevent employee injuries and maintain overall safety from day to day
- Efficiency enhancement – CNC machinists should also constantly seek ways to enhance processes and procedures without sacrificing safety, so familiarity with process enhancements and best practices are also helpful
- Communication skills – effective written and verbal communication skills are also essential in this role, since CNC supervisors need to report to plant managers and interact with machinists
Tools of the Trade
CNC supervisors work in manufacturing, but their focus on CNC machines does require some experience with the following tools:
- Machine programming languages (G-code)
CNC Supervisor Education and Training
Generally, CNC supervisors have at least a high school diploma, although an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in an engineering- or operations-related field can help expand employment opportunities. Companies typically hire CNC supervisors who have significant machine shop and fabrication experience and demonstrate strong leadership skills.
CNC Supervisor Salary and Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) categorizes CNC supervisors as first-line supervisors of production and operating workers. According to the BLS, workers in this role earn a median annual wage of $58,870. The highest-earning 10 percent of workers in this role earn more than $97,380 per year, while the lowest-paid 10 percent earn less than $35,020.
While the BLS does not provide employment outlook information specifically for CNC supervisors, it expects employment for assemblers and fabricators to shrink significantly by 2026, losing 14 percent of jobs.
We searched the web and found many resources if you’d like to learn more about working as a CNC supervisor:
“Best Practices of Top U.S. Shops” – this article highlights best practices for CNC supervisors by focusing on what drives success, efficiency, and safety at shops across the country
CNC Machining Handbook: Building, Programming, and Implementation – read this book for a thorough overview of the CNC process, specific machines, software, and tools
“Put the Focus on Safety in Machine Shops” – this blog post explores machine shop safety, highlighting risks and strategies that a supervisor can implement to mitigate hazards and promote worker safety
Machining Fundamentals – authors John R. Walker and Bob Dixon explore the fundamentals of machine shops and production processes, with an expanded look at CNC machining and helpful illustrations
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