Production Scheduler Job Description
Production schedulers determine and set daily, weekly, and monthly manufacturing schedules in a wide variety of industries. This role requires superior organization and planning skills, since production schedulers examine customer orders, available staff and inventory, and machinery capabilities to effectively set and manage production schedules, often for multiple lines at once.
In addition, production schedulers monitor manufacturing performance and actively adjust schedules in response to equipment failures or supply shortages. They also identify opportunities to make processes more efficient and cut down on production costs through more effective scheduling.
Production Scheduler Duties and Responsibilities
Although production schedulers can work in a variety of industries, these core duties remain consistent in most manufacturing settings:
Develop Production Schedules
The primary responsibility of the production scheduler is determining daily, weekly, or monthly production activities based on a variety of factors. While developing a schedule, the production scheduler may examine work orders or customer requests, expected delivery dates, plant personnel and equipment capabilities, and inventory availability. The production scheduler then balances these elements to create an actionable and efficient production schedule.
Modify Production Schedules
In addition to developing the initial manufacturing schedules, the production scheduler makes adjustments based on changing conditions within the manufacturing pipeline. For example, the production scheduler may have to shift processes due to equipment breakdowns or to compensate for delayed material deliveries. This aspect of the role requires excellent problem-solving skills and adaptability.
Manage Production Resources
Production schedulers play an important role in managing resources, including employees, time, and physical inventories. While managing employees and timelines requires extensive familiarity with the company’s workforce and equipment capabilities, managing physical inventories frequently involves conducting visual and physical counts of inventory levels and parts to help inform schedule development.
Enhance Internal Processes
The production scheduler identifies opportunities to improve the manufacturing or production process through more effective schedule management. In some cases, this can involve introducing lean manufacturing processes to get more done while using fewer resources and less personnel, while in other cases the production scheduler may shift processes to eliminate redundant work or combine activities that overlap.
Prepare Production Reports
Production schedulers also prepare reports outlining production activities and effectiveness. They may provide these reports to plant managers or company leadership, depending on the size of the organization. These reports typically compare expected production levels to actual output, identify areas for improvement, and propose changes to internal processes to enhance production efficiency and support effective manufacturing processes.
Production Scheduler Skills and Qualifications
Production schedulers ensure that manufacturing activities are efficient and timely. Companies tend to hire candidates with inventory management or planning experience and the following skills:
- Mathematics – production schedulers should have strong math skills and be able to make precise calculations about material and staffing needs, production expectations, and manufacturing capabilities
- Planning and organization – this role requires excellent planning and organizational skills, as well as the ability to apply the principles of manufacturing resource planning to daily operations
- Team coordination – the production scheduler makes key decisions to balance personnel scheduling with inventory availability and delivery dates, so they need a talent for effectively coordinating team activities
- Process enhancement experience – production schedulers constantly seek to improve manufacturing processes and enhance efficiency, so some experience with process enhancement is helpful
- Problem-solving skills – this role frequently requires problem-solving skills, as production schedulers need to adapt schedules in response to material shortages, equipment failures, or changes in customer orders
- Communication skills – because the production scheduler works with manufacturing teams as well as administrative personnel and managers, they need strong written and verbal communication skills
Tools of the Trade
Production schedulers tend to work in both office and manufacturing settings, and should be comfortable using standard office equipment and software in addition to:
- Production scheduling software (Protected Flow, IQMS)
Production Scheduler Education and Training
There are no formal education requirements for production schedulers, although some companies prefer to hire candidates with a bachelor’s degree. Applicants with experience in production control, inventory management, or planning will have an advantage when applying for production scheduler positions. There are some opportunities for on-the-job training in this role, especially as the production scheduler learns to use time- and cost-saving technologies and identifies opportunities to improve internal processes.
Production Scheduler Salary and Outlook
Both Glassdoor and PayScale have gathered salary data related to production schedulers. PayScale found that production schedulers earn $52,085 per year on average based on 1,582 reported salaries, while Glassdoor found that workers in this role earn an average annual salary of $57,507 based on 1,265 reported salaries.
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t provide employment outlook information for production schedulers, its findings do indicate that production jobs as a whole will decline 4 percent by 2026.
If you’re interested in a career as a production scheduler, we found several resources on the web where you can learn more about the field:
“How to Optimize Your Production Planning and Scheduling to Save Time and Money” – read this blog post to learn how to enhance production scheduling and efficiency through inventory control, standardization, and training
Master Scheduling: A Practical Guide to Competitive Manufacturing – John F. Proud details how master scheduling helps manufacturers improve production processes and enhance profitability
“Types of Scheduling in Production Planning and Control” – this blog post explains the differences between scheduling practices, highlighting the benefits and potential flaws of some of the most widely used systems
The Fundamentals of Production Planning and Control – author Stephen N. Chapman provides a thorough look at operations management, with a particular focus on production planning and control
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