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Plant Manager Duties and Responsibilities

A plant manager’s daily duties and responsibilities can vary depending on their employer, but certain core tasks remain the same. Based on our review of job ads, some of these tasks are:

Manage Workers Plant managers hire, train, and assign workers; create and update work and production schedules; and address employee requests, issues, or grievances. They must also ensure that employees follow safety rules and regulations within the facility.

Increase Production Another duty of plant managers is allocating resources effectively and utilizing assets with the goal of increasing production while still maintaining current quality standards.

Monitor Productivity and Reduce Waste Plant managers collect and analyze data to identify potential areas of waste, including unwarranted overtime. Then, they must rectify those issues. They also create systems and processes that track productivity so they can ensure an effective return on assets.

Implement and Monitor Safety Procedures Within a manufacturing or production environment, safety is vital. Plant managers must commit to learning and implementing plant safety procedures, teaching those safety procedures to employees, and monitoring employee compliance with those procedures.

Attend Relevant Training Plant managers are also tasked with keeping up with current best practices and concepts in the plant management industry. They must attend industry training in person or online.


Plant Manager Skills and Qualifications

Plant managers are dedicated to productivity and efficiency while managing a workforce. Employers also seek applicants with these abilities:

  • Organization and planning skills – a plant manager must consistently juggle various tasks such as supervising employees, gathering and analyzing data, holding meetings, and addressing issues. Therefore, above-average organization and planning skills are a necessity
  • Problem-solving skills – because productivity and efficiency are a plant manager’s main goals, troubleshooting roadblocks to those goals is essential
  • Time management – plant managers may be pulled in many different directions throughout the day, so managing time effectively is a core skill
  • Interpersonal skills – as the manager of the facility or department – and as someone who comes into contact with various groups, such as coworkers, employees, and customers – the abilities to speak, listen, and otherwise communicate professionally and with confidence are necessary
  • Leadership skills – when working in a production or manufacturing environment, gaining the trust and respect of employees and motivating them to perform their jobs well is key to meeting efficiency and productivity goals

Plant Manager Education and Training

Based on our review of job ads, most employers require that plant managers have at least a bachelor’s degree. Degrees in business administration or industrial engineering may be preferred, but any type of degree may suffice depending on employer requirements. For large operations, employers may prefer plant managers with a graduate degree in industrial management. It is also possible for production workers to gain experience, excel, and climb the ranks at a company to eventually become a plant manager – but this depends on the company’s desire to promote from within based on merit.


Plant Manager Salary and Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the median annual salary for industrial production managers, also known as plant managers, as $100,580. A plant manager in the 10th percentile earns approximately $61,360 a year, while the highest paid in the field make $168,780 a year. According to the BLS, over 170,600 industrial production managers are employed in the United States. Projected employment growth for this sector is -1 percent through 2026.


Helpful Resources

We searched the web to find some of the best industry resources for plant managers. The following links can help you decide if this is a career path you’d like to pursue:

The International Society of Automation – the ISA was designed to help professionals, such as plant managers, keep their own standards and benchmarks current. The site includes white papers and technical articles from experts in the field, as well as books and tutorials that help plant managers run their facilities more efficiently

On the Plant Floor: A Practical Guide to Daily Leadership in the Manufacturing Factory – written by Bryan D. Geary and Carlton F. Sorrell, this book offers case studies and relatable examples that illustrate successful leadership roles in the manufacturing industry

The 12 Principles of Manufacturing Excellence: A Lean Leader’s Guide to Achieving and Sustaining Excellence – written by Larry E. Fast, this book details a proven process for cultivating a successful company culture through leadership, mentoring, and employee participation

Back to Basics: A Practitioner’s Guide to Operations Excellence written by Douglas Sutton, this guide provides proven tools and strategies needed to reach operations excellence. Case studies are included