Industrial Production Managers

Career, Salary and Education Information

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What Industrial Production Managers Do[About this section] [To Top]

Industrial production managers oversee the daily operations of manufacturing and related plants. They coordinate, plan, and direct the activities used to create a wide range of goods, such as cars, computer equipment, or paper products.

Duties of Industrial Production Managers

Industrial production managers typically do the following:

  • Decide how best to use a plant’s workers and equipment to meet production goals
  • Ensure that production stays on schedule and within budget
  • Hire, train, and evaluate workers
  • Analyze production data
  • Write production reports
  • Monitor a plant’s workers to ensure they meet performance and safety requirements
  • Streamline the production process
  • Determine whether new machines are needed or whether overtime work is necessary
  • Fix any production problems

Industrial production managers, also called plant managers, may oversee an entire manufacturing plant or a specific area of production.

Industrial production managers are responsible for carrying out quality control programs to make sure the finished product meets a specific level of quality. Often called quality control systems managers, these managers use programs to help identify defects in products, identify the cause of the defect, and solve the problem creating it. For example, a manager may determine that a defect is being caused by parts from an outside supplier. The manager can then work with the supplier to improve the quality of the parts.

Industrial production managers work closely with managers from other departments as well. For example, the procurement (buying) department orders the supplies that the production department uses. A breakdown in communication between these two departments can cause production slowdowns. Industrial production managers also communicate with other managers and departments, such as sales, warehousing, and research and design.

Work Environment for Industrial Production Managers[About this section] [To Top]

Industrial production managers hold about 173,400 jobs. The industries that employ the most industrial production managers are as follows:

Fabricated metal product manufacturing 11%
Transportation equipment manufacturing 10
Chemical manufacturing 8
Machinery manufacturing 8
Food manufacturing 7

Industrial production managers split their time between the production area and a nearby office. When they are working in the production area, they may need to wear protective equipment such as a helmet or safety goggles.

Industrial Production Manager Work Schedules

Most industrial production managers work full time, and almost half worked more than 40 hours per week. In some facilities, managers work night or weekend shifts and must be on call to deal with emergencies at any time.

How to Become an Industrial Production Manager[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Industrial Production Managers near you!

Industrial production managers typically need a bachelor’s degree and several years of related work experience.

Industrial Production Manager Education

Employers prefer managers have at least a bachelor’s degree. While the degree may be in any field, many industrial production managers have a bachelor’s degree in business administration or industrial engineering. Sometimes, production workers with many years of experience take management classes and become a production manager. At large plants, where managers have more oversight responsibilities, employers may look for managers who have a Master's of Business Administration (MBA) or a graduate degree in industrial management.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Many industrial production managers begin as production workers and move up through the ranks. They usually advance to a first-line supervisory position before eventually being selected for management. Most earn a college degree in business management or take company-sponsored classes to increase their chances of a promotion.

Production managers who join a firm immediately after graduating from college sometimes work as first-line supervisors before beginning their jobs as production managers.

Some managers begin working at a company directly after college or graduate school. They may spend their first few months in training programs, becoming familiar with the production process, company policies, and safety regulations. In large companies, many also spend short periods of time working in other departments, such as purchasing or accounting, to learn more about the company.

Important Qualities for Industrial Production Managers

Interpersonal skills. Industrial production managers must have excellent communication skills so they can work with managers from other departments, as well as with the company’s senior-level management.

Leadership skills. To keep the production process running smoothly, industrial production managers must motivate and direct the employees they manage.

Problem-solving skills. Production managers must be able to identify problems immediately and solve them. For example, if a product has a defect, the manager determines whether it is a onetime problem or the result of the production process.

Time-management skills. To meet production deadlines, managers must carefully manage their employees’ time as well as their own.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

While not required, industrial production managers can earn certifications that show a higher level of competency in quality or management systems. The Association for Operations Management offers a Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) credential. The American Society for Quality offers credentials in quality control. Both certifications require specific amounts of work experience before applying for the credential, so they are generally not earned before entering the occupation.

Industrial Production Manager Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for industrial production managers is $93,940. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $56,640, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $162,240.

The median annual wages for industrial production managers in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Chemical manufacturing $100,830
Transportation equipment manufacturing 98,920
Machinery manufacturing 93,640
Fabricated metal product manufacturing 86,170
Food manufacturing 86,020

Most industrial production managers work full time, and almost half work more than 40 hours per week.

Job Outlook for Industrial Production Managers[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of industrial production managers is projected to decline 4 percent over the next ten years. Most of these managers are employed in various manufacturing industries, which may see a decrease in overall employment due to increased productivity. In the past, employment of industrial production managers was less affected by productivity gains, since these managers were responsible for coordinating work activities with the goal of increased productivity. However, as facilities adapt to this new, leaner production model, employment of workers and managers should be equally affected by productivity increases.

Some manufacturing jobs are at risk of being outsourced to other countries with lower wages, dampening some employment growth. However, this risk may be reduced by recent trends of “reshoring,” where previously outsourced personnel and services are being brought back to the United States. In addition, some firms are moving jobs to lower cost regions of the United States rather than foreign countries in a trend referred to as “domestic sourcing.”

Industrial Production Managers Job Prospects

Applicants will likely face strong competition for positions, but those who have several years of experience and a bachelor’s degree in industrial management or business administration should have the best prospects.

Employment projections data for Industrial Production Managers, 2014-24
Occupational Title Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24
Percent Numeric
Industrial production managers 173,400 167,000 -4 -6,300


*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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