Production Manager (Manufacturing)

The Job and What's Involved

Production managers make sure that manufacturing processes run smoothly, are cost-effective and deliver products on time. As a production manager, you could work in all types of manufacturing, for example:

- Vehicle assembly
- Brewing
- Pharmaceuticals

Your work would cover the three main areas of the production process:

Planning – preparing an order, setting quality standards and estimating timescales and costs.

Control – monitoring production schedules and adjusting them if problems occur.

Supervision – managing the production line, organising staff, and making sure targets are met.

You would also put together production reports for factory managers and clients.

You would work closely with maintenance technicians, company buyers, suppliers, quality control, training departments, and health and safety managers.

You could expect to work 37 to 40 hours a week. This may involve shiftwork or on-call duties to deal with out-of-hours problems.

Although you would have your own office, you would spend a lot of your time on the factory floor, discussing day-to-day issues with supervisory staff and workers. You would wear protective clothing in production areas.

Starting salaries can be between £18,000 and £24,000 a year. Average salaries fall between £25,000 and £40,000.

Managers with overall responsibility for production can earn over £45,000.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

One way of getting into this career is to start as a production operative in a manufacturing company. You could then work your way up to team leader and into production management.

You may be able to get into production manufacturing work through a manufacturing Apprenticeship scheme. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers.

Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.

Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at

There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For further information visit My World of Work, Careers Wales; and for Northern Ireland contact

Typical employers include pharmaceutical companies, automotive manufacturers and suppliers, food processing companies and engineering firms.

Education and Training

Another way to enter this career is to complete a foundation degree, BTEC HNC/HND or degree in manufacturing, and then apply to a company's management training scheme.

Manufacturing courses at universities often specialise in a particular industry, for instance food processing or pharmaceuticals.

To search for colleges and universities offering foundation degrees, HNDs and degrees, visit the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) website.

You may still get on to a management training scheme without qualifications, if you can show you have previous management experience.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

As a trainee production manager, you would learn mainly on the job training, working alongside experienced staff. A structured management training scheme would allow you to gain experience in various departments, getting to know their working methods and procedures and gradually taking on more responsibility.

You could work towards one or more of the following qualifications:

  • NVQ Certificate Level 3 in Management.
  • NVQ Diploma levels 5 and 7 in Management.
  • NVQ Diploma levels 2-4 in Business Improvement Techniques.
  • Institute of Operations Management (IOM) Certificate and Diploma in Operations Management.
  • Chartered Management Institute (CMI) Awards, Certificates and Diplomas.
  • Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) qualifications levels 2 to 7.

You may find it useful to gain a qualification in quality management, such as the Chartered Quality Institute (CQI) Certificate and/or Diploma in Quality Management. It could also be helpful to become familiar with any national and international quality standards for your industry. Visit the British Standards Institution (BSI) website for more information.

Knowledge of quality management methodologies such as Lean and Six Sigma could be useful.

Most of these organisations also offer a range of short training courses, some of which are available by distance learning. For more details, visit the websites for Chartered Management Institute (CMI), Institute of Operations Management (IOM), Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) and Chartered Quality Institute (CQI).

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A production manager (manufacturing) needs:

  • Good project management skills.
  • The ability to communicate clearly with staff at all levels.
  • Good presentation skills.
  • Maths and IT skills.
  • Good problem-solving skills.
  • An understanding of manufacturing processes.
  • Knowledge of manufacturing quality standards.
  • The ability to make effective decisions under pressure.
  • The ability to work to deadlines.
  • A willingness to work flexibly.
  • An understanding of health and safety.

Your Long Term Prospects

With experience, you could move into overall factory management or strategic planning roles at regional or national level.

If you work for a large national or international company, you may have the opportunity to work overseas.

Get Further Information

Chartered Management Institute (CMI),
Management House, Cottingham Road,
Corby, Northants NN17 1TT
Tel: 01536 204222

Institute of Operations Management (IOM),
Earlstrees Court, Earlstrees Road, Corby,
Northants NN17 4AX
Tel: 01536 740105

Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM),
Stowe House, Netherstowe, Lichfield,
Staffordshire WS13 6TJ
Tel: 01543 266867

The Manufacturing Institute, Quay West,
Trafford Wharf Road, Manchester M17 1HH
Tel: 0161 872 0393

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