At a factory or manufacturing plant, a production planner oversees operations and implements new industrial techniques. He or she meets with factory workers and examines efficiency reports to see if new equipment, labor, or systems should be implemented to boost production. A production planner’s job is critical to keeping costs low, productivity high, and laborers satisfied with their jobs.
A production planner’s specific job responsibilities vary depending on the size and scope of a company’s production department. Smaller factory planners typically spend the majority of their time on the factory floor, talking to workers and inspecting equipment and progress. They frequently seek employee input on ways to boost productivity, which could include more frequent assembly line rotations or the installation of more modern robotic assembly equipment. Larger companies’ production planners spend more time in their offices, relying on the reports of planning clerks to assess the efficacy of current production strategies.
To do a good job, a production planner needs a specific set of character traits and technical skills, regardless of the setting. A professional must be able to spot minor inconsistencies in reports and make critical decisions about strategy shifts and equipment purchases. He or she will also require strong communication and leadership skills in order to train workers on new systems and explain why production changes are being made. A planner’s computer skills are also required, as they frequently collaborate with engineers to design and test simulations of novel production strategies. He or she may also be expected to produce electronic reports, graphs, and presentations for management.
The requirements for becoming a production planner vary depending on the industry and the employer. Many employers prefer planners with bachelor’s degrees in business administration, economics, or a related field. For work in a sophisticated factory, such as an aeronautics firm or a chemical manufacturing plant, an engineering degree may be required. After several years of experience and demonstrating strong leadership and organizational skills, machinists or assembly line workers can advance to production planner jobs in some settings.
Production planners who excel at their jobs may be rewarded with opportunities for advancement. Many planners advance to the position of lead supervisor, overseeing the work of managers from various divisions within their companies. An individual with sufficient experience and a graduate degree may be able to advance to the position of chief operating officer and make final policy decisions.