Roles in Manufacturing: Introduction

An introduction to the most common job roles available in the manufacturing industry.

Hello again đź‘‹.

In my last series of posts, I introduced you to the manufacturing workflow. This series of posts explained how a typical company manufactures a product. If you missed it, you can check that series out here.

Now that we understand what a manufacturing company does, I would like to explain who is involved in manufacturing processes.

In this series, I’ll introduce you to the roles involved in manufacturing and industrial automation. By the end of the series, you will be able to list the most common job roles in manufacturing and explain the typical responsibilities of the people occupying those roles.

Before we move on, I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself to anyone who might be new to the blog.

My name is Ken Bourke and I have worked as an automation professional for almost a decade. During this time, I have worked on large global projects in different industries around the world.

In the last year, I have started producing content online to share my knowledge through free blog posts and free or very reasonably priced courses.

If you get some value out of this post then consider checking out my courses, joining the mailing list using the form at the bottom of this page, or, if you’re feeling very generous, buying me a coffee using the Buy Me a Coffee widget on this page.

With that bit of shameless self-promotion out of the way, let’s get back to learning about job roles in industrial automation.

Job Roles in Manufacturing

There are many careers available for people who want to work in the manufacturing industry. In a factory that is producing a product, some common job titles include;

  • operator,
  • maintenance staff,
  • engineers,
  • operations manager,
  • quality assurance,
  • environment, health, and safety (EH&S), and
  • plant management

In this series, I will explain what education and training are required to work in one of these roles and what responsibilities and KPIs a person with one of these titles has. Keep in mind that this information is based on my experience — the actual requirements and responsibilities for a role will vary from place to place and company to company.

Before we talk about these job roles, I want to quickly explain what a KPI is in case the term is new to you.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Key Performance Indicators are important metrics that indicate how well a person or process is performing. Some examples of KPIs that you might encounter in the manufacturing industry include the number of units produced per shift and the number of defects per million parts produced.

KPIs are tracked in real-time to understand how a person or process is performing right now. KPI results are also stored so that they can be compared to historical and industry-standard results. In this way, a manufacturing company can understand if their people and processes are improving and how their performance compares to other companies in the same industry.

KPIs are very important to manufacturing companies. For this reason, it is very common to see KPI data printed and posted on a bulletin board in high-traffic areas for everyone to see.

Typically, each person in a manufacturing company is assigned a set of KPIs based on their role. This person’s performance is judged based on the results of their KPIs. So, if we understand the KPIs that are assigned to a certain role, we can easily understand the responsibilities a person working in that role has.

Wrap Up

In this post, I introduced you to my Roles in Manufacturing series.

I explained that this series will introduce you to the different roles that you may encounter while working in the manufacturing industry including operators, maintenance staff, engineers, operations, quality assurance, environment, health, and safety (EH&S), and plant management.

As well as introducing these roles, I will explain the main responsibilities and KPIs that people working these roles have.

In the next part of the series, I’ll introduce you to operators. These are the people who work on the shop floor and operate the machines used to produce products in a factory.

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