A detailed explanation of the duties, responsibilities, and education levels of the operations team in a manufacturing facility.
Hello again 👋.
Welcome back to the Roles in Manufacturing series where I am giving you an introduction to the different job roles that exist in manufacturing companies.
In the previous parts of the series, I introduced you to the role of engineers in a manufacturing company.
In this part of the series, we will learn what the operations team does in a manufacturing plant and what training or education is required to work as part of the operations team.
Before we move on, I would 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 talking about the operations team in manufacturing facilities.
The Operations Manager, also known as the Production Manager, is in charge of the operations team. This person is responsible for overseeing the manufacturing process in a factory and ensuring that all of the production lines are running smoothly and efficiently.
The Operations Manager works closely with supervisors and maintenance staff. Together, they set targets for production and quality and plan work to meet those targets.
The rest of the operations team supports the Operations Manager.
The operations team is responsible for collecting and analyzing production data and managing productivity improvement projects to improve the factory’s operation.
Very often, the operations team is the decision-makers and budget owners for improvement projects. Together with the engineering team, the operations team review project proposals and select the projects that they think will produce the best return on investment to execute.
The operations team is a data-driven team and their KPIs are generally related to improvements in a factory’s productivity.
The operations team tracks metrics about the factory’s operation and compares these metrics to the factory’s historical performance and with industry standards.
Since there is such an emphasis on metrics in the operations team, their KPIs usually revolve around improvements in the metrics that they track. Many factories are expected to make productivity improvements every year and the operations team is largely responsible for achieving those goals.
The education of the operations team is varied.
Members of the operations team may be college educated but be less technical than engineers. For this reason, you are more likely to find an operations person with a degree in business or finance than engineering.
Since operations people are expected to have an intimate knowledge of the factory and processes that they are studying, it is also quite common to find operations staff who have worked their way up from the shop floor. These members of the team may not have a degree and instead learned through craft through on-the-job training and internal training programs.
In this post, I introduced you to the operations manager and operations team in a manufacturing facility as part of my Roles in Manufacturing series.
I explained what the operations team does, what their KPIs are, and what education and training are usually required to get a job as an operations manager or member of the operations team.
In the next part of the series, I’ll introduce you to the quality team. These are the people who are responsible for the quality of the products produced in a manufacturing process in a facility.
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