Carl Pollard is a production manager at an automotive spring manufacturer in Sheffield. The company designs and manufactures suspension springs for heavy commercial vehicles.
What does your job involve?
We manufacture specialist springs, air springs and antiroll bars. As production manager, I install and commission process plants. I conduct machine safety assessments, monitor the quality and reliability of the machines, and design and manufacture jigs and tools. I also calculate and issue various forms of graphical analysis of day-to-day production data, which is used by various management teams.
Do you have a typical day?
Most of my days are full of surprises! In managing the project, I have to keep in contact with team leaders and constantly check on the condition of the plant. I must be aware of any forthcoming problems that may disrupt the production process and have plans to solve them. In fact, I spend most of my time sorting out problems on various production issues.
What equipment do you use?
Most of my equipment is computer based and I use all the main office and presentation packages. I also work on computer-aided design (CAD) software to finalise plant layouts or design tools. I use specialist software to analyse daily production data and to monitor and predict plant performance.
How did you enter this area of work?
I worked as a trainee engineer at a pulp factory and progressed into the steel industry. Every time I have started a new role I have received on-the-job training relevant to the job role.
Why did you choose this type of work?
It is full of challenges! There is always something new to do and a problem to solve. I have always been a hands-on, technically-minded person, and that is important in this role.
What do you like best about your job?
There is no routine work involved – every day brings new challenges. There is always a better way of doing a job and it gives me great pleasure to see operatives working more efficiently on the production line as a result of improvements that I have made.
What are the skills and qualities needed?
You need to have strong technical ability and an eye for detail. However, the most important quality in a manufacturing environment is to be a team player.
What are your long-term career goals?
Eventually, I would like to work as a manager for a large automotive company.
Carl's route to becoming a production manager
- A levels.
- Degree in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering.
- Masters Degree in Engineering (Advanced Manufacturing).
- Work hard and complete all the certification that you require in order to get the job.
- Always plan your work before you take on any project.
- Manufacturing production planner
- Mechanical engineer
- Production engineer
- Quality control inspector
- Supervisor/team leader
Salary of a production manager
- Salaries for production managers vary depending on the type and size of the employer.
- Starting pay could be between £18,000 and £23,000.
- The average salary with experience is around £35,000.
- Some managers earn more than £50,000.
- Many managers have gained experience in relevant production jobs beforehand. Apprenticeships may be available for those seeking this route.
- To start as a trainee manager without experience usually requires a degree, or, sometimes, an HNC/HND in a relevant subject, such as mechanical engineering, although this will depend on what the company manufactures. Other relevant subjects include business studies, science and technology.
- Some employers prefer people with a management qualification, such as the Institute of Operations Management Level 4 Diploma.
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