Industrial Production Managers

Quick Facts: Industrial Production Managers
2017 Median Pay $100,580 per year 
$48.36 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation 5 years or more
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2016 170,600
Job Outlook, 2016-26 -1% (Little or no change)
Employment Change, 2016-26 -900

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Industrial Production Management Career, Salary, and Education Information

What Industrial Production Managers Do

Industrial production managers oversee the daily operations of manufacturing and related plants. They coordinate, plan, and direct the activities used to create a wide range of goods, such as cars, computer equipment, or paper products.


industrial production managers

Duties for industrial production managers

Industrial production managers typically do the following:

  • Decide how best to use a plant’s workers and equipment to meet production goals

  • Ensure that production stays on schedule and within budget

  • Hire, train, and evaluate workers

  • Analyze production data

  • Write production reports

  • Monitor a plant’s workers and programs to ensure they meet performance and safety requirements

  • Streamline the production process

  • Determine whether new machines are needed or whether overtime work is necessary

  • Fix any production problems

Industrial production managers, also called plant managers, may oversee an entire manufacturing plant or a specific area of production.

Industrial production managers are responsible for carrying out quality control programs to make sure the finished product meets a specific level of quality. Often called quality control systems managers, these managers use programs to help identify defects in products, identify the cause of the defect, and solve the problem creating it. For example, a manager may determine that a defect is being caused by parts from an outside supplier. The manager can then work with the supplier to improve the quality of the parts.

Industrial production managers work closely with managers from other departments as well. For example, the procurement (buying) department orders the supplies that the production department uses. A breakdown in communication between these two departments can cause production slowdowns. Industrial production managers also communicate with other managers and departments, such as sales, warehousing, finance, and research and design.

Work Environment for industrial production managers

Industrial production managers held about 170,600 jobs in 2016. The largest employers of industrial production managers were as follows:

Transportation equipment manufacturing: 11%

Fabricated metal product manufacturing: 10%

Chemical manufacturing: 8%

Machinery manufacturing: 7%

Food manufacturing: 7%

Industrial production managers split their time between the production area and a nearby office. When they are working in the production area, they may need to wear protective equipment, such as a helmet or safety goggles.

Work Schedules

Most industrial production managers work full time, and almost half worked more than 40 hours per week in 2016. In some facilities, managers work night or weekend shifts and must be on call to deal with emergencies at any time.

How to Become an industrial production manager

Industrial production managers typically need a bachelor’s degree and several years of related work experience.


Employers prefer that industrial production managers have at least a bachelor’s degree. While the degree may be in any field, many industrial production managers have a bachelor’s degree in business administration or industrial engineering. Sometimes, production workers with many years of experience take management classes to become production managers. At large plants, where managers have more oversight responsibilities, employers may look for managers who have a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a graduate degree in industrial management.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Many industrial production managers begin as production workers and move up through the ranks. They usually advance to a first-line supervisory position before eventually becoming an industrial production manager. Most earn a college degree in business management or take company-sponsored classes to increase their chances of a promotion.

Alternatively, a worker who joins a firm immediately after graduating from college may work as first-line supervisor before beginning a job as a production manager.

Some begin working as an industrial production manager directly after college or graduate school. They may spend their first few months in training programs, becoming familiar with the production process, company policies, and safety regulations. In large companies, many also spend short periods of time working in other departments, such as purchasing or accounting, to learn more about the company.

Important Qualities

Interpersonal skills. Industrial production managers must have excellent communication skills so they can work well other managers and with staff.

Leadership skills. To keep the production process running smoothly, industrial production managers must motivate and direct the employees they manage.

Problem-solving skills. Production managers must identify problems immediately and solve them. For example, if a product has a defect, the manager determines whether it is a one-time problem or the result of the production process.

Time-management skills. To meet production deadlines, managers must carefully manage their employees’ time as well as their own.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

While not required, industrial production managers can earn certifications that show a higher level of competency in quality or management systems. The APICS offers a Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) credential. The American Society of Quality (ASQ) offers credentials in quality control. Both certifications require specific amounts of work experience before applying for the credential, so they are generally not earned before entering the occupation.

Salaries for industrial production managers

The median annual wage for industrial production managers was $100,580 in May 2017. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $61,360, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $168,780.


In May 2017, the median annual wages for industrial production managers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Chemical manufacturing: $109,600

Transportation equipment manufacturing: $104,740

Machinery manufacturing: $99,380

Fabricated metal product manufacturing: $94,590

Food manufacturing: $93,380

Most industrial production managers work full time, and almost half worked more than 40 hours per week in 2016.

Job Outlook for industrial production managers

Employment of industrial production managers is projected to show little or no change from 2016 to 2026. Most of these managers are employed in various manufacturing industries, which may see a decrease in overall employment due to increased productivity.

In the past, employment of industrial production managers was less affected by productivity gains because these managers were responsible for coordinating work activities with the goal of increased productivity. However, as facilities adapt to leaner production models that rely more heavily on robotics and other technology, employment of workers and managers may be equally affected.

Some manufacturing jobs are at risk of being outsourced to other countries with lower wages, dampening some employment growth. However, this risk may be reduced by recent trends of “reshoring,” where previously outsourced personnel and services are being brought back to the United States. In addition, some firms are moving jobs to lower-cost regions of the United States rather than foreign countries in a trend referred to as “domestic sourcing.”

Job Prospects

Applicants will likely face strong competition for positions, but those who have several years of experience and a bachelor’s degree in industrial management or business administration should have the best prospects.

Employment projections data for industrial production managers, 2016-26

Employment, 2016: 170,600

Projected Employment, 2026: 169,700

Change, 2016-2026: -1%, -900

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Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Industrial Production Managers,
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