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  • Two men and a woman, wearing white protective suits and hairnets, are standing, talking.  They are all looking at a sheet of paper.

    Production managers organise staff and other resources in manufacturing companies.

  • A man is sitting at a desk, using a telephone and looking at a sheet of paper.

    Production managers must have good communication skills to liaise between management and other staff.

  • A man, wearing a white protective suit and a hairnet, is standing in a factory, operating a piece of machinery.

    Testing and calibrating machinery on the shop floor.

  • A man, wearing a suit and tie, is standing by a bookshelf.  He is reading a book.

    Part of their job is to research new technology that can be used to make production processes more efficient.

  • A man, wearing a suit and tie, is sitting at a desk.  He is using a computer.

    Production managers use computers to plan new or improved production processes.

  • Product Manager

Product Manager

Introduction

As a Product Manager, you will be planning and organising employees to make the best use of their time and skills. It will mean that the production line will be running as smooth as possible.

Also known as

  • Factory Manager
  • Manufacturing Production Manager
  • Operations Manager

Video: - Tim: Workshop Manager

Video: - Stephen: Production Manager

Video: - James: Production Manager

Work Activities

As a Product Manager, you will be making the best use of your employees' skills and time to make the production line as efficient as possible. You will also be responsible for making sure that your orders are completed on time.

You will be also act as a link to the Shop Floor Managers and Senior Management. This means that you will be ensuring that everything on the production line runs as smoothly as possible. This includes supervising staff and dealing with machine failures and breakdowns.

Stock control is something that Product Managers will have to oversee – you will have to make sure that there is enough stock to finish the orders!

You will also be responsible for ensuring all employees safety. This includes giving health and safety procedures and training.

When planning future production, Product Managers have to think about the following factors:

  • the cost of raw materials
  • new product designs
  • appropriate machinery and processes
  • anticipated staffing levels
  • technological developments

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Product Manager, you'll need:

  • good communication skills, as it is essential that you can persuade and influence people
  • writing ability, as you'll have to prepare clear and concise reports
  • maths and IT skills
  • to be able to work effectively under pressure, as there are often tight production deadlines
  • good problem-solving skills

Understanding the techniques and processes of specific industries is important as employers may prefer to recruit people with technical skills. In some sectors, Product Managers need technical knowledge and qualifications, such as in engineering.

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £31,000 - £35,000
  • With experience: £39,000 - £48,500
  • Senior Product Managers earn £55,000 - £65,000

Hours of work

Product Managers usually work 39 hours a week, which may include shift work and work at weekends.

Where could I work?

Employers are manufacturers across a wide range of industries.

Opportunities for Product Managers occur with manufacturers in towns and cities throughout the UK.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, on recruitment and employers' websites, and on Find a Job (www.gov.uk/jobsearch).

Social media websites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, are a great way to network, find vacancies and get in contact with possible employers. Make sure that your profile presents you in a professional manner that will appeal to potential employers.

Take a look at our General Information Article 'Finding Work Online'.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

Entry routes vary considerably depending on the particular industry, individual company policy, and the degree of responsibility given to the Production Manager.

Most Product Manager traineeships are open only to graduates. However, it is sometimes possible for people to work their way up, from lower level positions, within a company.

An Advanced or Higher Level Apprenticeship is a great place to start. Take a look at our information article 'Apprenticeships – How do I apply', for more details about applying for apprenticeship positions.

For people taking the academic route, useful degree subject areas include:

  • biochemistry
  • business management
  • chemistry
  • electrical and electronic engineering
  • food science
  • mechanical engineering
  • transport or distribution

A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article 'Internships', for more details.

Some posts may be open to you if you have A levels, or a BTEC level 3 qualification.

Many people work in other areas of manufacturing before moving into product management.

Training

Most companies will run induction programmes for new staff. A lot of your training will be on-the-job and will include learning about things like production processes and the requirements of your role.

The Institute of Operations Management offers a number of relevant training courses.

A course that the Institute of Operations Management offers is the logistics learning alliance introductory course. This is aimed at people who are new to the industry and you will learn about:

  • what production planning is
  • why production planning is important
  • how production planning works
  • measuring production planning performance
  • how production can be improved

By the end of the course, you would have learnt all the principles, problem solving tools and practising continuous improvement. This qualification will really make you stand out from the crowd!

Work Experience

Previous experience in an industrial environment will be really useful for this career. This could include working as a Production Assistant/Supervisor. Skills gained in production processes and/or related areas, such as quality control or manufacturing engineering, can be helpful.

Progression

Progression will be to senior positions within a company. Some people in this career move into consultancy.

Qualifications

Requirements for entry to this career vary, but some Production Managers have a degree, HND/HNC or foundation degree.

For entry to a degree course in any subject, the usual minimum requirement is:

  • 2/3 A levels in relevant subjects such as engineering or maths
  • GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in your A level subjects
  • a further 2/3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English and maths

Other qualifications are often acceptable as alternatives to A levels, for example:

  • BTEC level 3 qualifications
  • the International Baccalaureate Diploma

To get onto an Advanced or Higher Level Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least five GCSEs at A*- C or 9 - 4, including English and maths, and possibly two A Levels.

Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Skills/experience

Working as a production assistant/supervisor can lead on to entry into trainee/junior management-level posts.

Skills gained in production processes and/or related areas, such as quality control or manufacturing engineering, can be useful.

Courses

If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course could be the way in. No formal qualifications are usually required, but you should check individual course details.

The Institute of Operations Management offers Certificates, Diplomas, and Advanced Diplomas in Operations Management, via distance learning. Details of course providers are available on its website.

Relevant Advanced Level Apprenticeships are available.

Statistics

  • 6% work part-time.
  • 13% have flexible hours.
  • 1% work on a temporary basis.

Further Information

Professional institutionsProfessional institutions have the following roles:

  • To support their members.
  • To protect the public by keeping standards high in their professions.

For more information on the institution(s) relevant to this career, check out the contacts below.

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

National Skills Academy for Food & Drink

Sector Skills Council for the food and drinks industry

Email: info@nsafd.co.uk

Website: www.improveltd.co.uk

Tasty Careers

Food and drink careers

Email: info@tastycareers.org.uk

Website: tastycareers.org.uk

Institute of Operations Management (IOM)

Address: Earlstrees Court, Earlstrees Road, Corby, Northamptonshire NN17 4AX

Tel: 01536 740105

Website: www.iomnet.org.uk

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

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