Production planners look for ways to improve production processes. They monitor current production levels and provide detailed schedules for the production plant to work to.
Also known as
- Planner, Production
As a Production Planner, you will make sure that products are produced on time and at the lowest possible cost. You carefully work out the best way to use resources, such as staff and materials.
You discuss the proposed production schedule with the Buyers, the Plant Manager, and the Production Manager. Once a plan has been agreed, appropriate sections of the plans and schedules will also go to supervisors of the production departments involved.
Where a company has to compete with other companies to win contracts for more work, the production planner has a central role.
The planner draws up production plans working from information provided by Designers, Draughtspeople, Architects and Engineers. These people provide a list of materials and parts with their drawings and specifications.
The plans are sent to an Estimator who will put a cost to the plans before submitting them. If the company is awarded the contract, you may need to revise schedules to take account of design changes and delays.
Planners use standards developed from past experience within the company to help them estimate how long different activities and processes will take. You also get a good idea of how much time should be allowed for the delivery of different parts from suppliers.
Production Planners are usually based in an office in the planning department. You are usually involved in project meetings. In these meetings, changes may be made to the plans and schedules because of maintenance, staffing or other problems.
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 Production Planner, you'll need to:
- be good at organising your workload
- have maths and IT skills
- be accurate with your work
- have good planning skills
- be a good communicator
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates given below are approximate.
- Starting: £24,500 - £26,500
- With experience: £28,000 - £32,500
- Senior Production Planners earn £35,500 - £39,500
Hours of work
Production Planners usually work 39 hours a week, which may include shift work and work at weekends.
Where could I work?
Employers throughout the UK are manufacturers across a wide range of industries. In some sectors, Production Planners need technical knowledge and qualifications, for example, in engineering.
Opportunities for Production Planners occur with manufacturers in towns and cities throughout the UK.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised on all the major job boards, on Find a Job, and at Jobcentre Plus.
GreenJobs is a job board aimed at people interested in green careers:
Entry Routes and Training
Entry routes vary depending on the size and type of company. Some people enter from a degree, foundation degree, HND or HNC.
You should be able to enter this career with a higher education qualification in most subjects. Courses linked to subjects like manufacturing may be most useful.
A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article '
Occasionally, it may be possible to enter as a Technician or be trained and promoted from craft-level work.
It may also be possible to enter this career following an Advanced Level Apprenticeship in an engineering and manufacturing technologies subject. Take a look at our information article
Training is mainly on-the-job working with experienced Production Planners, with more formal training in business and planning techniques.
The Institute of Operations Management offers a number of relevant courses.
Progression could be to managerial positions, or positions with more supervisory responsibilities.
Previous experience gained in stock control, purchasing or quality assurance can be useful for this career.
Requirements for entry to this work vary but some planners 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
- 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
However, entry requirements for different courses vary, so check university prospectuses for more details.
To start an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, or to have completed an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.
Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.
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.
Knowledge of the production processes of the industry is important, so it is common for people to enter planning positions after working in other occupations, especially in supervisory positions in production.
Skills gained in stock control, purchasing or quality assurance can be useful. A technical background, plus qualifications in production engineering, is normally required.
Experience of production processes and/or related areas, such as quality control or manufacturing engineering, can be important.
Many new entrants are graduates.
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.
It may be possible to enter this career following an Advanced Level Apprenticeship in an Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies subject.
- 5% of people in occupations such as production planner work part-time.
- 16% have flexible hours.
- 4% work on a temporary basis.
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.
National Skills Academy for Food & Drink
Sector Skills Council for the food and drinks industry
Food and drink careers