The different production supervisor jobs that are required depend on the specific industry and organizational structure of the business, but can be divided into four main areas of focus. In a production environment, the supervisor is responsible for staffing, quality assurance programs, materials management, and coordination of shipping. These four primary responsibilities are critical to maintaining consistent production, utilizing valuable storage space, and meeting customer needs.
Production supervisor jobs are typically held by candidates with several years’ experience working on the production floor, or graduates of college business management degree programs. In the past 20 years, this job has shifted from primarily a supervisory role to one that requires advanced computer and human resource management skills. Candidates who have not completed a college diploma but have relevant experience might benefit from a short certificate program in management.
Maintaining appropriate staffing levels is a high priority task in most production supervisor jobs. Salary costs typically account for 65 to 70 percent of all departmental budgets. Managing this budget properly increases profitability for the firm, while maintaining a smooth operation on the production floor. The production supervisor is often responsible for interviewing and selecting candidates for different positions, ranging from line working to production mechanic. The ability to select and retain the appropriate staff is critical to the overall operation of the facility.
The quality assurance program in place in a production or manufacturing facility is typically one of the tasks embedded into production supervisor jobs. The role of quality assurance is to test the output on a random basis against the company standards. Quality assurance staff must report any issues to the production supervisor, who can decide to make any adjustments, stop the line, or keep production the same.
Materials management is a term used to describe the timing of materials being ordered and received on the production floor. Delays in the arrival of parts and materials will cause costly production delays, as staff and machines cannot work without the required raw materials. It is the responsibility of the production supervisor to schedule materials to minimize disruption, while balancing the cost of storing the materials on-site.
Shipping the finished product is completed by the shipping department, but the production supervisor is responsible for coordinating communication and timing. He or she must confirm the location of completed orders, have the packages properly labeled, and follow up with the shipping department to ensure that it is sent out on time. Following up to ensure that shipments are not delayed requires cooperation and coordination of these two departments.