What Does a Line Supervisor Do?
The term "line supervisor" usually refers to an employee in a manufacturing facility responsible for overseeing the operation of an assembly or production line. Responsibilities generally include ensuring that all workers are doing their jobs correctly, that machinery is operating up to par and that production quotas are met. The line supervisor must also ensure that all safety measures are implemented correctly and followed. Depending on the plant, the supervisor may operate in a solely managerial capacity or he may also be personally responsible for a station on the line.
Most plants have several "lines," each responsible for a component of the manufacturing or assembly process. For example, one assembly line might be responsible for packaging. Stations might include one to place the product in a plastic clamshell, one to seal the clamshell, one to apply the label and one to place the packaged product into a case pack. A different line might be responsible for quality control. Other lines might be responsible for manufacturing specific components of the product or for putting together various assemblies.
Each such line will typically have a line supervisor who is responsible for the overall performance of her line. Personnel management generally is a main component of her duties. This includes ensuring that employees arrive on time and begin their shifts promptly, and that they leave for and return from breaks on time. In companies sensitive to overtime, it might also mean ensuring that employees clock out and leave on time as well. Supervisors might have to give written or verbal warnings to habitually late or absent employees.
A line supervisor must also pay close attention to the operation of machinery on the line. This means checking periodically to ensure that the machine is doing its job correctly and safely. It can also mean monitoring and recording the hours of operation and calling technicians to repair malfunctioning machines.
Production quotas are another factor of line supervisor responsibility. Most companies analyze each line to determine how much can be safely produced within a given period. If the line produces less than its quota, the supervisor will check to see that all employees and machines are working at the correct speed. If a line over-produces, the line supervisor will check to ensure that all safety precautions and quality requirements are being observed.
Safety is another line supervisor concern. Each line and plant has a set of safety regulations meant to protect the workers and the equipment. This might include mandatory breaks and the required use of eye protection or gloves. The supervisor is responsible for ensuring that all employees obey safety regulations and for reporting violations and injuries on the line.
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