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What does a Plant Manager do?

By Cassie L. Damewood
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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A plant manager oversees all daily operations of a plant. He often is in charge of everything from production and manufacturing to making sure policies and procedures are followed in all departments. Supervising and motivating staff members generally are major parts of the job as well.

The plant’s physical operations generally are the main responsibility of the plant manager. He is required to maintain a clean plant free of safety or health concerns. The production equipment and machinery should be meticulously cared for to avoid lapses in the manufacturing process and to ensure quality control standards are upheld. The manager of the plant may also be required to constantly monitor workers to spot any procedural infractions and correct them in a timely manner.

In addition to managing daily plant functions, the manager may be responsible for creating and following a budget and preparing profit and loss projections. This requires proficiency in math and skills in creating reports and spreadsheets utilizing commercially produced and in-house software programs. The ability to interpret reports and statistics from outside agencies is also an important skill needed by a plant manager.

Having a trustworthy and competent administrative staff in place helps the manager run a productive and profitable facility. From the human resources manager to the person in charge of ordering raw materials for production, the excellence of the supervisorial staff’s performance is often imperative to the overall success of the plant. The plant manager generally relies on these staff members to maintain good employee relations, quality control standards and meet production deadlines. The manager also may attend departmental meetings to personally address and resolve problems.

Making sure his plant has a positive image in the community can be important for company morale. The plant manager may also be required to ensure the plant has a good reputation for respecting the environment and other local businesses. If he has to implement changes in physical operations or labor needs that affect local residents, having neighborhood support can be crucial.

Public relations may also be a large part of a plant manager’s job. He often is the designated spokesperson if the media approaches him on any plant-related issues. The manager might be expected to intelligently and positively represent his plant as well as its goals and employees. If a debate ensues, he may be relied upon to persuasively argue his point of view on issues of importance to his company. Being able to objectively view company as well as community issues significantly helps a person in this position succeed.

A bachelor’s degree in operations management or business administration is strongly preferred for most plant manager positions. Continuing education classes and seminars on project, plant and human resources management are often required once the job is secured. Experience in production, manufacturing or assembly management is considered an asset for plant manager job applicants.

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Discussion Comments
By anon969997 — On Sep 15, 2014

The plant manager doesn't have to get to know each employee. He just needs to make himself available once a week out on the floor, walking the line and asking the employees questions and receiving feedback!

By Sporkasia — On Dec 12, 2013
In regard to what Drentel said, I do not know what the most important role a plant manger plays is. However, the article gives you a good idea of the plant manager job description: overseeing all daily activity within the plant sounds like more than a one man job.

I have never worked in a plant, so this is just my opinion. However, I bet most plant managers have a specific area in which they excel and then they lean on people around them in areas where they need more help.

I think that is the way it works in most managerial positions...

By Animandel — On Dec 12, 2013

I agree with Drentel that a plant operations manager needs to know how to get along with employees, but if the manager is working at a large plant, he probably doesn't even know half the workers, and he definitely doesn't know what motivates each one of them.

Being an effective manager is about delegating responsibility. A manager is only as good as his lieutenants. The various supervisors know more about what makes their employees do a better job. That’s been my experience anyway.

By Drentel — On Dec 11, 2013

The plant manager definition covers many areas, but as someone who has worked in plants, I have to say that the most important job a plant manager has is getting along with his employees and getting the most out of them.

I’m not saying everyone has to like him or her, but not every worker responds to the same type of supervision, so a plant manager has to be able to get the best out each individual employee. And that means treating people differently based on their individual personalities.

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