A production manager is the hub of your team and is responsible for filling orders, meeting deadlines and keeping staff motivated enough to perform well. The process of setting production manager goals is straightforward in the sense that work will need to be completed in time to meet your company's obligations and optimize your sales. It is less straightforward because variables are constantly shifting, and priorities must be re-evaluated on an ongoing basis.
The Role of a Production Manager
The role of a production manager in the manufacturing industry is to oversee all of the practical aspects of operations, from ordering supplies to producing products to fulfilling completed orders. These steps must be coordinated with a deep and thorough understanding of how a company works and what its customers need.
Timelines are especially important because you must have the right quantities of the right materials on hand, and there may be details regarding vendor delivery schedules that can affect your own fulfillment logistics. The production manager should not only know how long it usually takes to receive a shipment from a particular vendor but also which vendors' shipments are most likely to be subject to unpredictable delays.
The production manager must also know how long internal company processes take for the sake of completing tasks on schedule. This can include familiarity with the details of synching parts of the production process and also knowing workers' individual skills for the sake of optimizing performance through targeted scheduling.
Production goals are most effective when they are as specific as possible. This precision will allow your production manager to know just what is expected and when the work needs to be complete and to communicate these expectations to staff and evaluate results once the project is completed.
Quantifiable goals are indispensable for fulfilling orders. If your team produces 80 food processors when you have received an order for 100, you won't be able to deliver to meet customer needs. If the customer has been promised that the food processors will be ready in 14 days and it takes 21 days to complete the order, you'll have a disappointed customer on your hands, and that customer may find another vendor in the future.
Quantifiable goals are also important for improving efficiency and productivity. Your customer probably won't be affected if it takes your production line 12 hours to complete these food processors or if it takes 18 hours as long as those hours are worked within the agreed-upon time frame for delivery. However, it will cost your company more to spend the extra hours on production. Productivity goals should be specific and quantifiable as well so your production manager can evaluate performance and set goals for staff.
Production Goals Examples
- Average units produced per day: By setting a target amount of units to be produced per day, your production manager can work toward consistency and predictability as well as productivity if the goals you set are ambitious.
- Labor cost per unit produced: This goal can help keep your production processes cost effective by emphasizing the number of hours of labor that go into producing each unit. It also addresses the balance between using highly paid and highly skilled workers versus lower-paid workers who may work less efficiently.
- Materials cost per unit produced: This goal can help to assess the levels of waste in your production process. It will likely be an average of materials used over the course of a week or a month rather than materials for each individual unit produced because the latter would require cumbersome accounting and record keeping.
- Reward production employees when they achieve your goals to motivate them to continue the positive trend.
Devra Gartenstein founded her first food business in 1987. In 2013 she transformed her most recent venture, a farmers market concession and catering company, into a worker-owned cooperative. She does one-on-one mentoring and consulting focused on entrepreneurship and practical business skills.