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What is a Production Supervisor?

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A Production Supervisor is the person directly responsible for overseeing and organising the equipment, staff and processes on a production floor. They will oversee scheduling and routine production activities as well as acting as first-line troubleshooting should problems arise.

What is Production Supervision?

Production Supervision is the first-line management of a production team. It is primarily concerned with keeping a production line operational and maintaining the ongoing production of the end product. Production should be maximised while quality and staff safety are maintained.

Production Supervision will typically involve management of production staff as well as first-line troubleshooting of equipment and processes within the manufacturing facility.

What Does a Production Supervisor do?

Much of a production supervisor’s time will be spent directly with the production team. In addition they will have office-based duties to complete. In pharmaceutical or medical device manufacturing, maintaining product quality is paramount.

The specific duties of a production supervisor will change depending on the product and the method of production but, in general, responsibilities may include:

  • Planning the production schedule
  • Management of the production team – including hiring, appraising, training and disciplining when necessary
  • Assigns production tasks to team members taking account of production needs and individual capabilities
  • Collects data and compiles reports about production
  • Ensures all documentation necessary for regulatory compliance is completed accurately
  • Troubleshoots issues with equipment or machinery
  • Conduct reviews of the production processes to try to identify areas for improvements
  • Ensure production processes are being carried out in line with company and regulatory requirements
  • Ensures production team has access to all relevant raw materials and equipment – ensure smooth running of production
  • Will work with specialist teams (such as validation or quality) to ensure that production team and equipment are fully compliant and up-to-date with training
  • Ensuring production downtime is kept to a minimum

Becoming a Production Supervisor

Production Supervisors will typically have several years experience in production – usually within the same industry (this is especially true in highly regulated industries such as pharmaceutical or medical device manufacturing). While school level qualifications may be enough when coupled with strong employment experience, preference might well be given to candidates who have a higher level of education (especially in science, engineering or business).

The skills needed to be an effective production supervisor include:

  • Organisational Skills – for tasks such as planning the production schedule and making sure all necessary materials and equipment are available to the production team when needed
  • Problem Solving Abilities – needs to be able to quickly assess production issues and establish the best course of action
  • Analytical Skills – must be able to spot problems within the manufacturing process quickly and take appropriate action to rectify. Also responsible for ensuring that the production team has access to all the necessary skills and equipment at the appropriate times
  • Time Management – has to ensure that their production team is working in the most time-efficient way and with the least downtime possible, to maintain production output while still maintaining staff safety and product quality
  • Decision Making Abilities – must be able to make decisions quickly, under pressure, after careful assessment of all available information
  • Communication Skills – has to be able to clearly and concisely deliver instructions to the production team. Must also be able to deal with team-management issues quickly and effectively

Switch to Production Supervision in the Pharmaceutical Industry

If you are already a Production Supervisor and are interested in working within the pharmaceutical industry, take the first step with our eBioPharmaChem programme. This is a 30 week, academically accredited, conversion certificate course.

For a list of currently available Production Supervisor roles within pharmaceutical manufacturing, head to our jobs boards and select Production/Manufacturing in the “Jobs by Category” menu. We currently have jobs boards for Ireland, the UK, Philadelphia, USA.

How Much do Production Supervisors Earn?

For information on typical salaries for production supervisors, check out our Salaries Page.

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