Production Manager

Production Managers or Production Engineers do the planning, organisation, coordination and control of production. They must endeavour to produce as much as possible at the lowest possible cost. Their activities include the anticipation of production, factory layout, the drawing up of a production plan and quality standards.

Production managers are responsible for the effective managing of organisations’ production line to ensure that the highest production standards, at the lowest costs, are maintained.

Responsibilities of the job include planning and organising production schedules, assessing project and resources requirements, estimating, negotiating and agreeing budgets and timescales with clients and managers, determining quality control standards, overseeing production processes, re-negotiating timescales or schedules as necessary, selecting, ordering and purchasing materials, organising the repair and routine maintenance of production equipment, liaison with buyers, marketing and sales staff and supervising the work of junior staff.

In larger companies there may be close links between production management and general or strategic management and marketing or finance roles.

Production managers can specialise in various management fields such as personnel and financial management, work-study, training, quality control, marketing and distribution, administration and organisation. The nature of the work depends on the type of institution worked for, as well as the individual’s knowledge of chemical, metallurgical and other processes.

With reference to the long-term planning, production managers help with the selection and designing of the specifications of the services that are being rendered. They take part in decisions concerning the layout of the enterprise, the size and range of the product or service to be rendered, the design and organisation of the work processes, work standards and compensations of the employees. Short-term planning includes decision-making on scheduling the production activities and the implementing thereof.

Production managers work mostly with the production system but they also do inspections to make sure that their orders are being implemented correctly. All these functions require production managers to work closely with other management personnel of the organisation and stay in contact with the production workers in order to prevent any possible delay in production.

Important skills for production managers are confidence, technical skills, project management skills, organisation, interpersonal skills, problem-solving skills, IT and numerical skills, communication skills and team-working skills.

Managers must also be able to handle responsibility and the pressure of meeting deadlines.

Personal Requirements

  • practical and enjoy solving problems
  • able to make decisions on production matters
  • ability to work well with other people
  • willing to keep up with latest developments in the field of work
  • good mathematical ability
  • ability to visualise three-dimensional objects

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

  • National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
  • National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course
Each institution has its own entry requirements.

What to Study

Degree: BSc Industrial Engineering - UJ, US, UNISA, UP, NMMU, Wits, or BA, BCom and BAdmin with Industrial Psychology and Economics - various universities.

Diploma: N.Dip: Production Management - TUT

Some technical engineering courses such as for production and industrial engineering technicians, which are offered, at most of the universities of technology, are also applicable for training as a production manager.

A diploma course in Production Management is offered at the Production Management Institute of South Africa. Students over 23 who do not hold a National Senior Certificate first undergo a short orientation course to gain admission. This course is available in every main centre in South Africa. Students work while attending evening classes.


  • factories
  • food producers
  • self-employment, with enough experience and capital, can start own manufacturing concern

Further Information

Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) 
1st Floor, Waterview Corner Building
2 Ernest Oppenheimer Avenue
Bruma Lake Office Park, Bruma
Johannesburg, 2198 
Tel: (011) 607-9500

South African Institute for Industrial Engineering
The Secretary General
P O Box 653044
Benmore, 2010
Tel: (011) 884-2545

Getting Started

  • talk to production managers and ask to observe them at work and about vacation jobs
  • join a science club and try to visit factories

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

A PACE Career Centre Product. © All rights reserved | Developed by Netgen (Pty) Ltd. Disclaimer: Please see disclaimer