How to Become a Manufacturing Executive

Career Path Guide

If you’re interested in motivating and leading others, you don’t mind working long hours, and you can read technical and scientific reports without issue, then you may want to consider becoming a manufacturing executive.


As the manufacturing boss, you would create and lead a team that delivers optimum customer satisfaction by establishing and meeting safety, quality, cost and efficiency goals within the manufacturing process.


Since you would be working in a senior-level role, you would need a combination of post-secondary education ins business or engineering, and years of relevant experience. 



Education You’ll Need

Depending on the discretion of the employer, you’ll likely need at least a bachelor’s degree in a field related to general business, business administration, supply chain or manufacturing management.


Some employers however, will prefer that you have an educational background in engineering; they will want to see a mechanical or industrial engineering degree, or one that’s in a field relevant to their operations.


For example, if your prospective employer manufactures chemical products, they might be looking for a manufacturing executive with a background in chemical engineering. 





Required Amount of Work Experience

Given the amount of responsibility given to manufacturing executives, most employers are more confident hiring candidates with a combination of relevant education, and several years of related work experience.


For example, oftentimes employers will state on job postings that they are looking for candidates with 10 or more years engineering experience in a manufacturing environment, or 10 or more years of experience supervising the work of manufacturing engineers, maintenance staff, purchasers and quality assurance staff.


Success Tip: In general, the more education you have, the less experience you will need, and vice-versa. 



Certification Needed

Employers that require you to have an engineering background will also likely require that you are licensed as a Professional Engineer (PE) or working towards that designation.


Other types of certification you might need, regardless of whether or not you are have an engineering background, include Six Sigma Black Belt or Lean Leader Certification, among others. 



What You’d Be Doing: General Job Description

As a manufacturing executive (your title might be, Vice President of Manufacturing, or something to that effect) you’d be responsible for the strategy, direction, planning and implementation of your company’s manufacturing or production operations.


This would primarily involve creating and leading a manufacturing team that delivers optimum customer satisfaction by establishing and meeting safety, quality, cost and efficiency goals.



General Job Duties

Although the functions you would perform could vary, you would likely be responsible for the following:


• Administering production schedules and performance measures

• Acting as an advisor to other supervisors or staff members

• Liaising with purchasing department in order to ensure quality standards are met and proper inventory levels are maintained

• Analyzing personnel and resources in order to determine the most effective and efficient ways to meet production quotas

• Liaising with senior management to determine future production quotas

• Reporting to the Chief Operating Officer (COO) or the Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

• Maintaining current knowledge in areas such as company policies, collective bargaining agreements and other applicable information





Are You a Good Fit for This Profession?

This career field might be a great option for you if:


• You aren’t afraid of long hours

• You’re interested in a demanding yet well-paying career

• You like the idea of office-based work that involves occasional travel

• You can lead, motivate and manage employees

• You have a commitment to quality and customer satisfaction

• You enjoy working with other managers to find solutions to problems

• You don’t have trouble reading, analyzing and interpreting common scientific and technical journals and documents



What Kind of Salary Can You Earn?

The amount you could earn as a manufacturing executive can vary, typically depending on the following factors:


• Your professional qualifications (education, experience, etc.)

• The size and budget of your employer

• The region in which you work

• The specific industry in which you work

• The scope of your job duties

• Any bonuses and financial benefits you’re entitled to


Manufacturing Executive Salary in Alberta: According to the 2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, the average salary level of Albertans working in the “Manufacturing managers” occupational group is $95,591 per year.


Salary - British Columbia: According to WorkBC (Province of British Columbia), those working in the “Senior managers - construction, transportation, production and utilities” occupational group earn an annual provincial median salary of $102,586.


Salary - United States: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of Americans working in the “Industrial Production Managers” occupational group is $103,380 per year.



What Industries Employ Manufacturing Executives?

Manufacturing executives typically work in management or advisory capacities for small, medium and large businesses that produce the following types of products:


• Building materials and supplies

• Chemical, plastics and rubber products

• Clothing and textiles

• Computers and electronic products

• Farm products

• Food, beverage and tobacco products

• Motor vehicles and parts

• Machinery and equipment

• Petroleum products

• Personal and household goods

• Other areas



Current Job Postings

Our job board below has "manufacturing executive" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia:



Typical Work Environment

Hours: As a manufacturing executive, you'd likely work regular, weekday working hours. You might find yourself frequently going into work early, staying late, or going in on weekends in order to complete tasks and projects, or attend meetings, conferences, or other events.


Setting: Your work would be office-based, possibly located within a warehouse, production facility, or other commercial or industrial space. You might travel to attend meetings and conferences, or to visit your company’s local, regional, national, and international offices, production facilities or branches.


Working Conditions: One downside of this work, would be that it your work would be very demanding and stressful because of the intense pressure to succeed. If you find yourself working for a poorly performing organization, you may find your job in jeopardy.



Alternate Titles for “Manufacturing Executive”

The term “manufacturing executive is a blanket term used to describe any senior-level manager that oversees their company’s manufacturing operations. On job postings, you may see the following titles used instead:


• Director of Manufacturing

• Director of Operations

• Operations Executive

• Vice President of Manufacturing



Similar Professions

Listed below are occupations in our database that have similar responsibilities, and/or require similar skills, or are in the same sector of industry, as "manufacturing executive":


• Chief Operating Officer (COO)

• Industrial Engineer

• Operations Manager

• Operations Analyst

• Project Manager

• Purchasing Manager




Information for this career guide was compiled from the websites listed below. Some information has also been compiled from actual job postings from various organizations, which cannot be listed here due to the brief nature of their online availability.


Explore Careers:Supply Chain Manager.” (n.d.). National Careers Service website. Retrieved January 1, 2020.

Wages & Salaries in Alberta:Manufacturing managers.” (March 31, 2019). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved February 26, 2020.

Management:Industrial Production Managers.” (September 4, 2019). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved February 26, 2020.

Explore Careers:Senior managers - construction, transportation, production and utilities.” (January 23, 2018). WorkBC website - Province of British Columbia. Retrieved February 26, 2020.



Scholarships for Becoming a Manufacturing Executive

The “Relevant University Majors” section below shows fields of study relevant to a career as a manufacturing executive. You can search for scholarships matched to those fields of study on our All Scholarships by Major page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant University Majors

Studying one of the college/university majors listed below can be helpful for becoming a manufacturing executive. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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