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Published: October 4, 2023

10 Essential Plant Manager Skills to Ensure Success

Looking for your next super star Plant Manager?

Anybody with a management background can be a plant manager, but in order to hire a stellar candidate that will lead your operations to success, you need to watch for a specific mix of hard and soft skills.

These 10 attributes should be part of your hiring checklist.

1. Leadership and Decision Making

Effective plant managers should be able to lead and work well with people from different departments, from senior management to on-the-ground utility staff. When tough calls about operations and people need to be made, the plant manager should be able to evaluate the situation thoroughly and create the best possible course of action that benefits the company and the majority.

2. Positive Communication

One of the most crucial plant manager skills is the ability to communicate well with people from different organizational levels. The manager should be able to effectively relay general information and company expectations to the team and, conversely, communicate recommendations and comments from staff to upper management.

3. Strong Adherence to Quality Standards

An effective plant manager should know the company’s operating guidelines and standards by heart and show great interest in keeping up to date with industry trends and regulatory changes. In a manufacturing facility, a small mistake left unchecked can lead to costly outcomes. Strict adherence and implementation of standards is, therefore, an important plant manager skill that you shouldn’t overlook in the hiring process.

4. Financial Management

A strong background in financial management is a major hiring consideration for a plant manager. As the person who will lead the facility, the manager should be able to identify and allocate financial resources so that all operational activities continue to function smoothly. This includes deciding whether or not new equipment needs to be repaired or replaced.

5. Performance Tracking and Management

A manufacturing plant’s productivity relies on both the efficient use of machinery and proper utilization of employees’ time and talents. The plant manager should be able to monitor operational strengths and weaknesses, so that resources can be allocated equitably.

6. Efficiency

A great plant manager is one who finds ways to increase productivity and work quality at the least cost and shortest time possible. You should look for a person who values time and resources, without sacrificing employee happiness.

7. Adaptability

Things can quickly change in a manufacturing facility. Big orders might suddenly come in and disrupt the operational schedule. An effective plant manager should be able to handle such changes under pressure and immediately look for ways the team can adapt. In case the sudden order is not feasible, the manager should devise a realistic plan that benefits both the company and the client.

8. Open to Continuous Learning

Plant managers will often spend time attending training, seminars, and conferences to stay updated on the latest technology and methods to boost manufacturing efficiency. Some trainings issue certifications, as well, so these should be on your hiring radar.

9. Negotiation and Conflict Management

Disagreements are inevitable, especially in a huge facility like a manufacturing plant. The manager should be able to manage a situation head-on and find a resolution before the issue gets out of hand. In addition, the manager will also sometimes be tasked to face new clients and provide a tour of the facility and close deals. This person should be able to represent the company well and act in its best interests.

10. Time Management

Time management is an essential plant manager skill that can make or break productivity. Similar to managing people, this person should demonstrate the ability to allocate time and resources properly so that work hours are maximized, and no machine or employee is left idling. This also covers managing break times and days off, so that the facility can continue to operate seamlessly even if some team members are taking their well-deserved personal time.

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Mike Bolanos

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