Role, Responsibilities and Certification of a Production Supervisor

Production Supervisors oversee, plan, organize and co-ordinate the activities of factory workers while enforcing safety, cGMP, kaizen, FSMS, TPM, 5S, Six Sigma, TQM and other rules, principles, regulations and practices.

Role, Responsibilities and Certification of a Production Supervisor

By Dr. Olaniyi Opanuga, FNIPM, CPMP, CPM, COMP, COM

Production Supervisors oversee, plan, organize and co-ordinate the activities of factory workers while enforcing safety, cGMP, kaizen, FSMS, TPM, 5S, Six Sigma, TQM and other rules, principles, regulations and practices.

Production supervisors are otherwise called first line managers. They lead teams and ensure an efficient and effective departmental and sectional work organization. Whether you get into this role as a graduate trainee, an apprentice, team leader, a machine operator or factory process worker you need special skills and the right qualities to succeed. Production supervisor may come in through other department like store or warehouse, quality, technical, engineering or maintenance.

Suitable positioned in between middle management and rank and file employees as well as translating management decisions and plans into concrete actions require a great deal of emotional intelligence, tact, ability to lead, communicate, advise, guide subordinates and the capacity to ensure timely results and overall effective performance on the factory floor.

What Production Supervisors Do

Generally, they supervise production team(s), systems and processes to achieve production targets. And specifically, they:

  • Plan and schedule work load for maximum output and zero waste
  • Allocate tasks to members of the team and manage workflow for optimum performance.
  • Guide and coach subordinates and ensure their proper orientation, understanding of job duties, rules and procedures and career mentoring.
  • Brief teams on targets, policy changes, new management decisions and directives
  • Serve as “back up” in machine operations, equipment and process monitoring etc.
  • Assist the manager in budget preparation,   costing, estimating and throughout progress chasing to ensure on-time delivery of quality products.
  • Ensuring operations efficiency and line utilization
  • Activity reporting in respect of daily or shift operations including appropriate record keeping and documentation in respect of machine status, material usage, batch records, production figures etc.
  • Performance reviews on the entire team and individual team members. Generate feedback for improvement.
  • Handle complaints, grievances and take disciplinary actions in line with company policy.     
  • Oversee efficient and safe use of equipment and ensure regular maintenance to ensure operational reliability.
  • Optimize machine uptime, material and labour utilization in line with appropriate metrics.
  • Keep abreast of regulations to ensure compliance and enforce manufacturing policies and procedures, rules and regulations including occupational safety, hygiene, product quality and environmental standards
  • Mobilize for continuous improvement and implementing appropriate improvement techniques
  • Create a conducive environment to boost morale for initiatives and innovation in the factory
  • Bridge performance  gaps through actionable improvements, training needs identification, staff training and professional development programmes
  • Suggest improved work methods to enhance productivity and waste reduction
  • Monitor progress on the production lines-processing, packing, material handling and allied factory-level operations
  • Collaborate with other departmental teams such as quality assurance, project and maintenance
  • Validate output in line with specifications etc.

A production supervisor should have capacity for sharing experience, providing superior knowledge and general guidance to workers.

The totality of the job role of a production supervisor revolves around ensuring smooth running of production lines to achieve the right quantity and quality of work output.

The production supervisor plays a diverse and key role in manufacturing organizations.

From planning, communicating job expectations, directives or passing instructions to team members, solving factory floor issues, ensuring a hygienic and safe workplace, counseling, monitoring, coaching and disciplining employees to recruiting, selection and providing onboarding orientation, training, troubleshooting and ensuring rules and procedures are complied with the production supervisor represents the management on the factory floor.

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