Roles and Responsibilities of Production Engineers

by Alejandro Russell

    Demand for industrial workers will grow by 6 percent between the years 2010 to 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But whether the sector is growing fast or slow, production engineers’ skills are vital to the very competitive manufacturing sector. A bachelor's degree in the industrial engineering disciplines is a basic requirement, but a chemical or civil engineering background may get you hired, too. Production engineers have various roles and responsibilities, including design, devising efficient means to produce parts or products, supporting quality control and confering with management to stay on budget and meet production deadlines.

    A production engineer designs processes, material and workspace layouts to ensure fast and efficient production. He can do this using drafting tools and design software such as computer aided design. It is also his responsibility to make appropriate adjustments on the design based on feedback from colleagues or clients. The engineer also keeps company management informed and up-to-date on the status of the design process.

    It is the production engineer’s responsibility to estimate the cost of production and come up with cost-saving methods. If there are any changes in the design of the product, he determines the effect of this on production cost and presents it to management for review and implementation. He develops efficient manufacturing methods based on the firm’s budget allocation, always trying to strike the right balance between quality and cost.

    A manufacturing facility must be able to meet targets and deadlines. Timely delivery -- from the raw materials to the finished products -- is only possible if the production schedule is within realistic forecasts. A production engineer is indispensable for meeting these objectives. It is also his responsibility to make sure that a product conforms to specifications and standards. Therefore, he directs product measurement, inspection, and tests for quality and reliability.

    A production engineer’s duties can involve administrative roles such as assigning junior staff duties and shifts. He appraises employees in the production docket and recommends promotions and demotions. He also serves as an adviser to management regarding production-related purchases, quality control and other pillars of production.

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