A factory manager is typically the most senior manager in an industrial factory or manufacturing plant, with responsibility for all the activities of the factory. The factory manager's objectives are usually tied to the amount and quality of the items that the factory is producing. Most factories are fast-moving places, and some of them operate 24 hours a day. They contain offices as well as assembly and production lines, so factory managers must have a wide variety of skills.
A factory manager has overall responsibility for all the people working on the site, both in the offices and on the factory floor. She signs off on recruitment and advises on any disciplinary issues. It is her responsibility to communicate to staff and motivate them to achieve the factory targets. As many factories form part of larger companies, the factory manager may have to adhere to corporate human resources policies. In this case, it would be part of the manager's role to liaise with the central human resources function.
The factory manager is in charge of the building in which she and her staff operate. In most manufacturing industries, health and safety are paramount. Handling some materials or working with heavy machinery can be very dangerous. It is vital for a senior manager to be answerable for assessing risk and ensuring that appropriate health and safety procedures are in place and applied rigorously.
Any form of manufacturing or production is a process. In most modern factories, while some parts of the process are carried out by machines, other parts are done by teams of people. The factory manager, in partnership with supervisors and other managers, decides how to design those teams for optimal performance. She also set targets and communicate progress so that teams are motivated to deliver.
Key to the effective running of a factory is ensuring that there is no down time and that everyone is working at a reasonable pace. Companies do not want to pay staff to be standing around idly or working at half speed. Therefore, factory managers must plan to have the staff and resources in place to deliver orders on time, but not to be paying people to be there when there is no work for them to do. They also need to schedule maintenance of the building and equipment at times when they are not going to be needed to fulfill a major order.
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