Industrial managers are in charge of managing quality control programs for many types of companies to ensure that all products meet quality standards. As an industrial management professional, you are responsible for the oversight of materials, workforce and technical or mechanical logistics of the entire production process. While the exact details of the production floor depend upon the industry and field, common areas of responsibility for industrial managers include scheduling production, procurement, staffing, maintenance of equipment, quality control, controlling inventory and coordinating all activities related to production.
Effective industrial management requires strong business sense and the ability to solve problems in a practical manner. Of course, a strong background in industrial management also is required.
What Is Industrial Management?
Industrial managers do most or all of the following duties:
- Decide the best ways to use the workers in a plant or facility, and which equipment should be used to best meet production goals for the company.
- Make sure that the production schedule for the company stays on budget and on schedule
- Train, hire and evaluate all types of workers in the production facility
- Perform analysis of production data to verify that company goals are being met
- Write reports that detail levels of production to show upper level management
- Monitor the workers in a plant to make certain that they are meeting safety and performance requirements
- Provide recommendations and oversight for streamlining production processes
- Determine if new machinery is needed to meet production goals
- Ensure that any maintenance and repair that is needed is done on a timely basis
Industrial managers can be referred to as quality control systems managers. They use various programs to find any defects in products, and identify what the cause of the defect is and how to solve the problem. For instance, an industrial manager may find out that a defect is due to parts that were supplied by an outside vendor. That manager then will work with the problem supplier to ensure that parts quality is enhanced.
Most industrial managers have either a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that there will be little to no growth in this field through 2026 in the US. In the past, employment of industrial managers was not as affected by gains in productivity because such managers were responsible for overseeing the work activities that led to higher productivity. But facilities today are adopting leaner means of production and are using more robotics and other technology to increase production.
Some of the manufacturing jobs in recent times have been sent overseas to cheaper markets, which has led to a reduction in job growth for industrial managers. But in the last several years, there has been a trend of reshoring, which is where personnel that was outsourced is being brought back to the US. Some companies also are moving their jobs to cheaper areas of the US in the south. This may lead to more job opportunities for industrial managers.
In the related occupation of logisitician, there will be 7% job growth through 2026. This is about as fast as average. There will be continuing need for managers of industrial and manufacturing companies that understand the logistical supply chain. Employment will grow as companies in many industries need more logisticians to move their products in a more efficient manner.
BLS states as of 2016 that there were 170,600 industrial management and industrial production jobs in the US. The biggest employers of these managers was in these areas:
- Transportation equipment manufacturing: 11%
- Fabricated metal product manufacturing: 10%
- Chemical manufacturing: 8%
- Machinery manufacturing: 7%
- Food manufacturing: 7%
BLS states that the median salary for industrial managers was $97,100 in 2016. The top 10% earned $165,000 per year. The top paying industries for industrial managers were:
- Chemical manufacturing: $105,000
- Transportation equipment manufacturing: $101,100
- Machinery manufacturing: $96,600
- Food manufacturing: $90,600
- Fabricated metal product manufacturing: $90,200
For the role of logistician – related to industrial managers – the median salary according to BLS was $74,100 in 2016.
The cities with the strongest growth in recent years in the US for industrial management and related jobs are listed below. Forbes magazine reports that while these Midwest states have suffered from the decline of industry in recent decades, there has been an upswing in manufacturing in these areas in the last five years. This is in part because these towns are home to many highly educated workers.
- Detroit, Michigan
- Warren, Ohio
- Grand Rapids, Michigan
- Nashville, Tennessee
- Albany, New York
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- Louisville, Kentucky
- Kansas City, Missouri
Some of the top industrial and manufacturing corporations to work for in the US today are:
- Field Fastener
- WL Gore and Associates
- JM Family Enterprises
- American Transmission
- MBX Systems
- QRC Technologies
A bachelor of science degree in industrial management can be a good choice for the student who is interested in an engineering-based program, and who has strong quantitative and technical skills. Industrial management bachelor’s programs offer the student training in operations management so that they can eventually earn entry level and middle level positions in manufacturing and service industries.
A master’s program in industrial management typically will cover both business and engineering subjects. Students in a graduate program in industrial management will need to understand how to oversee the R&D process, implement state and federal regulations governing manufacturing, and also how to develop advanced industrial processes. Some of the common courses in a master’s program in this field are advance logistics management, industrial processes and materials, quality management, lean management, project management, value stream management, nanomaterials management and strategic sourcing.
To be admitted into a master’s program in industrial management, you will usually need to have a GPA of 3.0 in your bachelor’s program; GRE or GMAT scores; three professional or academic references; and a resume that reflects management experience.
Some students who have enough work experience may be able to apply for a waiver for GMAT or GRE scores. This will depend upon the university and program.
Each university has its own curriculum for its industrial management program. At the University of Texas-Tyler, below are industrial management courses that are required for its master’s program. This will give you a good idea of what to expect in this major:
- Six Sigma Quality: Covered material includes application and analysis of concepts related to quality control, including variable quality control and attribute techniques. Advanced graphical problem solving also is reviewed. Students also learn how to use computers effectively to create graphs, spreadsheets and charts to keep track of quality initiatives.
- Lean Manufacturing: Studies how lean production systems may be implemented into a company to enhance profitability by cutting waste. This course covers critical concepts including visual management, Kanban, Five S, Jidoka and PDCA.
- Value Stream Management: Explores the ways in which information and materials flow through a facility with visual mapping. Students are required to devise their own value stream maps to be used in a manufacturing setting and/or healthcare organization.
When you complete your degree in industrial management, you may need financial help to ease the burdens of paying for your education. The good news is that you can find various scholarships in the industrial management and related fields today. Below are some possible scholarship options that can help to ease the financial costs of college:
- William E. Weisel Scholarship Award: $1000
- Kathy Pace Technology Scholarship: $5000
- Walt Bartram Memorial Education Award: Various amounts
- SME Educational Scholarships: Various amounts
- Scarlett Family Foundation Scholarships: $2500
- David C. Scott Memorial Scholarship: $500
- R. Collins Scholarship: $1200
One of the most important certifications for any management professional, including in the industrial field, is Project Management Professional or PMP. This is the gold standard in the entire project management field. This certification is earned by passing a tough test that covers all of the things that are needed to be able to manage cost, scope and time in any industrial or manufacturing setting. This credential is administered and given out by the Project Management Institute or PMI.
To qualify, you need to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree and have at least three years of PM experience, which should include at least 4500 hours of directing and leading projects. Or, you can have 35 hours of PM education.
Another certification to consider is the Certified Manager (CM) credential. This is a professional credentialing program that ensures that you have the ability to manage and lead with a high, proven level of competency. CM certification can be attained by having management education and experience, and by passing three CM examinations. CM certification has been proven to empower management professionals in various fields and to put them in better position for promotions.
Another worthwhile certification for industrial managers and related professionals is the Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence Certification (CMQ/OE) administered by American Society for Quality (ASQ). A professional with this certification has shown that they can lead and champion process improvement initiatives in everything from small companies to international corporations. This manager has shown that he has the skills to evaluate and motivate staff, properly management HR and projects, fully analyze financial matters, evaluate and determine level of risk, and use knowledge management tools effectively.
To qualify to sit for the CMQ/OE examination, you must have at least 10 years of on the job experience in a management role, and at least five years of this has to be in a position with major decision making decisions.
Professionals in the industrial management field often discover that they can enjoy enhanced job prospects if they belong to various trade groups and associations. Joining these groups can lead to better job skills, increased educational opportunities and more chances to network to find jobs that may interest you. Some groups to consider in the industrial management and related fields are:
- National Association of Manufacturers
- National Defense Industrial Association
- Council of Manufacturing Associations
- Association for Manufacturing Excellence
- American Composites Manufacturers Association
- Medical Device Manufacturers Association
- Association of Equipment Manufacturers
- Grocery Manufacturers Association
The field of industrial management can be an excellent career choice for professionals who earn a degree in industrial management or manufacturing management. Competition is keen as some manufacturing operations have moved off shore, so get a good education and certification and you will probably have the best odds of landing a good paying job.
- Industrial Production Managers. (2015, Dec. 18). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/industrial-production-managers.htm
- The Cities Leading a US Manufacturing Revival. (2015). Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/joelkotkin/2015/07/23/the-cities-leading-a-u-s-manufacturing-revival/
- Industrial Management Master’s Degree. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.uttyler.edu/academics/graduate/industrial-management-degree/