Career Development

What Does a Production Planner Do?

Find out what a production planner does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a production planner.

Production planners are responsible for planning and coordinating the flow of materials, information, and resources through a production process. They work with all members of the production team—from suppliers to designers to engineers—to ensure that everything is ready when it needs to be.

Production planners may also be tasked with ensuring that quality standards are met throughout the production process. This might include auditing suppliers or vendors to make sure they’re meeting quality standards, reviewing design plans to identify potential issues, etc.

Production Planner Job Duties

A production planner typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Create work schedules for employees based on available work hours
  • Meet with managers to discuss production issues and recommend possible solutions
  • Coordinate with suppliers to ensure that materials are available when needed
  • Review work orders to determine if any subcontracting is required to complete the job
  • Calculate labor costs for each step of the production process to ensure profitability
  • Monitor employee performance to ensure that production goals are being met
  • Maintain inventory levels of supplies to ensure adequate supply levels while minimizing waste
  • Work with quality control personnel to monitor product quality during production
  • Research new technologies in the industry and recommend them to management

Production Planner Salary & Outlook

Production planners’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the company size and industry. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $60,500 ($29.09/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $85,000 ($40.87/hour)

The employment of production planners is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Demand for manufacturing and production planning services will depend on the overall health of the economy. As demand for manufactured goods increases, more companies will need to plan their production processes to meet that demand.

Related: Production Planner Interview Questions and Answers

Production Planner Job Requirements

A production planner typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Although there are no specific education requirements to become a production planner, many employers prefer candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in business, finance or a related field. Some employers may also require candidates to have an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree in a specific field, such as industrial engineering or business management.

Training & Experience: Production planners typically receive on-the-job training. This training may include learning the company’s specific software and computer programs, as well as the company’s workflow and procedures. Production planners may also receive training in the specific industry they work in. For example, a production planner in the automotive industry may learn about the specific parts and components of vehicles.

Certifications & Licenses: Production planners do not require any certifications to earn their position. However, some certifications can help production planners advance their knowledge and career opportunities.

Production Planner Skills

Production planners need the following skills in order to be successful:

Technical skills: Technical skills are the abilities you have that allow you to perform your job duties. For example, if you’re a production planner, technical skills like computer programs, spreadsheets and project management software are necessary for your job.

Communication skills: As a production planner, you may be required to communicate with a variety of individuals and teams throughout the production process. Effective communication skills can help you convey messages clearly and concisely, which can help you build trust and maintain positive relationships with others. Communication skills can also help you listen to and understand others’ perspectives, which can help you collaborate with others to develop a production plan that meets the needs of all involved parties.

Problem-solving skills: As a production planner, you may be responsible for ensuring that all production goals are met. This may include finding solutions to any challenges that arise. Your problem-solving skills can help you identify potential solutions and implement them to ensure that production goals are met.

Organizational skills: Planning requires a great deal of organizational skills, as you need to keep track of multiple tasks and deadlines at once. Organization skills can help you prioritize tasks and keep track of project information. Organization skills can also help you create a production plan that’s easy to read and understand.

Attention to detail: Attention to detail is a crucial skill for a production planner to have, as it ensures they have all the information they need to create a production schedule. This includes having all the information about the project, including the project’s goals, the resources available and the deadlines. It also means having all the information about the team, including the team members’ names, their roles and their contact information.

Production Planner Work Environment

Production planners work in manufacturing or production environments. They typically work regular business hours, but may occasionally need to work overtime to meet deadlines. The work can be stressful at times, as production planners are responsible for ensuring that production schedules are met and that products are produced on time and within budget. Production planners need to have strong problem-solving and decision-making skills to be successful in this role. They also need to be able to work well under pressure and handle multiple tasks simultaneously.

Production Planner Trends

Here are three trends influencing how production planners work. Production planners will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Flexibility

The need for more flexibility is a trend that is being seen in many industries, including manufacturing. This is because businesses are looking for ways to become more agile and adapt to changes faster.

As a result, production planners will need to be able to work in a more flexible environment. They will need to be able to quickly change plans based on new information and be able to work with a variety of different teams.

More Collaboration Between Functions

Production planning is an increasingly collaborative field, as companies are looking for ways to streamline their operations and reduce costs.

This means that production planners will need to be able to work well with other departments, such as marketing and sales, in order to create a cohesive plan that meets the needs of the entire company. In addition, they will need to be able to communicate effectively and understand the goals of other departments in order to create a plan that works for everyone.

Greater Focus on Quality Control

As businesses strive to produce higher quality products, they are placing greater emphasis on quality control. This means that production planners will need to have a deep understanding of quality control procedures and how to ensure that products meet the required standards.

In order to stay ahead of the competition, production planners will need to develop skills in quality control and learn how to implement best practices in their factories. They will also need to be able to identify potential problems before they become too large and find solutions that will help to improve the quality of products.

How to Become a Production Planner

A career as a production planner can be rewarding in many ways. It offers the opportunity to work with a variety of people and industries, from film and television to manufacturing and construction. You’ll also have the chance to see your ideas come to life and make a difference in the world.

To become a successful production planner, it’s important to have a strong understanding of the business side of things. You need to be able to manage projects effectively and meet deadlines. You should also be able to think creatively and come up with solutions to problems.

If you want to become a production planner, start by gaining experience in related fields such as marketing or advertising. This will give you a better understanding of how businesses operate and help you develop the skills needed for this career.

Advancement Prospects

The production planner is responsible for the coordination of production activities in a manufacturing or assembly environment. He or she ensures that materials and labor are available when needed and that production activities are completed on time and within budget. The production planner also develops production schedules and coordinates the activities of production workers, supervisors, and other support personnel.

As production planners gain experience, they may be promoted to production manager, operations manager, or plant manager. With further experience and education, they may become engineering managers or vice presidents of operations.

Production Planner Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we are always looking for ways to streamline our production process and reduce waste. As our production planner, you will play a key role in ensuring that our production runs smoothly and efficiently. You will be responsible for creating and maintaining the production schedule, coordinating with the purchasing department to ensure that materials are available when needed, and working with the production team to resolve any issues that arise. In this role, it is essential that you have excellent communication and organizational skills, as well as the ability to think critically and solve problems quickly.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Develop and implement production plans that balance customer demand with available resources, maximizing output and profitability
  • Analyze data to identify trends and variances that impact production planning, such as material shortages, equipment downtime, or staffing changes
  • Utilize MRP/ERP systems to generate accurate production plans and schedules that consider all relevant constraints and priorities
  • Coordinate with purchasing, engineering, and other departments to ensure timely availability of materials and components
  • Monitor production progress against the plan, making necessary adjustments to optimize utilization of resources and minimize waste
  • Generate regular reports detailing production plans, schedule adherence, and performance metrics for management review
  • Identify and investigate potential process improvements to enhance efficiency and quality
  • Collaborate with team members to resolve issues that arise during production
  • Maintain updated knowledge of production methods, processes, and best practices
  • Adhere to all safety regulations and company policies
  • Train and mentor new planners and production staff as needed
  • Perform other duties as assigned

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, engineering, or related field
  • 3-5 years of experience in production planning, manufacturing, or similar role
  • Working knowledge of MRP/ERP systems
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Strong mathematical aptitude
  • Highly organized with excellent attention to detail
  • Outstanding communication, interpersonal, and team-building skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in business, engineering, or related field
  • APICS certification
  • Lean Six Sigma certification
  • Experience in the automotive industry
  • Experience with JIT production methods


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