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Production Planner

Planning is a necessary function within any organisation that produces something. In the manufacturing environment this function is often complex because of the rate of change, number of parts, and occurrences of unplanned events. Planning in the manufacturing environment involves four elements: scheduling, labour planning, equipment planning, and cost planning.

The planners coordinate and expedite the flow of work and materials within or between departments of an establishment according to production schedule. Duties include reviewing and distributing production, work schedules; liaising with department supervisors to determine progress of work and completion dates; and compiling reports on progress of work, inventory levels, costs, and production problems.


How to Get into Production Planning

You may go straight into planning from school/college. Trainee production planners usually begin by learning on the job from more experienced colleagues. Larger companies may have management training schemes, which may combine work experience and training in different parts of the organisation.


Qualifications and Experience

Although no specific qualifications are required, planners must have excellent organisational and communication skills, be able to work quickly and accurately and pay attention to detail. As almost all manufacturing organisations use software systems to organise production, good ICT skills will normally be required. The Diploma in engineering and Diploma in manufacturing and product design and apprenticeships may all be available in this career.  Alternatively a foundation degree, BTEC, HNC/HND or a degree in manufacturing can be useful and may lead to promotion to Production Manager.


Salary Expectations

Salaries range from around £18,000 to over £30,000 a year.


Quality Control Inspector

A quality control inspector is the person who guarantees the highest standards of excellence are maintained in the production and manufacturing of consumer goods. They are instrumental in all phases of the production process. From the introduction of the initial components, ingredients or elements through the final product packaging, quality control inspectors scrutinize each step for flaws, defects or blemishes. The quality control inspector profession encompasses many types of quality experts. In some industries, one quality control inspector is responsible for making sure all aspects of a product are free of defects. These quality and compliance considerations normally include strength, weight, dimensions, colour and texture. In other environments, quality control inspectors often examine only one aspect of a product.  Quality Control Inspectors often work for larger production plants where they may perform a variety of assurance tests during the development and manufacturing of a certain product. Depending on the employer, quality control technicians may test or inspect motor parts, medical equipment, electronic parts, clothing or food.


How to Get into Quality Control

Inspectors are normally people experienced in the industry in which they work. If you are responsible, accurate and enjoy careful detailed work then this may be for you. You may already work in a related environment. You can get into quality control, particularly in the more technical industries, by having a degree in engineering or a relevant discipline. Check out university careers departments to see where graduates are employed.



Qualifications and Experience

 Most employers ask for four GCSEs (A*-C), including maths and English and maybe a science subject. The Diploma in engineering and the Diploma in manufacturing and product design is useful in inspecting. You will also find Inspectors who have come from an engineering and operative background.


Salary Expectations

Salaries may range from around £20,000 to £60,000 a year.

Further information

Chartered Management Institute, Management House, Cottingham Road, Corby, Northamptonshire NN17 1TT. 01536 204222. Website:

Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), ILM, Stowe House, Netherstowe,
Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 6TJ. 020 72942470. Website:

Institute of Operations Management (IOM), Earlstrees Court, Earlstrees Road, Corby, Northants NN17 4AX. 01536 740105. Website:

SEMTA (the Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies) 14 Upton Road, Watford WD18 0JT. 01923 238441. Learning helpline 0800 282167. Website:

WISE (Women Into Science, Engineering and Construction), 2nd floor Weston House, 246 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EX. 020 3206 0408. Website:

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