Your manufacturing plant organization depends on the nature of your business. For example, short runs of high-quality customized products require a different emphasis than long runs of standard products. Despite these differences, your organizational structure has to satisfy basic manufacturing requirements and fulfill common operational functions. Once you have set up your organization to meet these basic needs, you can fine tune it to improve performance for your particular business.
Management Organizes the Work
A small management group, the exact size depending on the size of the plant and ranging from a single plant manager to several managers taking on specific tasks, assigns the work, tracks costs, implements policies and procedures and prepares plans for facility utilization. The plant manager is responsible for achieving the manufacturing goals of the company. For example, if your company implements a low-cost strategy, the plant manager has to find ways to cut costs. When the management work is too much for one person, the plant manager can delegate work and responsibilities to others, such as a manager for inventory or one for personnel and payroll.
Production Is The Heart of Your Plant
To manufacture the products you want, your manufacturing plant organization must have someone in charge of production. The production supervisor or manager reports to the plant manager and oversees the employees who carry out the production work. Depending on the type of product and the size of the operation, you might have additional supervisors responsible for parts of the production line or you might have teams, each with a team leader and each responsible for her part of production. For small operations you might have up to a dozen workers reporting directly to the production supervisor.
Procurement Supplies Parts and Materials
When your manufacturing plant creates or assembles the products your company sells, it has to buy the required components and materials and store them until they are needed. The employees responsible for procurement and inventory control report to the plant manager and are responsible for ensuring the production line receives the parts and raw materials it needs to meet its production quotas. For small companies, a single employee may be able to take care of purchasing and storage. Larger operations separate the procurement and inventory functions under two managers who may have purchasing clerks and warehouse staff reporting to them.
Quality Assurance Evaluates Operations
While manufacturing plant organizations often work under a traditional hierarchical structure, the quality assurance function has to use a matrix structure to function effectively. The quality assurance manager must report directly to the plant manager, and the quality assurance manager or his staff must also have access to the other management functions and the working level. That way, all aspects of the plant’s operations are open to inspection by quality assurance personnel, and if there are problems, the quality assurance manager can report them at the highest plant level to get the required corrective action implemented.
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