A general manager of a machine shop oversees the operations of a machine shop or factory, which may manufacture parts for various equipment. There may be production goals that need to be met on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. The general manager should come up with plans to increase employee productivity. Sometimes, this involves upgrading or changing machinery. It is important to always know what sorts of new technologies are being developed in the field, in order to stay competitive. However, the manager will usually have budget constraints, so it is necessary to be able to operate within these monetary means. Usually, this position requires having many years of experience in a machine shop. The manager should be familiar with the machinery that is being used in that particular shop, in order to be able to educate employees and to demonstrate how to use the equipment. Also, the manager will have to carry out duties that are common to managers in any industry, like administering payroll, carrying out
employee evaluations, interviewing new candidates, and hiring and firing as needed. The work of employees will be overseen on a daily basis, in order to make sure that standards of quality are being upheld. When help is needed to meet productivity goals, the manager will be expected to contribute manual labor. Since there is heavy machinery involved, the environment may often be noisy. At least a high school diploma is usually required for this position. Some employers seek candidates with an associate’s degree related to the specific machines in the shop or a bachelor’s degree in business management. However, sufficient experience may be accepted in lieu of a degree. Specific certifications may be required.
General Manager, Machine Shop Tasks
• Supervise and manage machinists, coordinating jobs to facilitate efficient completion of projects.
• Review capital equipment, incorporating new technology and processes.
• Uphold quality and efficiency standards, producing high quality goods at lowest possible cost.
• Keep projects on schedule, and make sure materials and equipment are available when needed
*** Must have CNC set up and programming experience
Planning, coordinating and directing activities for public or private machine shops are duties you take on if you want a job as an operations manager. You primarily oversee daily operations, making sure production cycles are met from part design to fabrication. Machine shop operations managers also deal with raw material and equipment logistics, people resources and administrative processes. This job is multifaceted, and the skill sets you need include technical know-how, leadership skills and interpersonal intelligence.
Machine Shop Basics
Machine shop activities include cutting, shaping and forming parts and articles from various materials, such as metal or plastics, to make a complete product according to customer specifications. Motor vehicle parts, medical implants and metal tools are examples of parts made in machine shops. Employees use machines such as lathes, drills, milling machines and hand tools to make parts. This work requires planning, proper setup of machines and precise measurements. As an operations manager, you must make sure the work is carried out correctly, on time and in a safe manner.
What You Need to Do
Not only do machine shop operations managers oversee fabrication activities, they manage costs and expenses through process efficiencies. Managers make sure the proper equipment is on hand and ready to meet production demands. Job duties require you to analyze and adjust work schedules, solve production problems, handle quality issues and manage customer interactions. Personnel matters will also be your responsibility. You must plan for employee training and skill development and handle disciplinary issues. Making sure operations align with company policies and procedures is also part of the job.
What You Need to Know
Shop operations managers must understand and use effective leadership principles to get the job done. You need excellent communication skills and the ability to work with customers, suppliers and employees across all levels, including sales and marketing, engineering, maintenance and human resources. Since fabrication is the main function of a machine shop, you also need a thorough understanding of machining processes, equipment technology, shop procedures and how to read mechanical and electrical drawings. Knowledge of federal, state and local safety and health regulations with regard to safe use of machine tools is also necessary.
How to Get the Job
Successful work as a machine shop operations manager typically requires hands-on experience. You can gain needed experience over several years by working in a machine shop, working with machine tools or doing similar work in a manufacturing environment. Many employers prefer to hire operations managers with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in an engineering discipline such as mechanical or electrical in addition to work experience. Consideration may be given if you have a combination of education and work experience.