The manufacturing industry is changing faster than any other industry. Better technologies have led to automation, which is going to cause millions of job losses around the world by 2030.
The one job that is going to be in need of manufacturing is a manufacturing engineer. It’s a lucrative job, too with the median salary at more than $80,000 a year.
Read on to learn more about these jobs, how to get one and what a manufacturing engineering job description looks like:
Types of Manufacturing Engineering Jobs
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all engineering job. There are a number of different types of manufacturing engineering jobs that you should know about.
The main function of a manufacturing engineer design manufacturing systems so they’re more efficient and save manufacturing companies money.
Within manufacturing engineering, you may deal with the software involved in automation. You could be charged with the creation of that software and keep it secure. Cybersecurity is a real threat to the manufacturing industry, with almost half of all manufacturers experiencing some form of an attempted hack attack.
These threats can be costly in manufacturing downtime and the loss of intellectual property. For other manufacturers in the defense industry, this could result in a lost contract.
Another aspect of manufacturing engineering is to improve manufacturing processes. You may find that the plant you work at can improve its systems by changing the floor layout. You would be responsible for making that happen.
With so much change in the manufacturing industry and the increasing adoption of the internet of things and robotics in manufacturing, the role of engineers is a very important one.
You could be involved in product development and building prototypes to specs. When a product like a new phone is created, the design team will come up with outrageous specs. It’s ultimately up to the engineers to make that vision a reality.
Manufacturing engineers can also be industrial engineers. Industrial engineers focus on the workforce, creating a collaborative and functional environment to do great work.
Manufacturing Engineer vs. Process Engineer
There is often confusion in the manufacturing industry between a process engineer and a manufacturing engineer. They both work in manufacturing but have very different roles.
A process engineer is like a chef. They create a recipe to produce an item, whether it’s almond milk or a metal pipe. They work with chemicals and raw materials to create a chemical reaction that results in the end product.
Manufacturing engineers have the job to build the processes. They take the formula that the process engineer created and create the manufacturing process to produce that end product as efficiently as possible.
A Typical Manufacturing Engineering Job Description
The job description of a manufacturing engineer will depend on the company and the type of manufacturing engineering job. This is a typical manufacturing engineering job description:
Our company is in search of a manufacturing engineer who can create and improve manufacturing processes for our line of auto products.
Day to Day Job Duties:
- Research current manufacturing processes and interview floor workers to determine opportunities to improve efficiency.
- Understand product manufacturing requirements and apply project management methodologies to improve processes.
- Communicate manufacturing concepts and plans to a number of different audiences, from floor workers to members of the C-suite.
- Show improvements in cost-savings and efficiency.
- Create processes to minimize downtime and improve quality control.
- Develop and implement a plan for manufacturing equipment maintenance and repairs while minimizing downtime.
- Creates and maintains all manufacturing documentation.
- Manage security risks to software and automation processes.
- Ensure all manufacturing processes are in compliance with state, local, and federal laws and regulations.
Bachelor’s degree in Engineering. An advanced degree in business or engineering is a plus.
Leadership, CAD modeling, Supervision and Management, Product Development, Communicating highly technical concepts to a variety of audiences, Basic understanding of manufacturing processes and methodologies.
Agile or similar project management methodologies is a bonus.
How to Become a Manufacturing Engineer
How can you become a manufacturing engineer? It starts with your education. If you’re still in high school, you’ll want to take courses in advanced math and science.
If you’re going to jump from one career to another, you’ll need to go back to school. Most manufacturing engineer jobs require a bachelor’s degree in engineering.
Some companies specifically want manufacturing engineering majors, but a degree in industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, and process engineering are also beneficial.
While you’re in school you have to start thinking about your career path. You want to leave school with as much real-world experience as possible.
You should start by getting an internship at a nearby manufacturing plant. That will help you understand some of the basics of manufacturing.
There are many different types of industries where you can apply your skills. Food, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, automotive, technology, and home goods industries all depend on manufacturing.
Since manufacturing engineering jobs are in demand, many plants have programs in place to hire engineers right out of college.
Depending on your company and the type of work they do, you may need to get your P.E. license. That’s a professional engineering license, which you get by passing an exam and getting licensed in your state.
Manufacturing Engineer Career Path
Are you interested in becoming a manufacturing engineer? At this point, you’re probably wondering what the career possibilities are.
You don’t want to be stuck doing the same thing day in and day out your entire career. Fortunately, that’s not the case with manufacturing engineering jobs.
Part of the path will depend on your employer and the types of programs they offer.
For some engineers in manufacturing, they’ll start off with a job in manufacturing engineering. Most engineers will be here for 2-3 years, learning the ropes of the job.
Some companies have programs where they’ll rotate engineers in and out of different departments. You could spend the first six months in an operational role and the next six months in a process engineering role.
In the meantime, you can supplement that valuable experience with certifications or advanced degrees on your resume. You could take ISO training courses and courses in business.
Your experience, leadership, and willingness to grow will make you an attractive candidate for management. The more you understand about the entire manufacturing process and the various roles and functions, the more valuable you’ll be to your company.
You should understand supply chain management, plant management, quality control, process improvement, scheduling, and operations management.
Experience managing people and budgets will be an incredible experience. You’ll be set up to become a plant president and eventually make your way to the C-suite of your company.
Working for One Company vs. Several
Should you stay with one company or should you gain experience in several companies?
There is value in both. Working with one organization you get a very deep understanding of how the organization runs.
The danger with that is that you can get complacent in certain processes. You don’t want to become the person who says, “this is how we’ve always done it.”
If you do decide to work with one company and work your way up the corporate ladder, connect with other manufacturing engineers and learn from them.
There is a ton of value in learning about other processes and functions in manufacturing. You can bring the best of what you learn to your organization.
The alternative to working with only one company is to move around every couple of years. You can pick up lessons of what works and what doesn’t work at each company. That experience can be valuable, and you can move your way up the ladder as you jump from company to company.
That way, you don’t have to wait for someone to retire or leave the company in order to get a promotion.
As you can tell by reading the manufacturing engineering job description, you can start an exciting, challenging, and lucrative career in manufacturing engineering.
There are many types of manufacturing engineering jobs, and they all have a path up the corporate ladder that leads to executive management if you choose.
If you want to become a manufacturing engineer, start by getting your degree and networking with people in the industry. You’ll be surprised by the doors you open while you’re still in school. You can have a job right away.
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