Key Qualities Needed to Be a Successful IE Manager in Manufacturing Industries

What are the key qualities one needs to be a successful IE manager in the manufacturing industry? ... Asked by an OCS reader

You asked about key qualities to become a successful IE manager. If I am not wrong, you are already an Industrial Engineer. If you are an industrial engineer, you must have the desire to become an IE manager in the coming days. If you have spent sometimes in working an IE, you must have acquired skills and abilities to become an IE manager in your field. Still, there are some essential qualities including managerial skills and interpersonal skills which are important to become a successful manager inspective of the field of areas. All these skills can be learned.

One must have the following qualities to become a successful IE manager. OCS blog used to talk about garment manufacturing – so, I will take an example of the garment manufacturing industry.
  1. Good at mathematics and numbers. Every day he needs to play with numbers, like target, efficiency, productivity, overtime, bonus, costing, SMV, learning curve, planned efficiency, line balancing, etc. 
  2. Must have a learning attitude and accept the changes
  3. Understand product construction (garment construction) and production specifications well and have clear knowledge about the complete manufacturing process flow.
  4. Good at data analysis and good at working on Excel sheet
  5. Must have knowledge and know-know of industrial engineering/work-study tools, machines, and equipment used for making garments.
  6. Should believe and practice on tools like – The checklist, SOPs, To-do list, Scheduling and keeping Journal
  7. Ability to motivate subordinates and shop floor employees
  8. Ability to train others and good at giving instruction
  9. Must strive for the best and do continuous improvement
  10. Have time management skills, pro-active and good at planning and execution of a task
  11. Good interpersonal skills, communication skills, work presentation skills
Other than the above qualities, check the list of required organizational skillsets for becoming a manager.

To learn the industrial engineering subject and for the handy how-to guides, read my eBook Industrial Engineer's Digest. 

Comments by Manoj Tiwari: Being an IE practitioner and an academician preparing students for becoming better IE's, I recommend a few additional qualities (for sustainable improvements) mentioned in the article.
IE must be practical in approach. He should be good at how the improvements can be carried on the floor. There is not always 2+2=4 in practical environments. Of course, and IE has to have the mathematical and logical aptitude but also must be well aware of ground realities.
Whatever, improvements (maybe in terms of setting up targets, method improvement, process improvement or anything else), and an IE should be capable of making it happen on the floor. This adds to the credibility and acceptance of IE and improvements shall be sustainable.
Further, may of the IEs only focus on sewing. In my opinion, an IE should focus on overall process improvement, as there is huge potential for improvements (with IE interventions) in other areas as well such as Fabric & Trims store, Spreading & Cutting, Dry Process, Washing and Finishing & Packing as well.
And last but not the least and IE should be Tech-savvy, always ready to adapt newer/advanced tools, scientific ways, and next (best) practices, as that save efforts, time and resources immensely.

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