What Does a Production Planner Do? (Plus Skills and Salary)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published September 29, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Manufacturing companies often employ production planners to help plan and manage the facility's production lines. Production planners have specific skills and education that help them understand production needs and how to plan, manage and implement new methods. Understanding what a production manager is, what they do and the credentials they need in the workplace can help you decide if it's a good career path for you. In this article, we learn what a production planner does and explore various aspects of their role, including essential skills, salary, education and work environment.

What is a production planner?

A production planner is a professional who oversees production in a manufacturing plant and helps plan for production needs. They work closely with managers, team members and company executives to identify the production needs of the business and help set quotas and other important metrics for production. They manage, organize and solve problems as they develop, modify and direct production schedules to ensure the timely delivery of products.

Related: FAQs: What Is Manufacturing Overhead?

What does a production planner do?

Production planners typically have various duties, including:

Coordinating product workflows

Production managers coordinate workflows for one or more products. They detail the necessary production equipment, raw materials and labor needs for production. The production planner typically submits a report on the product workflow needs and determines the timeframe in which the production staff can finish a product order.

Prioritizing production and operations

Production planners help identify priority products and operations to optimize workflows and meet order requirements. This might mean prioritizing specific client orders for business relationships or to meet strict time requirements. The production planner decides which products take priority and coordinates the projects' needs on the production floor.

Addressing production issues and setbacks

Production planners also address any issues, setbacks or quality control concerns with the production process. This might include recalling products for quality control, identifying production setbacks and creating solutions or identifying additional needs for a project. For example, if a project requires more labor than planned, the production planner might request more employees to work the production line.

Arranging raw material needs

Production planners help plan for the needs of projects by coordinating raw materials needs with warehouse and shipping staff. This might include submitting raw material needs reports each day and recording which raw materials the production line uses, the lot number for each batch and how much of the product the team uses each day. This is crucial to the production process because accurate raw materials requests ensure that production continues.

Related: 11 Jobs in Advanced Manufacturing

Researching output information

Production planners find and study output information during the production process to help make the process more efficient. This includes collecting direct data, using software to collect and analyze production output and studying quality control data. Production planners use specific tools and metrics to determine production efficiency, the consistency of quality and cost of production.

Submitting status reports

Production planners typically report to production managers or other supervisory staff. They can submit oral or written reports on production quality, consistency, errors and any other information that affects production and the company's revenue. They might take part in production meetings to brainstorm new production methods or ways to reduce production costs and increase company profits.

Attending to production paperwork

Production planners typically prepare, complete and file production paperwork for review by company executives or managerial staff. This can include production reports, quality control reports, lot number and batch tracking information and materials reports. This information is crucial to identifying the company's overall production costs and provides a template for production cost reduction efforts.

Related: 6 Types of Manufacturing Processes

Collaborating with quality control, production managers and staff

Production managers often collaborate with warehouse staff, production and other managers, production staff and quality control departments. They work as a team to create a high-quality, high-efficiency production process for the company. This includes communicating needs, errors or expectations, attending meetings and submitting correct paperwork to each department.

Salary and job outlook for a production planner

A senior production planner can typically earn an annual salary of around $76,183 per year. Experience and additional credentials may afford an opportunity for a higher salary. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't provide job outlook information for a production planner. It does relate information about an industrial production manager, a position similar in that it also oversees production operations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment of industrial production managers to grow 5% between 2020 and 2030.

Essential skills for a production planner

Production planners need various skills for the job, including:

Time-management skills

Production managers typically work under deadlines and plan for projects with strict completion dates. This requires significant time-management skills. Production planners understand how to allocate specific blocks of time to various project requirements and plan production needs to correlate with deadlines. For example, a production planner might understand that a certain production project needs an additional two weeks' production time to account for slower deliveries due to supply chain problems.

Organizational skills

Production planners use organizational skills to help keep production projects, raw materials, paperwork and processes organized. This includes tracking important production information using spreadsheets or company software, filing paperwork in the correct places and organizing production lines for maximum efficiency. Organizational skills also help the production planner manage their time and collaborate with others.

Interpersonal skills

As part of a production team, planners often interact with various team members team to coordinate efforts. This requires interpersonal skills, such as verbal and nonverbal communication, writing and reading competence and collaboration abilities. Production planners are skilled in effective listening, how to communicate boundaries and how to resolve conflict.

Logistics skills

Production planners understand the logistics of manufacturing and accounting for manufacturing needs. This includes planning for the transportation of raw materials to the production line, material and production costs and any other production information. They also understand how the company's supply chain works and how delays or errors in the supply chain might affect production.

Related: 13 Types of Warehouse Positions

Education for a production planner

Production planners typically hold at least a bachelor's degree in supply chain management, business management or other related field. A bachelor's degree helps form a foundation of knowledge in managing supply chains, production requirements and internal business operations. Some production planners may advance to their position without a degree by starting in production planning or supply chain management.

Work environment for a production planner

Production planners typically work in manufacturing plants or warehouses. Often, planners work a full-time schedule of 40 hours per week. To conduct their duties, planners often work in a variety of locations throughout the day, from the production floor to storage warehouses to an office desk or cubicle. They work both on their feet, walking around the production area, and sitting at a desk.

Explore more articles