Manufacturing Technician

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Manufacturing Technician


When it comes down to the details of running a business, cost effectiveness and production efficiency are two areas that must be continually analyzed and improved. Even in companies and organizations that run like well-oiled machines, there is always room for suggestions or else, just a better way of doing something. This is the field that manufacturing technicians work in. They assist engineers and technologists by gathering and analyzing information about how people, machines and materials are used in organizations to ensure that products and services are delivered in the most cost-effective and timely manner possible. They are also involved in troubleshooting, maintenance and repair work.

Sometimes called industrial engineering technicians, manufacturing technicians concern themselves with people, machines and materials. This career field combines engineering with management training and seeks to develop effective, organized work systems that are both people-oriented and cost-conscious. Like other engineering technicians, they work in specialized areas such as research and development, manufacturing, sales, quality control and maintenance. Therefore, they may perform or assist in completing daily tasks, such as examining the overall production process of an organization to determine best practices. Also, they will introduce statistical performance measurements to improve operations and analyze materials handling methods and recommend ergonomic solutions to problems, safe work practices and cost efficiencies.

Most manufacturing technicians are drawn to this field because of the diversity involved in the job. They take on projects from significantly different organizations. From a healthcare institution to a pulp and paper factory to a clothing company, the possibilities are endless. Some technicians work with engineers to help companies decide on a prime location, or the layout of an office, including what machines to install or even how to utilize staff members effectively. Again, this is all based on economic efficiency and maximum work productivity.

A great deal of the career deals with studying human behavior and human tendencies. In designing the layout of a production line for an stereo manufacturer, the checkout counter for a supermarket, the organization of office work flow for a financial company or the materials handling system for a pulp and paper plant, the manufacturing technician must consider the physical requirements, cost parameters and the physiological and behavioral performance of the human operators. When a company is either starting out or needs some fixing, a manufacturing technician will help technologists and act as their efficiency expert. Accordingly, they are required to constantly update their skills and knowledge in order to keep up with technological advancements in this quickly changing field.
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  Average Earnings  
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Median Salary:
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  Interests and Skills  
Manufacturing technicians have a natural aptitude for mathematics and science and can visualize abstract concepts and relationships. They possess excellent communication and leadership skills because they interact with clients on a daily basis. They must be good at troubleshooting, but maintain a positive outlook in order to deal with the constant stream of problems faced daily. Finally, paying strict attention to details is just as important as persistence.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Assist in the design of plant layouts
  • Conduct work measurement or other studies
  • Collect and compile operational or experimental data and assist in the development of estimates, schedules, specifications and reports
  • Collect and analyze data and samples in support of quality assurance and industrial health and safety programs
  • Develop manufacturing and processing procedures and variables, set machine or equipment controls, oversee production and inspect processes
  • Analyze production problems such as an inadequate supply of components, materials or personnel
  • Troubleshoot and inspect sites and make suggestions regarding these findings
  • Manufacturing technicians usually work regular hours in offices, research labs and on production floors. A majority of their time is spent on the computer, preparing layouts, statistical studies and analyses. Some work in teams with engineers and technologists. Some technicians may travel to plants and construction sites or attend conferences to upgrade their knowledge and skills.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Manufacturing technicians generally work as full-time employees for public and private companies or sometimes on a freelance contractual basis. In the private sector, they work for industrial consulting firms, manufacturing and processing companies, insurance companies, financial institutions, transportation companies and any other industry that requires some help from an efficiency consultant. Government organizations, hospitals and educational institutions generally hire manufacturing technicians in the public sector.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Since manufacturing technicians have the option of specializing in so many components of manufacturing industries, advancements are plentiful and foreseeable. Technicians are assistants by job title but as they acquire experience and further knowledge, they will be given more responsibility. Experienced manufacturing technicians may advance to become production managers or quality control supervisors and inspectors. With further training and education, technicians can also become industrial or manufacturing engineering technologists.

  Educational Paths  
Completion of a one- or two-year college program in manufacturing or industrial engineering technology is usually required for manufacturing technicians. A certification in industrial or manufacturing engineering technology or a related field is available through associations of engineering or applied science technologists and technicians and may be required for some positions.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002,

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