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A career as a manufacturing, production employee is not only rewarding, but can lead to many opportunities such as supervisory roles, quality inspector, production scheduling, and manufacturing engineering.  To start your career in manufacturing, some basic, often overlooked, skills are needed.  Focus on these and you will find your window of opportunity wide open.

First, and probably the most important, is reliability.  The production employee is an important cog in the whole manufacturing system.  Production schedules are set in order to run an efficient facility.  Having a reliable staff that comes to work as scheduled and on-time, allows for an efficient work plan to be the norm, contributing to on-time delivery, product quality, as well as healthy team morale.

Attention to Detail
Attention to detail is a skill necessary for life and is especially useful in manufacturing.  Since the day-to-day workload of manufacturing positions can be so diverse, the ability to be detail-oriented is certainly beneficial and results in higher quality output.   It is a special individual who can work both efficiently and with high quality.

Focused Work Ethic
The ability to stay on task and work effectively throughout the workday improves one’s overall output and quality.  Within a day, repetitive work can become uninteresting.  It takes worker focus to pay attention to the task at hand and to continue to be efficient and safe as the day progresses.  Remaining diligent and attentive to the work in front of you is essential.

Communication Skills
Who would have known that something we learned as a baby, and then a toddler, would be so important?  The ability to communicate goes way beyond speaking.  In fact listening, and furthermore digesting and incorporating what others say to us, is key.  The ability to hear and interpret correctly what is said is sometimes the most difficult skill needed to be an effective worker.  Whether it is supervisor instruction or feedback, listening carefully is essential to production work.

Continuous Improvement Mentality
The ability to analyze and question is often easiest when a task is new.  It is unfamiliar at this point and easy to ask why and look for improvements.  But often times, it is more difficult to be critical of a process or method once it has become “the usual.”   The true talent lies with a person who can continually look for and push for improvement no matter if new or “the usual.”

Hiring personnel, supervisors, and production managers will certainly have their own checklist of requirements for production work.  But this short list of skills, once mastered, will help you to succeed in obtaining production work and grow within your chosen career.