The Production Manager: Your Superstar Team Leader
Every remodeling company has a production manager who oversees all of the projects going on in the company. Most of the administrative duties that accompany each individual project are the responsibility of the production manager. Budgeting, customer requests as well as complaints, and managing field personnel are only a few major functions. Essentially, a production manager’s job is “getting the work done” after the sales contract is signed.
Since a production manager’s work encompasses so many administrative aspects, let’s analyze each in order to better understand what a production manager does. The three major functions of a production manager are:
1. Team Organizer
The production manager is responsible for building and supporting each project team. He or she must decide which employees would be best at specific project duties. If an employee needs further training, it is up to the production manager to see that instruction is provided to that employee. If more help is needed for a project, the production manager can look outside the company for subcontractors who can help complete the work. A production manager also has to find reliable suppliers and maintain good working relationships with them.
The production manager must solve any personnel problems that might occur in the field. For example, if there is a disagreement between two coworkers, the production manager should help straighten out the problem. It’s important that the team works together on a project. If people are arguing with each other, schedules might be thrown off, quality and workmanship might suffer, and staff morale might decrease. As a rule, the production manager should intervene immediately at the first sign of staff trouble to avoid jeopardizing the project.
2. Customer Service Representative
If a customer has a complaint or requests a change, the production manager must be alerted as soon as possible. If a customer wants to change part of the remodeling work, the production manager must see that the changes are communicated to the field staff. Any paperwork for changes, such as change orders and new supply orders, has to be written up by the production manager. Estimates for the changes need to be budgeted, and the production manager may have to re-analyze the estimate and actual cost budgets.
3. Job-Cost Watchdog
Bringing actual job costs into line with estimated job costs is crucial. The company won’t stay in business for long if each job costs more than what is budgeted. The production manager has to be sure that materials are bought for the price estimated or for less. He or she must also watch labor costs for accuracy.
Your production manager must have a working knowledge of technical remodeling skills but must also possess good management skills. For many new remodeling companies, the owner is the production manager since he or she has the technical background as well as the business management know-how.
However, as a company grows, the job of owning a business and handling all of the project work may become overwhelming. At that point, it’s a good idea to look for someone in the company who can be trained as the production manager or consider hiring someone to do the job.