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Wednesday, 22 June 2011



Last updated: 30/09/2017, 2 min read

The Role Of Production Engineer In Small Factories


Introduction - tasks



In many small factories, the production engineer apart from his/her main work also has some other responsibilities. So, he/she is also the quality manager and even the technical manager or the R & D director of the factory (“all in one” package). In such a case, the main tasks that he/she will have to fulfill can be summarized below:
  1. Supervise the sound operation of the production line.
  2. He/she must accomplish the schedule of the orders in time.
  3. He/she should try to reduce the unexpected failures in the machines.
  4. He/she must reduce the production cost.
  5. He/she should optimize the production procedure (even if this involves R & D work).


Required time



In the question "how much time a new production engineer will need to accomplish the tasks above," the straight answer is that it depends on his/her skills. However, the following chart could provide some insight: 

Degree Of Difficulty   Required Time

I In the whole procedure four stages are easily distinguished in the diagram:
  1. Adaptation time is the necessary time in order the engineer to understand how the factory works.
  2. In-depth knowledge of the various factory’s procedures. How fast the engineer will reach to the next stage depends on his/her skills. 
  3. Organization time is the necessary time to organize the production line. It is strongly related to the degree of collaboration with the rest personnel.
  4. Optimization time is the time required to optimize the production procedure. Due to experience from the previous stages, the level of difficulty is decreasing with time.
The chart above could be used only as a rough guide. Each engineer corresponds to a different diagram. That’s why the chart has no numeric values. Each engineer has his/her own values that make this chart unique.



What kind of data/information he/she will need?



To face the demanding tasks of a small factory, the new engineer will have to acquire some necessary information. The type of available information depends on the organization of the factory, but in most cases, he/she might be able to find the following:
  • Data of the products orders from previous months/years.
  • Production data of the previous months/years.
  • Explanation of the current production procedure.
  • Regular maintenance schedule and even information about the common failures of the factory’s machines.
  • Invoices of the raw materials and in general, product cost estimations.


What he/she will be able to do? - Epilogue



Having acquired the information described above, the production engineer will be able to do some or even all of the following:
  • Record the existence situation (how much products are produced, how many orders the factory has, how much is the production cost, etc.).
  • Prepare a model to simulate the product demand based on the orders of the previous months/years.
  • Solve the problems of factory’s equipment – organize regular maintenance schedule (if it does not exists).
  • Coordinate the production to minimize: a) the dead time, b) the products cost and c) the energy cost.
  • Monitor the progress of the production procedure due to the application of new techniques (from R & D work).
Of course, each factory is unique, as well as each production engineer. So, everything that was pointed out above could be only considered as the tip of the iceberg regarding this work.

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Mechanical Engineer (Ph.D. cand.), M.Sc. Cranfield University, Dipl.-Ing. Aristotle University, Thessaloniki - Greece.
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