11 Skills Those Entering the
Manufacturing Industry Need

See also: Transferable Skills

Planning on a career in the manufacturing industry? This can be an excellent industry to enter because there is always work available in such an in-demand industry, there are many specialisms to consider, and the work can be lucrative. Working in manufacturing is quite different from your typical office job, but you will still need skills so knowing what these are and then working on these will put you in a good position to find work and climb the ladder in this industry.

Here are a few of the main skills that you will need in the manufacturing industry:

1. Excellent Communication Skills

Good communication skills are essential in all areas of work, but particularly in manufacturing, where you will play a role in a fast-paced, complex, and challenging operation. Being able to communicate effectively is vital in this environment. Of course, this involves being able to express yourself clearly and succinctly. However, listening is perhaps the more important skill (particularly at the start of your career), so making sure that you are a good listener will be key and is a valuable attribute that employers look for.

2. The Ability to Work as Part of a Team

Manufacturing is all about teamwork as when everyone performs their role and integrates with the team, the operation will run smoothly and efficiently. This means that you need to be able to work well alongside others, be a team player, and develop strong relationships with co-workers whether they are your compatriots or not. This is important because if one would compare manufacturing in Mexico vs China, for example, one would find many differences, but one key similarity is the importance of teamwork.

3. Leadership Skills

While being able to work as part of a team is vital in manufacturing, it is also important that you demonstrate leadership skills, particularly if you want to climb the career ladder. These opportunities will come later in your career, but you can demonstrate leadership skills and potential by taking the initiative, supporting your colleagues, and by seeing “the big picture”.

4. Work Ethic

The work in manufacturing can be demanding, repetitive, and time-sensitive, and you may have to work long and/or unsociable hours. Therefore, to thrive in the manufacturing industry, you need to develop a strong work ethic and always be able to put in 100% at work. Some people seem to naturally possess this attribute, but it is possible to improve your work ethic, and this will help you to excel and impress any employer.

5. Time Management

Time management is another important skill to master for those considering a career in manufacturing. Typically, a role will involve many different tasks, so being able to manage your time effectively and prioritize your workload will help you to perform to a high standard each day and hit your targets.

6. Attention to Detail

Many tasks will also require careful attention to detail, so you need to possess this skill and be able to focus for long periods. The work can be fast-paced and precise, so attention to detail is vital for not only performing your role but also for working safely in a potentially dangerous environment (this is particularly true if operating heavy machinery).

7. Critical Thinking

Problems can constantly arise in manufacturing, so being able to think critically and on your feet is a real skill that will help you to get ahead. You won’t always have the time to go to a supervisor with a problem, so being able to make in-the-moment decisions is a real skill and one which will allow you to stand out from the crowd.

8. Aptitude for Tech & Equipment

Manufacturing is an industry that relies heavily on technology and equipment, so it is important that you can be trained quickly and that you are confident with the relevant technology and equipment. Additionally, staying current could help you to make suggestions to improve the business, which will certainly fast track your career.

9. Dependability

When you work in manufacturing, you become a cog in a much larger machine, which means that you are a small yet integral part of the daily operation. Therefore, employers need to know that they can trust and depend on you to perform each and every day. This means that you need to arrive on time, put in 100% each day, and be able to work unsupervised. This is a seemingly minor skill but one which will be high on the list for employers because it can make such a big difference to the operation when you have a team of people who you can rely on.

10. Flexibility

As mentioned, there are many different areas of manufacturing and many various tasks that are carried out each day. Therefore, being flexible and both able and willing to take on different tasks is a valuable skill that could help you to get ahead in this industry. These days, roles in manufacturing often involve doing something different each day, so you need to be able to embrace this way of working if you are to thrive.

11. Physical Fitness

It is not a skill, so much, but being in a good physical condition is important in an industry which can be physically demanding. You do not need to be a bodybuilder but being strong and able to work on your feet for long periods is important if you want to succeed in this industry.

This means that you need to lead a healthy lifestyle, including getting enough sleep, regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and enjoying your time off work.

These are a few of the main skills that you will need to find work in the manufacturing industry. This can be a great industry to enter with many different career paths to follow, but it is also different from your typical office role. Hence, it is important to be aware of what skills employers look for so that you can work on any weaknesses and find ways to stand out from the crowd.

About the Author

James Daniels is a freelance writer, business enthusiast, a bit of a tech buff, and an overall geek. He is also an avid reader, who can while away hours reading and knowing about the latest gadgets and tech, whilst offering views and opinions on these topics.