A plant operations director typically focuses on ensuring efficient and cost-effective services and quality products through proper management of material and human resources, maintaining compliance with relevant federal and state laws, establishing positive working relationships with contractors and enhancing environmental safety. To secure this job, you need to earn at least a bachelor’s degree in building and construction, engineering, plant operations management or a closely related field and have a license to practice.
Because minimizing operating costs helps maximize profits, plant operations directors concentrate on identifying strategies to enhance working efficiency. For example, an operations director working in a hydroelectric power plant may collaborate with engineering technology experts to automate processes and produce more electricity using fewer resources. A smart plant operations director must schedule regular maintenance activities to keep machines in optimum working condition and have a reliable power back-up plan to avoid costly, unplanned outages.
A plant operations director emphasizes increasing the productivity levels of an operation. This helps raise profits and meet market demands. If a beverage company hires you for this position, for instance, you can focus on improving productivity through maintaining a skilled and competent workforce. You can review job descriptions to help employees understand the requirements of their positions and organize periodic training programs to update workers’ technical skills. An effective plant operation director measures, analyzes and sets production goals and objectives to improve performance.
Plant operations directors must maintain adherence to the Occupational Health and Safety Act to avoid noncompliance inspections from government agencies, such as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. For example, a director working in a chemical manufacturing plant must identify workplace hazards, classify the dangers of each chemical and communicate this information with employees. Plant operations can collaborate with legal experts to inspect workplaces, identify violations and make appropriate adjustments. These professionals also must ensure the quality of products meets industry standards.
Industrial research helps plant operations directors obtain crucial information on issues such as quality assurance, operations management, workplace safety and process automation. A plant operations director working in a construction firm may conduct a research to study how companies can enhance environmental safety and improve living conditions of residents. This often involves conducting interviews, analyzing case studies and conducting laboratory experiments. You can publish your research findings in journals and magazines.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Industrial Production Managers
- Emerson: Operating More Efficient Power Plants
- East Tennessee State University: Job Descriptions
- Vorne: Improve Productivity
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration: Chemical Hazard Communication
- International Journal of Operations & Production Management: Closing the Gap: a Polemic on Plant-Based Research in Operations Management
- Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images