A production operator works as part of an assembly line or works on individual production jobs from start to finish. The production operator is involved in the assembly or creation of products, such as cars or computers, and upholds quality and safety standards during the process. Special skills are sometimes required, like the ability to solder or weld. Often the worker performs repetitive assembly tasks, for example, filling bottles or monitoring machinery.
The role is similar to that of a machine operator, production line worker or assembly worker. A production operator often works in a production assembly line, or if job or batch production is involved, will work on a production job through to its completion. Duties vary from company to company and can include assembly work, forklift truck driving, packing and sorting parts. The operator is part of the manufacturing process and works as part of the manufacturing team, to ensure that products are produced according to specifications.
Work is usually of a repetitive nature, such as screwing lids on bottles or skinning chickens. The production operator must uphold quality standards set out by the company at all times and adhere to safety regulations and procedures. Safety measures include keeping the workplace tidy and wearing protective goggles. Work is sometimes arranged in shift patterns and there is the possibility of night shifts depending on the company. There is usually manual labor involved and sometimes heavy lifting.
A production operator is frequently expected to use machines such as lifting equipment and hand tools. Knowledge of industry standards of production is an advantage so that products are produced to the same or better quality than that of competitors. The worker is sometimes required to keep records, for example, of output or stock levels.
Educational requirements to become a production operator are a high school diploma or GED as a US industry standard. The worker often receives additional training on the job, allowing him to work on different parts of the production line. Special skills can be a prerequisite, such as the ability to operate a lathe. Simple tasks can be expected, such bending or shaping metal, inserting components into a product or tightening screws.
Products can be handled by many production operators in a production line, each performing a different task to create the finished product. In some companies, the production operator job title encompasses a supervisory role over other production workers, similar to that of a team leader. Instead of solely performing assembly duties, people management skills are required to ensure that production runs smoothly.