The assembly supervisor in a manufacturing environment is responsible for directing the activities of employees on the production floor. Supervisors may come to the position from various career paths. For example, some assembly supervisors have a bachelor’s degree in the company’s industry or business administration. A worker may move into the position after gaining experience working on the assembly line. Workers who become familiar with all aspects of the production department can work their way up the company ladder into a supervisory position.
The assembly supervisor ensures that the production department meets goals by scheduling employees and reducing inefficiencies on the floor. This may include hiring new employees, purchasing new equipment, developing new production methods and training workers. Supervisors also strive to reduce costs by eliminating scrap and waste in the manufacturing of products.
An assembly supervisor must have computer skills to prepare reports, create spreadsheets for management, and communicate with other departments in the company. A supervisor must have strong verbal communication skills to lead and direct the activities of workers in the organization. A successful supervisor helps workers grow and develop their skills in the company. An assembly supervisor must be accessible to employees and help them to overcome obstacles and problems on the job.
Interpersonal skills also are an essential part of the assembly supervisor’s job. The person in a supervisory role may have to deal with difficult situations, such as disciplining employees or handling disagreements and conflict on the production floor. An assembly supervisor also must lead the group to meet production goals.
Supervisors must continually strive to increase production efficiency by working to improve the process. Techniques such as lean manufacturing and total quality management are some of the ways a production floor can reduce waste and improve production processes to meet schedules and goals. These techniques allow the assembly supervisor to train employees in all jobs on the floor, which allows greater flexibility when dealing with changing demands of the customer. Supervisors are able to assign employees where they are most needed to meet the goals of the organization.
A production floor and, thus, the assembly supervisor, also must monitor the quality of the products, as well as the quantity. In-process inspections and quality audits are two methods that an assembly supervisor can implement to ensure the quality of the final product. Total quality management focuses on continuous improvement of the processes and production methods. These techniques often involve creating teams of employees to work through defect and scrap issues, which increases output on the floor.