What Does a Manufacturing Engineer Do? (Plus Skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 10 December 2022

Published 4 October 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Manufacturing engineers are an important part of the manufacturing industry. These professionals help to ensure that manufacturing processes are safe and effective. Understanding the responsibilities that come with this role can help you determine if this career is right for you.

Related: What Is Pharmaceutical Engineering? (With Essential Skills)

What does a manufacturing engineer do?

Manufacturing engineers evaluate, monitor and improve the operations within a manufacturing company. They also identify potential hazards and implement solutions to address them. They can work in many different types of industries, and their duties include:

  • studying manufacturing operations to identify strengths and weaknesses

  • identifying potential risks or hazards in assembly line operations

  • designing manufacturing processes for a new product, which may include designing entire factories

  • creating protocols to maximise product line efficiency

  • working with the product design team to conceptualise new products

  • working with design teams to create prototypes

  • providing financial and marketing teams with information to affect pricing and advertising decisions

  • assisting in inventory control efforts

  • helping to procure raw materials

Related: What Is an Automation Engineer? (With Necessary Skills)

What do I need in order to be a manufacturing engineer?

To be a manufacturing engineer, one needs to have the right education, training, certification and practical experience.

Education

A bachelor's degree in manufacturing engineering is a typical requirement for this role. Common fields of study include:

  • Mechanical engineering

  • Industrial engineering

  • Chemical engineering

  • Environmental engineering

While not an industry requirement, a postgraduate degree would be beneficial to those serious about a career in engineering. Obtaining a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in addition to an undergraduate engineering degree would stand one in good stead for a leadership position in an engineering firm.

Related: What Does a Product Engineer Do? Role, Skills and Salary

Practical experience

Typically, manufacturing engineers who possess a certain amount of practical work experience are more employable. Attempt to secure hands-on projects or internships whilst completing your education.

Once hired, manufacturing engineers would receive additional, company-specific training from their employer.

Licensing and certification

If you're considering this profession, it's important to understand the licencing requirements for manufacturing engineers in your country. This may be particularly important for engineers working in the public sector.

What skills do manufacturing engineers need to have?

These are the skills manufacturing engineers normally need to have.

Technical skills

Manufacturing engineers need to be trained in a variety of IT skills, as they might be expected to use computer-simulated modelling programmes as well as mathematical design programmes. They would also be expected to understand the mechanics of the equipment in the factories and plants they work in.

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Analytical thinking

Analytical thinking is an important skill for manufacturing engineers, as they are frequently tasked with identifying problems and implementing solutions in the manufacturing process.

Communication

Manufacturing engineers do not work alone - they have to collaborate with designers, testers, systems experts, security experts, researchers, salespeople, marketing employees, accountants, and plant operators in the process of building a product. Therefore, clear and effective communication is an important skill.

Creativity

Manufacturing is a creative process, so innovation and the ability to think outside the box are essential skills for manufacturing engineers.

Related: What Does an Engineer Do? With Steps for Getting Started

How to become a manufacturing engineer

These are normally needed to become a manufacturing engineer.

1. Get educated

Consider starting your journey by obtaining a Bachelor of Science in manufacturing engineering, industrial engineering, systems engineering or mechanical engineering.

2. Gain experience

Whilst you are still in school, search for internships in your field of choice.

3. Get certified

There are an array of certifications related to manufacturing that aspiring manufacturing engineers can work towards having, depending on their field of choice. They may choose to specialise in programming languages, operating systems or software test procedures.

Related: 14 Types of Engineering Jobs (With Salary Information)

Where do manufacturing engineers work?

Here are some examples of places where manufacturing engineers can find work:

  • Hardware companies

  • Aeronautical firms

  • Furniture and home goods companies

  • Pharmaceutical companies

  • Research institutions

  • Chemical companies

  • Automotive companies

Related: What Is a Design Engineer? Definition and Steps To Become One

A sample job advertisement

Here is an example of a job advertisement targeted at manufacturing engineers.

Our chemical research company seeks an experienced manufacturing engineer to oversee the establishment of a new factory line for a hair loss supplement product we are developing. The qualified candidate will have a bachelor's degree in an engineering field (manufacturing preferred) and at least 10 years of experience. The job entails:

  • Designing the new factory line

  • Pricing all required equipment and tools

  • Determining manufacturing methods

  • Outlining required workflow

  • Ensuring safety and compliance

  • Procuring and costing raw materials

  • Setting standards and goals

Disclaimer: The model shown is for illustration purposes only.

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