Production Supervisors are responsible for the oversight and execution of day-to-day production activities, usually for a particular skill set on a project. The end product is dependent on their team, so they’ll need to have prior shipbuilding experience to understand the processes involved to offer advice and ensure that the project runs according to plan. But what does it take to be a Production Supervisor? Louise Lees, Maritime Recruitment Specialist, shares six top qualities that all successful Production Supervisors have.

1. Good communication skills

As a Production Supervisor, a large part of your role will involve spending time working on the shop floor and on the build of the ships, giving you first-hand knowledge of the project. Therefore, strong communication skills are key. You need to be able to communicate with the team, stakeholders, and decision makers at all levels to discuss the project in detail; for example, how it’s progressing, if it’s on schedule, and if there are any issues.

2. Confident decision making

In the shipbuilding industry there are constant deadlines, which may be hindered by unexpected questions arising at short notice and requirements which change the course of the project. The best Production Supervisors are decisive in pressurised situations and ensure that these deadlines are met. Of course the ability to be decisive relies on confidence and knowledge; a lot of which will come from experience and having been through similar situations where you’ve learnt the best course of action. Experienced Supervisors are able to assess what the project is likely to involve so that they can pre-empt potential issues and quickly decide on the best solutions.

3. Ability to act quickly

Whilst decision making is important in becoming a successful Production Supervisor, you should also be able to quickly respond to questions from your team and management. Reacting promptly to challenging situations, such as a mistake or delay on the project, is also crucial to ensure that everything gets resolved as quickly as possible. Being alert is an important trait in this role; major problems can occur within an instant that can have an effect on the future of a project, so being able to anticipate these and act fast is vital.

4. Effective planning

The Production Supervisors at the top of their game are constantly planning ahead; they motivate the whole team to deliver the finished product on time and, ideally, under budget. In addition to planning the future of the project, experienced Production Supervisors should also dedicate some time to sharing knowledge with the next generation of shipbuilders to enable long-term projects to be successfully delivered even after the current engineering workforce retires.

5. An eye for detail

Undoubtedly, one of the most important attributes Production Supervisors need is attention to detail. As with other types of manufacturing, you’re physically putting various pieces of material together to create a much larger structure. It’s essential that you’re able to interpret drawings and understand the specifications exactly to avoid repercussions further down the product life cycle.

6. Ability to take ownership

Being in a decision making position, a Production Supervisor needs to be confident in their abilities and be able to take ownership of their work and the decisions they make. Having this confidence allows you to correctly advise and manage your team as you work alongside them on the project, and understand how to correct any potential mistakes. Doing so will ensure that the final product is completed on time and to a high standard.

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