A well-planned and controlled manufacturing process is essential for quality and conforming goods. Mistakes in production yield delays, customers with unmet expectations and, for the manufacturer, lost business and perhaps lawsuits. Production clerks have the job of preventing these problems through planning and tracking production of goods. The following job description of production clerks explains the specific duties, skills and background of these indispensable production specialists.
What Does a Production Clerk Do?
A production clerk wears the hats of planner, recorder, scheduler, monitor and information organizer. The functions and skills of production clerks lead to an efficient and successful fulfillment of production orders.
Production Clerk Job Description for Resume – Responsibilities
- Review work orders, instructions and specifications
- Determine quantity and level of workers, supplies and equipment needed to fulfill production orders
- Schedule deadlines or projected time and date of completion of production or stages thereof
- Project costs of labor, materials and expenses in connection with production
- Inspect products periodically to determine compliance with specifications and standards set forth in order or otherwise as provided by company
- Compile information on quantities of items produced, supplies used, items produced per hour or day, and total worker hours spent
- Receive, label and store supplies, tools or equipment used in production
- Assist in packaging products for delivery
- Report to supervisors backlogs and delays in production and shortages of supplies or labor
- Reschedule production according to delays and changes in production priorities, in consultation with supervisors
- Organize and maintain production files by type of item, project or other criteria
Production Clerk Required/Essential Skills
Clerical. The production clerk job description involves clerical duties. These skills include the ability to organize files, prepare forms or templates, record information and verify the accuracy of orders and other documents involved in the production process. In performing clerical functions, the production clerk typically uses word processors, databases and spreadsheets.
Communication. Communication skills for production clerks involve writing clear, concise and accurate reports, instructing production workers and relaying suggestions to supervisors, sales staff and others in the organization.
Detail Oriented. Production clerks need the ability to examine many components of products to determine compliance with standards. Gaps in measurements or even lost minor parts can undermine a product’s functionality and expose the company to claims for contract or warranty violations. Skills in tracking details also include ensuring sufficient monetary, human and physical resources to fulfill an order.
Math. With the aid of computer applications or calculators, production clerks must have skills in calculating production rates, costs per goods sold, projected and actual profits or losses from a particular project or method in completing it. Math skills also include knowing measurements of length, width, height and volume to ensure the product conforms to specifications.
Physical. Some of the duties require production clerks to walk to the production floor, warehouse or supply areas. Clerks must be able to withstand constant noise from machines and people and sometimes very warm conditions in the plant.
Becoming a Production Clerk
The journey to a production clerk job runs through formal education and work history in the manufacturing sector. Candidates for production clerk positions need to build knowledge and experience in accounting, planning and tracking projects. Destinations along the way to being a production clerk may include community or four-year colleges and settings in production facilities or warehouses.
Education and Training
At a minimum, production clerks hold a high school diploma. One out of four have earned a bachelor’s degree and another 15 percent received a post-secondary certificate, says O*NET.
For college graduates, majors usually include business administration. Courses may include operations research, statistics and accounting. Production clerks who hold associate degrees usually must take accounting courses as well, emphasizing management and cost accounting.
Computer courses in word processing, databases and spreadsheet applications also help qualify these workers for many of the clerical aspects of the job description.
Depending on the manufacturer, a production clerk likely needs a prior work history in cost or management accounting or bookkeeping. This work history helps demonstrate the math and performance planning and tracking skills necessary to work as a production clerk.
Applicants for these positions should also have prior experience in production or industrial settings. These jobs may include serving as a loader, production worker, picker or materials mover.
Production clerk schedules are normally full-time. As manufacturing facilities, vendors and retail establishments operate around the clock, a production clerk may have late night or early morning shifts, as well as daytime hours. Weekend work or overtime may also be possible, especially when production deadlines approach.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment among “Production, planning and expediting clerks” should increase by two percent, translating to 6,300 additional positions by 2024. As of 2014, the occupation numbered 304,600.
Computers, bar codes and other technology helps perform many of the recordkeeping and tracking functions of production clerks. However, scheduling and planning still require human actors, so technology will not substantially suppress hiring of production clerks.
The overall decline in the health of manufacturing sectors may contribute to lower than average job growth among production clerks. In particular, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects overall a decline of 814,000 manufacturing jobs overall through 2024. The rate of decline may not be as sharp, as the project drop from 2014 to 2024 is only 40 percent of that experienced between 2004 and 2014. In fact, the level of real output in manufacturing may rise from $5.4 billion in 2014 to $6.6 billion in2024.
Production clerks jobs should maintain a presence in the economy. The important work of scheduling and adjusting resources during production cannot occur solely through computers and machines. Humans must anticipate and react promptly to shortages of supplies and workers, weather and other causes of production delays. The job responsibilities of tracking expenses and use of materials helps assure customers and the manufacturer that orders will be fulfilled.