20 Key Manufacturing Job Skills: How To Improve Them

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 2 July 2022

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.

Working in manufacturing provides a variety of job opportunities. Advancements in the manufacturing industry require candidates to develop a broad skill set to stand apart from other candidates. If you are interested in a career in manufacturing, understanding the skill these roles require and how they apply in the workplace can help you decide on areas to improve on.

In this article, we define manufacturing job skills, review examples of manufacturing skills, discuss how to improve your skills, look at these skills in the workplace and share tips to highlight your skills during the hiring process.

What Are Manufacturing Job Skills?

Manufacturing job skills are a combination of soft and technical skills that professionals in the manufacturing industry require to succeed. The manufacturing industry is evolving with more technology-driven automated procedures replacing manual assembly lines or practices. To keep up with this transformation, professionals require a combination of engineering skills, traditional manufacturing skills and soft skills.

20 Important Manufacturing Job Skills

Hiring managers look for candidates with skills from traditional manufacturing to technology-driven techniques. Candidates require a mix of traditional manufacturing knowledge and modern skills. Soft skills are also very vital for candidates to possess. Here are some examples of manufacturing skills hiring managers look for in candidates:

1. Digital fluency

Digital fluency refers to comprehending digital tools and applying them to new projects. Manufacturing experts require familiarity with various digital systems, digital technologies, data and AI systems. With manufacturing-related digital tools, you can use your computer and technology skills to assist a company in improving its software, hardware and digital networks to enhance manufacturing efficiency.

2. Big data analytics

Big data analytics skills help to organise and analyse large volumes of data. As many manufacturers continue to collect more data than ever, working with massive data sets and applying machine learning and statistical analysis is often required. Experience with data analytics skills can also help you set yourself apart from the competition.

3. Programming

Most employers look for manufacturing professionals who can write and understand code. Many advance manufacturing machines require proper programming to provide instructions for operation and troubleshooting. Professionals with coding and software development knowledge also find it easier to switch to more digital processes.

4. Lean manufacturing

Lean manufacturing improves the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of manufacturing processes. Professionals that use a lean manufacturing framework can better utilise resources and eliminate waste. These procedures also aim to reduce waste without compromising quality.

Related: What Is Lean Manufacturing? (With Objectives, Pros And Cons)

5. Continuous improvement process

The continuous improvement process (CIP) is a method of assisting a business in increasing its efficiency. CIP involves the identification of opportunities for increasing efficiency. These abilities concentrate on making small modifications to procedures rather than completely redesigning them.

6. Fabrication technology

The fabrication technology is a crucial component in manufacturing. This involves constructing metal structures. Stamping, welding, cutting, machining and other processes are often part of the fabrication.

7. Welding technologies

Welding is a valuable technical skill for manufacturing professions. It involves fusing materials to join and create complex structures. These abilities are necessary for constructing new machines, fixing systems and doing other manufacturing jobs.

8. Specialised software

Often manufacturing firms seek candidates who have experience with manufacturing-specific devices and software. Hiring managers may look for candidates who can understand and use various complex technical software. They may prefer candidates who have worked with software such as computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM).

9. Robotics

Skills in robotics are vital for both traditional productions and advanced breakthrough technologies. It is critical that you can program and repair robotic devices. You may also program systems for automated practises, evaluate system performance and provide feedback to improve the systems' performance.

10. Teamwork

Teamwork abilities enable you to collaborate well with others to achieve high workplace productivity. Working in manufacturing requires collaborating with others to solve problems and troubleshoot issues. It is also critical to collaborate across teams and strive toward organisational objectives.

11. Attention to detail

Manufacturing occupations necessitate both attention to detail and focus. Manufacturing operations often use heavy machinery, which requires precision to operate effectively. Maintaining attention to detail throughout each activity can help you regularly produce high-quality work.

12. Critical thinking

Critical thinking skills refer to your capacity to evaluate and objectively analyse an issue to form a sound judgement. Working in manufacturing roles often requires quick responses to new challenges. Critical thinking abilities can assist you in troubleshooting problems and responding appropriately to unexpected situations.

13. Dependability

Dependability refers to your ability to accomplish your job well with little to no supervision. Supervisors like accountable and reliable employees, as manufacturing facilities are often large and it is hard to monitor every employee continuously. Completing your tasks on time with minimum errors and having good attendance reflect your dependability.

14. Flexibility

Flexibility refers to your ability to learn new skills quickly, particularly cross-training to increase productivity. It also relates to your readiness to help the company with various additional responsibilities. Your ability to adapt to new technologies or methods is another example of flexibility.

15. Communication

Both written and verbal communication abilities are important for manufacturing jobs. Strong verbal skills may enable you to collaborate well with others. Excellent written communication skills can help you write clear and concise technical documents. These abilities also help communicate complex technical information more effectively to non-technical people.

Related: Communication Skills In Leadership: Importance And Benefits

16. Machining

Machining is an important job skill in the manufacturing industry. Drilling, cutting, grinding, forming, abrading or shaping metal, or other materials are examples of such skills. It is critical that you can execute these operations with machine tools like power saws, presses and lathes.

17. Corrective and preventative actions

Quality control refers to corrective and preventive actions (CAPA). Government agencies or other regulatory authorities often oversee CAPA regulations. These abilities assist you in identifying methods to improve a procedure by minimising or eliminating issues such as machine malfunctions or customer complaints.

18. Problem-solving

Problem-solving abilities refer to your capacity to analyse new issues and develop solutions. This can include finding out what is causing a problem and how to fix it. Working in manufacturing may demand you to make decisions about complex and often unanticipated problems in difficult situations.

Related: How To Highlight Problem-Solving Skills On A Resume

19. Quality management systems

Quality management systems (QMS) are technical skills that assist you in ensuring quality in manufacturing to supply chain management. This involves recording various manufacturing processes and identifying areas for optimisation. These enhancements can help save expenses, increase efficiency, increase employee engagement, minimise errors and improve, and maintain product quality.

Related: What Is Total Quality Management? (A Complete Guide)

20. Good manufacturing practices

Good manufacturing practices (GMP) refer to a technical competence to monitor and maintain quality. GMP guidelines ensure that a manufacturer's products are consistent with various licensing and authorising agencies. They also ensure every product meets the highest quality standards.

How To Improve Your Manufacturing Skills?

Following are some tips you can consider to improve your manufacturing skills:

1. Complete on-the-job training

On-the-job training can assist you in improving your job skills. They can assist you in better understanding your organisation's specific practices and procedures. This may also help you in discovering new applications for your expertise.

2. Look for cross-training opportunities

Discuss with your manager about cross-training possibilities to gain new skills and enhance old ones. Cross-training can help you become more versatile and flexible in the workplace. Additional training may also assist you in exploring additional roles and responsibilities within the organisation.

3. Enrol in training courses

Training classes can help you improve a specific skill. You can look for practical training on new equipment and methodologies. Training courses can also assist you in staying updated with current trends.

Manufacturing Skills In The Workplace

Following are some instances when you may apply manufacturing skills in the workplace:

  • Analysing data

  • Repairing systems

  • Troubleshooting equipment

  • Working on an assembly line

  • Designing and assembling new products

  • Developing strategies to optimise efficiency

  • Collaborating with other teams to resolve issues

How To Highlight Your Manufacturing Skills?

When applying for manufacturing jobs, it is critical that you demonstrate a diverse set of relevant skills. Most hiring managers look for individuals with a mix of technical and soft skills. Here are some examples of how you can demonstrate your abilities during the job application process:

1. List them in your resume

Make a separate section for your skills on your resume. List them in a logical order for the hiring manager to follow and use adjectives to highlight your strengths. Include any applicable skills that the job description mentions.

Related: How To Create An Infographic Resume (With Types And Tips)

2. Include them in a cover letter

A cover letter is an opportunity for you to showcase your uniqueness and create a positive impression on the hiring manager. Emphasise your specific knowledge, training and skills. Include high-level details about previous experiences where you used your manufacturing skills.

3. Discuss them in a job interview

Throughout the interview, you can share detailed examples of your previous experiences and skills. In your answers, mention specific instances of how you used them. This can assist the hiring manager in understanding your abilities and how you can benefit the organisation.

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