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Pharmaceutical manufacturing professionals work in companies that produce medical, commercial or consumer products. They mainly work in the production plant itself, ensuring products are efficiently made and meet the company’s standards, although some work will be office or warehouse-based.

Job Specification, Salary, Outlook
Producing quality products in an efficient, cost-effective and timely manner is a key role. The responsibilities of manufacturing specialists cover the whole production lifecycle, beginning with resource allocation and pre-production planning, through to post-production quality checks and packaging for the onward distribution. The scope of the manufacturing job depends on the nature of the production system. Many companies are involved in a range of production types, adding to the complexity and diversity of the role. It's common that you’ll be responsible for both material and human resources; this role is often referred to as operations manager. In pre-production planning, you may be involved with the planning, supervising, coordination and control of the entire manufacturing processes. You’re required to ensure that goods, and services are produced efficiently and that the correct amount is produced at the right level of quality and cost. 

So how much do pharmaceutical manufacturing professionals earn? It depends on several factors, but the average salary for these roles in the United States is $69,771 per annum, with a range of $43,794 - $171,765. Factors that affect the level of salary include job location, technical skills, subject knowledge, on-the-job experience, and academic background. In the UK, an average salary of £38,478 per year can be expected, with a range of £26,412 - £63,551.    

Job Description
Pharmaceutical manufacturing professionals develop and maintain efficient systems for manufacturing medical products through a number of different subsystems. They are often involved in personnel matters, promotion decisions and the hiring of employees under their supervision, and should also maintain an awareness of labour costs and staffing levels. They contribute to purchasing decisions and make sure that the manufacturing unit has the necessary raw materials to create goods at peak efficiency. Moreover, they must inspect and improve manufacturing operations on an ongoing basis. These professionals are also responsible for managing the safety of their team. This involves continual inspection of the processes and plant, along with making necessary changes to ensure that health and safety standards are not compromised.  
 
Typical Responsibilities:
  • Hands-on supervision of daily operations including: management of staff, workflow scheduling, production process troubleshooting, monitoring productivity and quality, and all other activities to ensure timely delivery and customer satisfaction
  • Ensuring that the production personnel understand and follow required safety policies and practices, along with all company policies 
  • Managing staffing through employment decisions, coaching and development, and resolving employee issues 
  • Developing and maintaining production metrics for quality, safety, and delivery, including regular progress reports and visual controls  
  • Evaluating labour requirements and production schedules to provide work direction, balance labour resources and provide necessary feedback on planning 
  • Creating and maintaining standard operating procedures (SOPs) for production personnel
  • Leading facilitating and promoting continuous improvement activities including cost, product quality and output
  • Driving the use of best manufacturing practices such as visual management, lean manufacturing, 5S and waste elimination 
  • Collaborating with Quality Assurance, Materials, Sourcing and Manufacturing Engineering teams to coordinate production issues in a timely manner 

Key Skills & Qualifications      
A bachelor’s degree in science, pharmacy, life sciences, nursing, medical, or healthcare from a reputable educational institute is required for a role as a drug manufacturing associate or officer. Manufacturing specialists should have solid interpersonal and communication skills, as well as being able to work with minimal supervision. Proficiency with basic computer programs such as MS Office is also beneficial and generally expected.  

Required job skills

  • Results-driven leadership, with the ability to work under pressure in fast-paced environments with multiple deadlines and shifting priorities
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to provide work direction, present recommendations and ideas and communicate with support staff
  • Ability to read and interpret documents such as safety rules, procedure manuals and operating and maintenance instructions
  • Planning and organization skills to run and monitor the production process
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • The ability to act decisively and solve equipment or staff-related issues
  • Attention to detail, to ensure high levels of quality
  • Strong negotiation skills in order to secure raw materials at the right time and within budget
  • A systematic, logical approach

Job Trends  
Graduates will typically enter their career in a trainee role, gaining experience in a number of different aspects of production management, such as materials management, configuration analysis, inventory control, purchasing management and production control. You can then move on to become shift manager or production supervisor, before being qualified for a production manager role. With experience, there are opportunities to eventually pursue a more strategic role and become involved with long-term planning.