what is a manufacturing engineer?

As a manufacturing engineer, you rely on your technical expertise to improve the production of an item. Your job involves making product design changes or developing effective manufacturing processes. You develop solutions to production issues and perform cost-benefit analyses to ensure the production process is efficient. As a manufacturing engineer, you remain up-to-date on new manufacturing processes to improve optimisation across product lines.

Manufacturing engineers work on every step of the manufacturing process, from planning to interpreting the product designs and supervising the production. You assist with the interpretation of product designs and actualise them through production. Manufacturing principles apply to all industries, meaning you can work in the pharmaceuticals, plastics, biotechnology and food and drink industries.

As a manufacturing engineer, you are a designer, creative thinker and analyst to improve the production process and ensure the goods meet the required standards. Since you work with a team, you require teamwork skills to work with engineers from various disciplines. You also supervise junior engineers to ensure efficiency in production and high-quality products. That means you require leadership skills to guide the manufacturing process and motivate other workers to perform their duties.

Would working as a manufacturing engineer suit your creativity and design skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a manufacturing engineer role.

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average manufacturing engineer salary

According to ONS, the median salary of a manufacturing engineer is £39,267 per year. At an entry-level position, you earn a compensation package of £35,000 annually. As your experience increases, you are likely to earn a higher salary of up to £52,937 yearly. Salary levels for manufacturing engineers depend on various factors, from the industry to organisation size and location.

how to increase your salary as a manufacturing engineer

The salary of a manufacturing engineer depends on qualifications. In an entry-level position, you have minimal experience and are likely to earn a lower salary. As your qualifications improve, you qualify for better-paying jobs. For instance, chartered engineers may work on a consultancy basis or as contractors.

The industry you work in also influences your earnings. When you work in pharmaceutical industries, you require additional expertise in handling sensitive production processes. Food and drink companies also pay more due to the additional requirements of the role.

Working for a big company with complex production and manufacturing processes also increases your compensation package. Small start-ups have projects that don’t require extensive experience. Hence, the earnings are less than manufacturing engineers working in larger companies.

female manufacturing engineer
female manufacturing engineer

types of manufacturing engineers

Manufacturing engineers work on projects in various industries and may specialise in various aspects of the role, including:

  • research: as a manufacturing engineer in charge of research, you explore new concepts and ideas for products. You research the materials and make improvements to the existing products. You ensure your company stays ahead of the competition by introducing improved ideas or innovating an advanced product manufacturing process
  • design: as a manufacturing engineer, you design products that match consumers’ needs. For instance, you improve the manufacturing process to boost the quality of the products. As a design manufacturing engineer, you consider the entire life cycle of a product.
  • production: a manufacturing engineer in charge of production optimises the manufacturing process to ensure safety and efficiency. The role of a manufacturing engineer during production is to manage the production team, maintain schedules and deal with health and safety issues that arise.
  • quality assurance: as a manufacturing engineer, you are also a tester who ensures the products meet strict quality control standards. Your job is to design and review quality systems. You also instruct and supervise workers who conduct quality assurance tests.

working as a manufacturing engineer

Working as a manufacturing engineer is rewarding, allowing you to create products and develop production processes. Here is a breakdown of manufacturing engineers' daily activities, responsibilities and duties.


education and skills

To become a manufacturing engineer, you require the following qualifications:

  • undergraduate degree: you require a manufacturing engineering degree to join the field. Other undergraduate degrees useful in the role include mechanical engineering, industrial engineering and process engineering. To improve your prospects in the role, obtain a master’s in engineering with a specialisation in engineering or technology. If you want corporate leadership, complete a master’s in business administration.
  • work experience: while most of the training on manufacturing takes place when you are obtaining the degree course, you require additional work experience. Completing hands-on projects and internships builds your skills and knowledge. When you are hired, you also receive in-house training from your employer on the specific systems and requirements of the company.

manufacturing engineer skills and competencies

Some of the qualities of a manufacturing engineer include the following:

  • creativity: as a manufacturing engineer, you visualise new products and develop appealing product designs. You rely on your creativity to design new products and utilise the existing manufacturing systems to optimise production processes.
  • financial skills: as a manufacturing engineer, your job involves a cost-benefit analysis of the production processes. You require financial skills to understand the costs associated with a project. For instance, it is important to understand the cost of production to adjust the numbers and ensure optimal pricing.
  • teamwork skills: as a manufacturing engineer, you work with various professionals to ensure high-quality products. For instance, you work with testers, designers, security experts, system experts and researchers to ensure the launched products meet consumer expectations. Teamwork skills help you listen to other people's ideas and delegate duties to ensure work is completed on time.
  • communication skills: as a manufacturing engineer, you collaborate with various workers to create products. You rely on clear and open communications to relay instructions to junior engineers. Effective communication ensures all the parties involved in a project understand the parameters of the existing technology and materials used.
working woman
working woman

FAQs about working as a manufacturing engineer

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a manufacturing engineer.

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