A plant superintendent is responsible for overseeing the operation of a manufacturing shop. This superintendent controls the day-to-day management of people and resources associated with the plant, and coordinates activities to ensure production in a cost-effective and efficient manner. A plant superintendent spends time managing employees, planning for productivity, and performing quality assurance evaluations. He also prepares for and surveys the maintenance of the shop, including machine repair and cleaning, and develops and enforces standard procedures for his industry.
The main component of a plant superintendent job is the smooth running of a factory or manufactory. A plant superintendent must oversee the ordering of parts, and the processing and creation of products. He must pay close attention to a company's yield from material stage to completed stock or merchandise. He will then be responsible for putting into place the necessary quality regulations and tests to determine compliance. After these stages are complete, a superintendent will oversee the packaging and delivery of product.
The plant superintendent is also responsible for the cleanliness and safety of the factory. He is required to have extensive knowledge of the appropriate safety standards, such as those set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the US, and train his staff accordingly. He must understand and apply environmental regulations as well and apply these principles to his own shop. He may also be required to have direct contact with agencies that regulate these standards.
Several other tasks of an administrative nature are usually performed by the factory superintendent, including the management of a wide variety of workers including machinists, technicians, managers, shift supervisors, and other subordinates. He is in charge of hiring, the review process, and scheduling for the factory. He may be required to communicate and negotiate with union representatives.
The superintendent usually controls the budget, and must ensure that schedules are being met on time and within cost parameters. He provides production estimates to upper management and must also review adherence to the production budget. Additionally, a plant superintendent, in conjunction with other staff members, must plan and review goals for the factory.
Depending upon the industry, a superintendent often spends part of his time on the floor of the factory training and checking employees, and another part of the day fulfilling business communication via phone or email. A superintendent must be a creative problem solver and have the ability to lead and model professional practices for a large number of people. Some computer work is necessary, and often technological savvy is an important part of the job. Financial calculation and planning are crucial elements of this occupation, and communication skills are very important.