Supply Chain Excellence – Production Planner

Hunter Campbell’s Supply Chain Excellence Series profiles roles within the Supply Chain job family including jobs in demand, salaries, and employment prospects.

In this article, the role of Production Planner is in the spotlight.

Purpose of the Role

A Production Planner is a critical part of the supply chain for companies that manufacture their own products. As a Production Planner, you are responsible for planning the quantity of goods to be produced and how often they will be made. A Production Planner forms an important link in the supply chain, often working very closely with Demand Planners, Supply Planners and Production Managers to ensure the production process is as efficient as possible. 

Production plans can vary in their cycles from daily, weekly or monthly along with rough cut capacity planning which could be 12 months or more to ensure efficient planning of raw materials and to meet changing demands. Having a strong production plan in place is vital to minimise lead times and optimise efficiencies for companies. 


There are many different pathways to become a Production Planner. 

You may have come from a production and/or factory background in a hands-on role and then had the opportunity to advance given your understanding of the production process. We often see candidates who have progressed in companies from perhaps a co-ordinator role to a Production Planner, which works well given their understanding of the fundamentals of demand, supply and production and how this all comes together. 

From a qualification perspective, we are seeing candidates coming through with Bachelor of Commerce degrees majoring in Supply Chain Management. This qualification provides them with a solid foundation in theory to then enter into roles such as a Production Planner. Other reputable qualifications include the likes of a Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) from NZPICS. 

Key Skills Required

  • Planning and organisational skills are critical as you will be working with key stakeholders across the supply chain 
  • The ability to work under pressure and make quick decisions when plans need to change 
  • Technically savvy – you will need good knowledge of ERP/MRP systems along with Excel skills to ensure accurate planning 
  • Strong numerical skills to work effectively with various systems and Excel 
  • Excellent communications skills to be able to communicate effectively with various teams and stakeholders 
  • Strong attention to detail when creating and reviewing production plans to ensure accuracy 

Career Prospects

Production Planners have day-to-day dealings and liaison with numerous stakeholders. For example, Demand Planners, Raw Material Planners, Inventory Controllers, Warehouse Managers and Productions Managers. Having knowledge and awareness of these roles and the impacts they can have in production is critical.  

With the knowledge and awareness of other critical functions involved with production, and transferrable planning and analytical skills, there could be an opportunity to move into a role more focused on planning the demand (Junior Demand Planner), a role where you plan for the raw materials for production (Raw Materials Planner), a role where you make purchase plans with suppliers (Supply Planner) or a role in warehousing or production itself (Production Planner).  

Recruitment Forecast

Production Planners who can accurately and efficiently manage plans are always going to be in high demand. Particularly with the ongoing supply chain disruptions, we have seen how critical it is to have accurate forecasting for demand and supply and the role of Production Planner is vital to ensuring the right quantities are being produced, at the most efficient lead times while reducing waste of raw materials to save costs. 

With more and more companies also investing in their ERP/MRP systems, we are seeing a lot more demand now for candidates who have expertise with these systems along with advanced Excel skills to ensure their planning is as accurate as possible. 

Salary Guide

This information is anecdotal and based on roles Hunter Campbell is currently recruiting or has previously recruited and relate to base salaries. They do not include any additional bonuses or benefits. 

Junior: $65,000 – $75,000 

Intermediate: $80,000 – $90,000 

Advanced: $90,000 – $100,000 

Leadership: $100,000 – $120,000+  

The salaries of Production Planners considerably vary depending on the level of responsibilities such as how many SKU’s, production lines and/or sites you are responsible for. Salaries could also vary between those who have only worked in a production environment versus candidates who have developed skills in other areas such as demand, supply and inventory. 

If you would like to find out more about the role of Production Planner, please contact Senior Consultant Kat Biggelaar. Kat specialises in Supply Chain, Planning and Contracting. For more news and views, visit our website by clicking here, see what opportunities we have available here or follow us on LinkedIn.

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