Career Advice for Job Seekers

Can you really work remotely in a manufacturing role?

Anita Jobb AvatarAnita Jobb
April 24, 2024

Some jobs lend themselves better than others to working remotely, whether that’s hybrid and so only part of the time or fully remote so you’re never in-person.

But just because many and perhaps even most jobs in a particular sector cannot be performed remotely even part of the time does not mean that all jobs in that sector must be fully in-person. Instead, it is likely that there are some jobs in the sector which can be performed well remotely.

To figure out which jobs in manufacturing can be performed by fully remote employees, we asked 12 hiring experts to share their suggestions.

  • Remote Roles in Manufacturing Design
  • Brazing Engineering Goes Remote
  • Project Management from Afar
  • Remote Quality Assurance Management
  • Marketing Roles for Remote Manufacturing
  • Remote Opportunities in Manufacturing Tech
  • Technology-Enabled Remote Manufacturing Jobs
  • Digital Transformation in Manufacturing
  • Data-Driven Remote Manufacturing Roles
  • Optimizing Logistics with Remote Work
  • Production Planning from a Distance
  • Virtual Training for Manufacturing Employees

Remote Roles in Manufacturing Design

For remote workers eyeing the manufacturing sector, positions in design engineering, supply-chain management, and quality assurance are excellent choices. Design engineers can leverage CAD and simulation tools from anywhere, while supply-chain managers coordinate logistics and supplier relationships remotely. Quality assurance professionals can manage standards and processes online, ensuring products meet the desired specifications.  We’ve seen how these roles adapt seamlessly to remote work, contributing significantly to our operations and product development.

Will Li, Hardware Engineer, MOKO Technology

Brazing Engineering Goes Remote

In the manufacturing realm, the precision and creativity I apply in brazing engineering translate well into remote roles. Supply-chain analysts, with their strategic oversight, ensure materials meet production without stepping foot on-site. CAD designers bring innovations to life, similar to sketching new brazing-machine concepts, all from afar. Lastly, quality-assurance engineers maintain excellence in manufacturing standards, mirroring the meticulous attention to detail required in refining refrigeration accessories, proving distance is no barrier to impactful contributions.

Mark Sheng, Project Engineer, DoDo Machine

Project Management from Afar

In the manufacturing realm, remote work has proven viable and productive for certain roles. At Yijin Hardware, we’ve identified project management, technical support engineering, and product development as particularly suited for remote setups. Project managers can oversee timelines and coordinate teams digitally; technical support engineers can troubleshoot and provide solutions from afar; and product developers can innovate and design without needing a physical presence in the factory, leveraging technology to bridge the gap between concept and creation.

Gavin Yi, CEO, Yijin Hardware

Remote Quality Assurance Management

Quality Assurance (QA) Managers in the manufacturing sector have a crucial role that can be adapted for remote work. They are responsible for overseeing the quality of products and processes and ensuring compliance with industry standards. Much of their work, including reviewing quality reports, conducting remote audits, and meeting with clients and suppliers via video conferencing, can be executed effectively from a remote setting. 

Another position conducive to remote work is a Procurement Specialist, who manages the sourcing of materials and services for manufacturing. This role involves negotiating with suppliers, managing contracts, and often conducting market research, tasks that can be performed remotely with access to the right digital tools. 

Additionally, Manufacturing IT Support Specialists provide technical support and maintain the IT infrastructure necessary for manufacturing operations. As manufacturing becomes increasingly digitized, the ability to troubleshoot, manage databases, and ensure cybersecurity from a distance becomes invaluable. 

These positions demonstrate how the manufacturing sector is evolving to incorporate remote work, allowing for flexibility and access to a broader talent pool.

Roman Zrazhevskiy, Founder & CEO, MIRA Safety

Marketing Roles for Remote Manufacturing

As the Marketing Director of a manufacturing company, here are three jobs that I think are great for remote workers:

Remote Quality Assurance and Control

Utilizing digital tools, this role requires remote workers to monitor manufacturing processes, ensure product quality, and implement corrective measures from afar, enhancing quality assurance without a physical presence.

Research and Development

Remote R&D professionals can conduct market research, experiments, and data analysis using online collaboration tools and simulation software, promoting innovation in manufacturing from remote locations.

Technical Support and Customer Service

Remote workers in this role provide assistance, troubleshoot issues, and offer guidance using digital communication channels and remote access to product documentation and diagnostic tools, delivering exceptional service experiences without a physical presence.

Olivia Tian, Marketing Director, Raise3D

Remote Opportunities in Manufacturing Tech

While many manufacturing jobs require hands-on factory work, there are excellent remote opportunities for tech-savvy individuals. Some of them include Quality Assurance Specialists, who analyze product data and identify potential defects using software. Remote workers excel at this detail-oriented role.

Manufacturing Sales Engineer: This role leverages your communication skills to remotely connect with clients, understand their needs, and recommend suitable products.

A third option you can consider includes Industrial Data Analysts. They analyze vast amounts of production data to identify trends and optimize processes. This remote role requires strong analytical thinking.

Garth McAlpin, Director & National Fulfilment Manager, Classic Architectural Group

Technology-Enabled Remote Manufacturing Jobs

Quality Assurance Specialists inspect products remotely. They ensure the company meets quality standards and communicate with production teams to give feedback.

Supply Chain Analysts oversee logistics, inventory management, and supplier relationships. They implement software and data-analysis tools to optimize processes.

Technical Support Engineers provide remote troubleshooting and support for manufacturing equipment and software. They offer assistance to onsite technicians and customers via virtual communication channels. These roles leverage technology to enable remote work while contributing to the efficiency and productivity of manufacturing operations.

Phil Collins, Sales and Marketing Manager, Polymaster Group

Digital Transformation in Manufacturing

Even within the manufacturing sector, the digital transformation has significantly broadened the scope of roles conducive to remote work.

Utilizing advanced software tools, remote product design engineers play a pivotal role in conceptualizing and refining window and door designs. This often requires a solid grasp of engineering principles and aesthetic sensibilities.

Nowadays, the global nature of supply chains today necessitates a strategic approach to manage logistics, procurement, and inventory management. A remote supply chain coordinator can effectively oversee these elements, ensuring the smooth operation of our supply chain.

Lastly, remote digital marketing strategists help elevate our brand’s visibility and connect with our target audience. By crafting compelling online campaigns, managing social media platforms, and analyzing market trends, they drive awareness and engagement with our windows and doors, all from a remote setting.

Alexander Havkin, Regional Sales & Project Manager, Ecoline Windows

Data-Driven Remote Manufacturing Roles

The role of a Manufacturing Data Analyst is increasingly becoming a remote-work-friendly position within the manufacturing industry. By analyzing production data, machine outputs, and efficiency metrics, analysts can provide insights that lead to improved manufacturing processes and product quality, all from a remote workstation. 

Equally adaptable to remote work is the role of a Sales Engineer for Manufacturing Technologies, who can demo products virtually, provide technical assistance, and consult with clients on manufacturing solutions without the need for constant travel or in-person meetings. 

Lastly, the Inventory Management Coordinator position lends itself well to remote work. These professionals manage inventory levels, track shipments, and coordinate supply chain logistics using cloud-based inventory management systems, ensuring that production lines are supplied without direct on-site involvement. 

Embracing remote work in these roles not only opens up opportunities for professionals living in diverse locations but also encourages a more flexible and technologically savvy manufacturing environment.

Sergey Taver, Marketing Manager, Precision Watches

Optimizing Logistics with Remote Work

Travel Scheduler. Increasingly, factory operations depend on optimized crew rotations and equipment transport logistics. Remote travel authorities wrangle these intricate human and capital resource itineraries like virtuoso composers. By orchestrating finely-tuned personnel/cargo mobilizations ahead of real-time constraints, they optimize asset utilization, reducing wasteful downtime that cripples project budgets.

Quality Engineer (Manual). While industrial automation adoption accelerates, skilled human QA oversight remains irreplaceable. Telecommuting quality assurance professionals leverage HD streaming rigs to comprehensively inspect production samples for anomalies from any global locale. Their eyes meticulously validate every minute specification before approving further progression.

Procurement Manager. In today’s volatile commodity markets, securing sustainable materials pipelines demands constant vigilance and proactive risk mitigation plans. They source alternative suppliers, negotiate favorable terms, and implement preemptive shortage contingencies.

Scott Schaper, President, RSM Marketing

Production Planning from a Distance

The three that most quickly come to mind are production planners, industrial engineers, and technical support specialists. 

Production planners create schedules and plans for manufacturing operations to meet demand and optimize efficiency. They coordinate with various departments to ensure timely production and resource allocation. It actually often helps to be remote, as you need to juggle a lot of balls at the same time, and not having anyone getting in your face to take up time can be a big factor.

Industrial engineers analyze manufacturing processes and systems to improve efficiency, productivity, and quality. They may design layouts, optimize workflows, and implement process improvements. It is a difficult field to be remote, but I have seen it done at a more high level.

Technical support specialists provide assistance and troubleshooting for manufacturing equipment and systems, just as they do for other industries across the world. Every industry needs them, and they are rarely picky about whether they are remote or not at this point.

Kate Kandefer, CEO, SEOwind

Virtual Training for Manufacturing Employees

As manufacturing technologies and processes evolve, the need for continuous employee training has never been more critical. A Virtual Training and Development Manager specializes in creating and delivering training programs for manufacturing employees, utilizing online platforms and virtual reality (VR) tools to simulate manufacturing environments and processes. This role is perfectly suited for remote work, offering flexibility in how and where training content is developed and delivered.

Another innovative remote role is that of an E-commerce Manager for Manufacturing Companies, responsible for overseeing online sales channels, managing product listings, and optimizing the online customer journey.

Lastly, the position of a Business Analyst for Manufacturing allows for remote work as these professionals gather and analyze data on business processes, production costs, and market trends to inform strategic decision-making. Leveraging cloud-based analytics tools, they can perform their tasks remotely, providing valuable insights that drive business improvements and strategies.

These positions illustrate how remote work can facilitate not only the operational aspects of manufacturing but also strategic and educational initiatives, enhancing the industry’s adaptability and growth potential.

Michael Nemeroff, CEO & Co-Founder, Rush Order Tees

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