One of the things that seems to baffle a lot of business people who are otherwise versed in all manner of departments within business, as well as business sciences is what the objective of production management ultimately is. There are reasons for this, and as is so often the case, the main problem is terminology and similarities to other terms that could mislead people into assuming they’re different terms for the same concept.
So often, there are multiple terms for the same darn thing, and that has led people to think that production management and product management are the same thing. Well, they share a few metrics and a few of the same obstacles and responsibilities, but the truth is that they differ in these aspects far more than they have similarities.
The ultimate point there is, production management is not, repeat is not product management. So, what is the objective of production management, if its objective isn’t the same as product management?
Well, let’s look at what a production manager or management team actually has to deal with, and what their responsibilities are, and maybe we can deduce a singular answer to this together!
So, let’s see if we can address these responsibilities in a fairly concise manner, because otherwise, we’ll be here all day, and nobody wants that.
A production manager must first select the incarnation of a product that should be produced. This is where they, designers and product managers come together.
After this, they must choose the most effective manufacturing process to produce this product, within time limits, minimal complexity and most efficiency when it comes to cost and resource consumption. Following this, they must maintain the production process, as well as the machines which are involved in handling the process.
Along with this, they, among other groups, must come together to ensure quality within a set standard that also complies with the resource and time budgets and the approved production process.
So, they basically manage and design the way products are manufactured, maintain the processes, and help to ensure quality, efficiency and cost effectiveness. It’s a balancing act of all of these clashing directives, and it’s a very complex and difficult thing to deal with.
So, with that in mind, what can we say their main objective is? Well, their main objective is to design and maintain a process that (kind of magically) produces simply and rapidly a product of a set quality and shape, which also is cost effective, profitable and sustainable, while also keeping the process and the machines that facilitate it being done.
The primary objective of production management is to make the manufacturing and production of products or services happen, within budget, within time frames, while meeting a set quality, and keeping the whole thing going indefinitely. This is pretty different from product management, though you probably do see where the two make somewhat frequent contact. But heck, lots of very different departments overlap like that, because an organization isn’t as compartmentalized as it might seem at first. But, now that we understand what this is and what its objective is, maybe we can appreciate the need to study this science further, and remember that it is very much a different ball game from product management!