Most Important functions of production management

What are the functions of production management? This is another one that seems to confuse people, and part of this is because production management and product management aren’t entirely the same thing, but this is a common misconception. Well, they do overlap, but it’s kind of like comparing user experience and usability which are also very similar but not the same, leading to a similar association and misconception.

So, to clarify this confusion, maybe we should look at the functions of production management a little closer. Now, we’re not going to explore every element of this in minute detail, because that would take forever and bring about some redundancies (besides, we did that already). We’re going to look at this without jargon, without complexity. We’re going to explore this in English.

#1 – Selection of Product, Design and Production Process

The first function is actually three, but you can kind of lump them together for this, because they’re kind of one item really. A production manager has to select the product, which means which branding and design they find to be the most viable for the target demographic. This isn’t easy.

After they have the incarnation of the product and design they deem the most viable and workable, they have to determine the most appropriate production process for rendering these. They have to factor in minimal resources, fastest time, while ensuring the quality desired.

#2 – Selecting Production Capacity, Planning and Control

Now that they’ve picked a product’s manifestation, and the production best suited for producing it efficiently, they have to plan for a practical capacity, and work on cost and quality control that allows the selected process to create this product within a budget without sacrificing quality.

This is a real headache to do, but a good production management team loves them some logistical puzzles!

#3 – Inventory Control

Inventory control is less difficult, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy either. This involves managing the inventory so enough is made to meet predictable demand, as well as distribution needs, without a severe overstock. This is kind of unpredictable, and sometimes, over or understock will still happen. A good team just sees it happens as little as possible.

#4 – Maintenance and Replacement of Equipment

Well, the production managers don’t walk the floor with tool boxes, they have a maintenance staff for this, but they do oversee it. They have to keep a watchful eye on the industrial end, to ensure that all the machinery is in tip top shape, ordering tune ups and repairs where needed (preferably before the machine utterly breaks down) and manage replacement and retooling as well.

As you can see, despite the similar sounding name, this is not the same as product management, though this process is part of the product manager’s lifecycle unit as well. But, a product manager handles distribution, placement and customer interaction, where the production manager doesn’t usually, unless something goes horribly wrong.

I do hope this has cleared up the functions of production management for you, as this does seem to understandably confuse a lot of people. This was just an overview however, which sidesteps the complexities involved with some of this to much detail. So, if this is a field that interests you, this should just be your springboard for much deeper research before you make any commitments to study this science.

Mark is the Lead Author & Editor of Spectechular Blog. Mark established the Spectechular blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Product Management.