Difference Between Production and Operations Management

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: June 12, 2023


Difference Between Production and Operations Management

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In business and industry, effective management of resources and processes is essential to a company’s success. Two major areas that play an important role in this are production control and operations control. These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but encompass different responsibilities and areas of focus. This article examines the fundamental differences between production management and operations management, focusing on their unique characteristics and contribution to an organization’s overall performance.

Production management vs operations management

Production control is primarily concerned with overseeing the transformation of raw materials or inputs into finished goods or products. This includes activities related to planning, coordinating and controlling manufacturing processes to efficiently achieve given objectives.

Operations management, on the other hand, covers a broader area beyond manufacturing. The focus is on overseeing all activities related to the efficient delivery of goods and services to customers. 

Difference between production and operations management in tabular form

ParametersProduction managementOperations management
MeaningPlanning, coordination and control of manufacturing processesDesigning, planning, controlling, and improving operations within an organization
Focus efficiency in the manufacturing processOptimisation of value chain
Time frameShort term planningShort and long term planning
ComponentsInternal processesVarious functions and departments
TargetProduction needsCustomer needs
Decision-making levelTacticalTactical and strategic

What is production management?

Production control is the planning, coordination and control of manufacturing processes to efficiently transform raw materials and inputs into finished goods. This includes the application of management principles and techniques to maximize productivity, minimize costs and maintain product quality.

It deals with the specification and acquisition of input resources, including labour, capital, land, and management materials.

Design and development of products to establish the production procedure for converting input elements into output elements, such as commodities and services.

Here are some key principles that underlie production control:

Efficiency and optimization

The goal of production management is to optimize the use of resources such as manpower, machinery, materials and time. Minimizing waste, reducing idle time and streamlining processes increases efficiency, resulting in higher productivity and lower costs. 2. Standardization and quality:

Consistency and standardization are important aspects of production control. Establishing standardized procedures, quality control measures, and specifications ensures that products meet predefined standards, increasing customer satisfaction and reputation.

Capacity planning

Accurate capacity planning is essential to match production levels to customer demand. Production managers analyze historical data, market trends, and sales forecasts to determine required capacity and make strategic decisions about resource allocation and expansion.

Continuous improvement

By implementing continuous improvement principles such as Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma, production managers can identify and eliminate inefficiencies, defects, and bottlenecks. Cultivating a culture of continuous improvement refines processes and increases productivity and quality.

In order to effectively manage the production process, production managers have a variety of roles to ensure that operations run smoothly. These features include:

  • Production plan: Production managers create thorough plans in order to establish the most effective and efficient manufacturing procedures. We analyse issues such as product specifications, resource availability, cost restrictions, and market demand to establish complete production plans and schedules.
  • Material management: To avoid interruptions in the production process, managers coordinate with suppliers, monitor stocks, and procure raw materials and parts on schedule.
  • Process design and control: A production manager is in charge of designing and optimising the manufacturing process. Choose appropriate production techniques, layout combinations, and devices to maximise efficiency and performance. Furthermore, they implement  control mechanisms to monitor and alter the production process, reducing errors and faults.
  • Quality control:

Maintaining product quality is the most important aspect of production management. Managers implement quality control measures, conduct inspections, and use statistical techniques to identify and correct discrepancies and deficiencies. Ensuring consistent quality increases customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

Various strategies are used in production management to improve efficiency, productivity and overall performance. These strategies aim to optimize production processes, improve resource utilization, minimize waste and effectively meet customer demand. Here are some strategies commonly used in production control.

Lean Manufacturing

Lean Manufacturing focuses on eliminating waste and building optimized production systems. The goal is to identify and eliminate non-value added activities such as overproduction, excess inventory, wait times, unnecessary travel, shortages and underutilized talent. By implementing techniques such as value stream mapping, Kanban systems, and continuous improvement, lean manufacturing increases efficiency, reduces costs, and shortens lead times.

Just-in-time production (JIT)

JIT is a strategy that emphasizes the production and delivery of goods according to customer demand. The goal is to be able to supply the right amount of product at the right time while minimizing inventory levels. JIT reduces inventory costs, eliminates waste, and improves responsiveness by closely aligning production schedules with customer orders and maintaining a smooth flow of materials.

Total Quality Management (TQM)

TQM is a comprehensive approach that focuses on continuous improvement, customer satisfaction and quality throughout the production process. This includes building a culture of quality, involving all employees in quality initiatives, and implementing rigorous quality control measures. TQM focuses on error prevention, statistical process control and customer feedback to identify opportunities for improvement and improve product and process quality.

Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a data-driven methodology aimed at reducing process variability and error. The focus is on achieving near-perfect quality with minimal deviations in critical processes. Six Sigma uses a structured approach known as DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) to identify and correct the root cause of failures to achieve process stability and improvement. Six Sigma helps companies achieve higher levels of quality and customer satisfaction by implementing statistical tools and methodologies.

Agile manufacturing

Agile manufacturing emphasizes adaptability and responsiveness to changing customer demands and market conditions. They are modular, flexible production systems that can quickly adapt to changes in product design, volume and formulation. Agile manufacturing relies on cross-functional teams, rapid communication, efficient information systems, and collaborative work environments to enable rapid decision making and reduce lead times.

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM)

TPM is a proactive strategy aimed at maximizing asset effectiveness and minimizing downtime. These include preventive and predictive maintenance practices, operator involvement in maintenance activities, and continuous equipment improvement. By focusing on asset reliability, TPM reduces failures, increases machine availability, and improves overall productivity.

Theory of Constraints (TOC)

TOC is a management philosophy for identifying and managing bottlenecks and limitations in the production process. This emphasizes the idea that the overall system performance is limited by some serious limits. TOC aims to optimize material and information flow by identifying and addressing these limitations through techniques such as drum, buffer and rope planning and buffer management.

Continuous Improvement (Kaizen)

Continuous improvement is a philosophy that encourages small, incremental improvements to processes, products, and systems. Its goal is to provide staff the tools they need to recognize issues, come up with solutions, and put those changes into practice in order to increase productivity, quality, and customer satisfaction.

What is operations management?

Total Quality Management (TQM) is an integrated approach  that emphasises quality, customer happiness, and continual improvement throughout the production process.

This includes a wide range of activities to transform inputs into outputs, including the management of people, materials, equipment, technology and information.

Efficiency and Effectiveness

Efficiency refers to achieving maximum output with minimum input, whereas effectiveness refers to meeting customer needs and organizational goals. Balancing these principles is critical to streamlining operations and maximizing value.

Added value

The goal of operations management is to create value for customers by providing products and services that meet their needs and expectations. By understanding customer requirements and adjusting business processes accordingly, businesses can create a competitive advantage and strengthen customer loyalty.

Continuous improvement

Striving for continuous improvement is a basic principle of corporate management. By regularly evaluating processes, quality, efficiency and customer satisfaction  can be improved. Techniques such as Lean Management, Six Sigma, and Kaizen support a philosophy of continuous improvement.

Supply chain integration

Operations management involves the coordination and integration of various activities within the supply chain. This includes managing supplier relationships, logistics, inventory management and distribution to ensure the seamless flow of materials, information and services along the supply chain.

Operation management functions

To manage operations effectively, operations managers assume a variety of roles that contribute to the successful execution of business processes. These features include:

Process design and improvement

Operations managers are responsible for designing and improving processes to achieve efficiency, quality and flexibility. They analyze activity flows, identify bottlenecks, and implement strategies to streamline operations and reduce waste. Process optimization uses techniques such as process mapping, value stream analysis, and reengineering.

  • Capacity planning: Operations managers examine and forecast demand to determine the optimum level of capacity required to meet the needs of customers.
  • Supply chain management: Operations managers control the whole supply chain, from raw material sourcing to product delivery to customers. They manage supplier connections, negotiate contracts, oversee logistics, and ensure effective inventory management in order to save costs and maximise customer responsiveness.
  • Quality control: It is critical to maintain and improve the quality of products or services. To meet or exceed customer expectations, operations managers adopt quality control methods, assess performance, and conduct continuous improvement efforts. To achieve consistent quality, techniques such as statistical process control, quality assurance, and total quality management (TQM) are applied.

Inventory management

Operations managers are responsible for managing inventory levels to balance customer demand and operating costs. Optimize inventory levels, reduce storage costs, and eliminate out-of-stocks and overstocks using inventory management techniques such as just-in-time (JIT), economic order quantity (EOQ), and material requirements planning (MRP). Prevent.

Project management

In certain industries, operations managers are responsible for project-based operations. Coordinate and manage projects to ensure they are executed on time, within budget and to specifications.  

Key differences between production management and operations management in points

  • Production control focuses specifically on manufacturing or production processes, including activities related to the conversion of inputs into finished goods. Operation management focuses on broader things including delivery of goods and services.
  • Production management emphasizes the efficiency of the manufacturing process, including production planning, resource utilization and quality control. Operational management focuses on optimizing the entire value chain, from sourcing raw materials to delivering products or services to customers. This includes process design, capacity planning, supply chain management, quality control and customer relationship management.
  • Production management focuses on short-term operational planning and execution to ensure efficient production processes and achieve production targets. Operations management includes both short-term and long-term planning.
  • Production control mainly deals with internal processes within a production unit such as: B. Management of Materials, Utilization of Equipment and Work Efficiency.  Operations management integrates various functions and departments such as procurement, production, logistics and customer service.
  • Production management focuses on meeting production targets, maintaining quality standards and optimizing resource usage. Operational management attaches great importance to meeting customer needs and achieving customer satisfaction. This includes activities such as demand forecasting, order fulfillment and customer relationship management.
  • Production managers typically have technical expertise in manufacturing processes, production planning and quality control. – Operations managers need a wider range of skills, including strategic thinking, supply chain management, process design, project management and customer relationship management
  • Production management works at a tactical level and makes day-to-day decisions to ensure smooth production operations. Operations management works at both tactical and strategic levels.
  • Production control focuses on key figures such as output, efficiency, quality levels and adherence to production schedules. Operations management considers broader key performance indicators such as customer satisfaction, on-time delivery, inventory turnover, supply chain performance and overall profitability.  


Production management and operations management have some similarities, but different focus and responsibilities. Production control primarily revolves around the manufacturing process and focuses on the efficient conversion of inputs into finished products. Operations management takes a broader view. Understanding these differences will help organizations effectively allocate resources and responsibilities, streamline processes, and ultimately be more successful in today’s competitive business environment. 


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"Difference Between Production and Operations Management." Diffzy.com, 2024. Sat. 02 Mar. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-production-and-operations-management>.

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