Production Management: A Quick Guide


Production management has to control a variety of functions to deliver projects on time without overspending. There’s the workforce responsible for the production itself, but also the equipment used, any raw materials needed, workflows and much more.

Managing all aspects of production requires good management. Production management is the process of optimizing the production of goods. It focuses on quality, capacity, resources and time. We’ll go into more detail, explaining the benefits of production management and how software can create greater efficiencies.

What Is Production Management?

Production management is the process that oversees turning production inputs, such as raw materials, resources and costs, into production outputs, which are whatever products or goods a company produces. It involves phases that include planning, scheduling, control and maintenance in service of producing quality and quantity on time and within the budget.

Therefore, production management is concerned with every aspect of production. This means it works with the management of all materials necessary for production, including inventory or warehousing of those materials, to the design of the product or goods, utilization of equipment inventory, monitoring performance and more. The overall goal is to achieve the objectives of the company’s production strategy.

When it all comes together, production management will help your production line run smoothly, without interruption or delay. This is done by putting time and effort into production planning, production scheduling, production control and equipment maintenance. Part of these four disciplines, of course, is managing the workforce, methods, materials and costs. Let’s take a closer look at these four parts of production management.

Production Planning

Production planning is figuring out the design of a product and then how you’ll execute that design. It’s all about organizing tasks, resources, costs and schedules to deliver your product or goods as efficiently as possible. Through an efficient production process, products are delivered to customers on time, lead time is reduced and capacity is balanced with demand.

In order to control all these elements and have them work together to deliver your product on time, you need to manage human resources, the supply chain and much more. Project management software can help you organize all parts of your production so they work together like a well-oiled machine.

ProjectManager is award-winning product management software that has robust Gantt charts that can be used to build a product roadmap that plans your work, resource costs and more. You can see the whole production schedule on a timeline, where all four types of dependencies can be linked to avoid costly delays. Once you have a plan, set a baseline on the Gantt chart and save the plan so you can compare it to your actual progress and keep it on schedule. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's Gantt chart
ProjectManager’s Gantt charts make dynamic product roadmaps to plan your production. Learn more

Production Scheduling

Production scheduling is the planning and streamlining of processes for creating and delivering projects to market. It takes into account supply chain management, labor, logistics, costs and the timeframe for production. The master production schedule helps manufacturers determine costs, helps them allocate the financial resources needed for each stage of production, ensures the timely delivery of a quality product to customers as well as takes into account the logistics and time required to ship final products to distributors and retail stores.

Production Control

An integral part of manufacturing and supply chain management is production control, which monitors production to keep production running smoothly. It’s used in conjunction with inventory control and quality control as part of the larger operations management. Production control requires managers to predict, plan and schedule work keeping in mind human resources, materials and cost in order to meet quality and quantity expectations.

Equipment Maintenance

Equipment maintenance is the process of keeping production equipment working and replaced once obsolete without interrupting the production cycle. While doing this, it seeks to control costs and time related to equipment, manage resources and ensure that the company is compliant with regulatory standards. This requires regular monitoring of equipment and regular planning and scheduling work efficiently keeping in mind preventive and corrective maintenance.

Production Management vs. Operations Management

We’ve mentioned operations management in passing, but it deserves a section of its own to make the distinction between it and production management. Production management, as defined above, is dealing with the activities that lead to the creation of a finished product. It takes raw material as input and product as output. Operations management is a larger disciple made up of the administration of the produced goods of a company but also services for its customers

Production managers make design, quality, quantity and cost decisions as they relate to the production of the product. Operations management is more concerned with product design, quality, quality, process design, location, manpower, storage, maintenance, logistics, inventory management, waste management and more. It’s clear that operations management has a larger set of responsibilities than production management.

Another difference is where production managers and operations managers are employed. You’ll find production management only in companies that produce goods and products. But operations management is common to all organizations, whether they’re manufacturers, service providers, banks, hospitals and so forth. That’s because production management is concerned with delivering the right quality, quantity and price for products, while operations management is about utilizing an organization’s resources efficiently in order to meet its customers’ needs.

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Benefits of Effective Production Management

Production management ideally is going to do more than its mandate to deliver the right amount of quality products for a price that’s acceptable to customers. But running a smooth production is going to provide a company with added benefits that help it stand apart from its competition and increase its profitability. Here are a few ways production management does that.

Reduces Lead Time

Reduced lead time is the process of minimizing the time it takes to manufacture something and deliver it to a merchant or customer. Production management reduces lead time by removing unnecessary tasks, waste and waiting time not only in the production cycle but also in the supply chain.

Minimizes Costs

Production management helps reduce the costs associated with making products. It looks at various areas that can be cut or where a better deal can be made. These areas include material costs, whether that’s using different materials (and maintaining quality) or switching suppliers. It also seeks efficiency by making use of waste in the production cycle such as leftover materials. Automation is also a powerful tool for minimizing costs. Consuming energy more efficiently is another area where costs can be reduced.

Efficient Inventory Management

Monitoring inventory is part of production management. This is done to ensure that you have enough supplies on hand to fulfill upcoming orders, which positively impacts the bottom line. It also manages inventory to make sure that there isn’t too much stock. Having to warehouse materials is expensive and that valuable space could be used for other more profitable ventures.

Production Management Roles

Depending on the manufacturing, there can be one or more production management roles. The larger the operation, the more likely that a production manager will have others working under them to share the responsibilities. Smaller companies could just have a production manager who handles all the tasks related to the field. Let’s look at three main roles that can be found in production management.

  • Production manager: Oversees the production process and coordinates all related activities in order to make sure that resources are available and schedules and budgets are met.
  • Production planner: Focuses on the planning and the use of production resources to make sure that supplies, resources, costs and timelines all work together.
  • Production supervisor: Responsible for production equipment, staff and processes on the production floor, including scheduling, activities and troubleshooting.

ProjectManager Helps With Production Management

ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that helps control schedules, activities and costs related to a company’s production of goods. Our software has tools that help you plan schedules and activities with robust Gantt charts, which also manage resources and costs to keep your production on time and within its budget. But there’s so much more that can help you eliminate waste and maximize your production while maintaining quality control.

Streamline Repetitive Work

One way to reduce waste is to keep your teams focused on important tasks and automate busy work without compromising quality. You can automate workflows by setting up a trigger that automatically changes the status, assignee, tags and more. By designating someone who has the authority to approve the work, you can ensure that nothing moves forward until it meets your quality expectations. That streamlines the process without risking the quality of the products you’re producing.

ProjectManager's task approval settings
Keep Production Teams Productive

Streamlining processes and having task approvals help, but a production manager needs to ensure teams are working at capacity without overburdening them with tasks. Our resource management features make it, first, easy to set team availability so you know who can work when, and, second, balance their workload so they work more productively. Use our color-coded workload page to see at a glance who has too much more and then re-allocate their tasks right from the page.

ProjectManager's workload chart with assignment popup

Production management relies on monitoring processes and tracking metrics, which can be done with our real-time dashboard and customizable reports. For a high-level view of time, cost and more, our live dashboards automatically capture and display easy-to-read graphs and charts. Filter reports on status, variance and more to go deeper into the data. Our tool also has multiple project views so managers can plan on Gantts and teams can execute the visual workflow of a kanban, robust task lists, calendars and more.

ProjectManager is online project management software that helps you plan, manage and track production in real time. Make production plans and schedules, monitor resources and costs and streamline your production cycle to get to market faster. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.