7 junio, 2024

Production department: functions, objectives, examples

We explain what the production department consists of, its functions, objectives and we give several examples

What is the production department?

He production department of a company, also called the operations area, is the part of an organization that is dedicated to transforming resources or inputs into the final product that will reach the customer. This department is not only found in industrial or goods-producing companies, but also in service companies.

Since the beginning of the industrial era, the production department was in charge of managing the entire production line: from raw materials to their transformation into final goods. However, companies are now much more varied, with multiple types of goods and services, both tangible and intangible.

For this reason there are organizations that do not produce tangible goods, but services; in these cases, this area is usually called operations.

To simplify we will unite all goods and services, both tangible and intangible, in the word «product». Thus, when talking about a product, we are talking about the products or services that exist in the business world.

Why is the production department important?

The production department in a company is in charge of the creation or manufacture of the final goods or services, so its function is essential for the product to reach the consumer in optimal conditions.

For this reason, it must take into account various fronts, such as production planning, minimizing production costs, ensuring optimal quality or product and process design, among other elements.

Depending on the type of company and its products, the production or operations department may vary. However, even if the functions change, the objectives are always the same.

Functions of the production department

The functions of this department are as varied as the different types of products and services on the market. However, we are going to analyze the most common functions in all companies:

Identify the necessary inputs in the production process

The production department is responsible for determining the amount of inputs needed to achieve the target of production.

To do this, it can collaborate with other departments, such as purchasing, so that the materials needed at each stage of production are never lacking.

plan production

Once the inputs are prepared, the department has to plan all the tasks and processes necessary to achieve the target of product in the established time.

To achieve this, it has to carry out tasks such as the assignment of tasks to workers, its incentive system or the capacity of inventories, if any.

Minimize production costs

Another important function within this area is to find effective ways to reduce the unit cost of production, in order to maximize the benefits of the organization.

If there is machinery, one of the simplest ways to achieve this objective is to keep it in good condition so as not to have to incur repair costs.

Other ways could be to review the entire production process, in order to find more efficient alternatives in any of the stages.

innovate and improve

Being the one who supervises each stage of the production process, it is very possible that this department detects processes that can be improved. Innovations could also be thought of that minimize time and, with it, costs.

If this happens, the production department has to work with the design, technical and purchasing areas to implement these improvements as soon as possible.

Ensure product quality

A production department is responsible for ensuring that the finished products reach the consumer with the minimum quality standards.

For this, this area must be continuously looking for errors and failures in the different phases of product production. Carrying out continuous evaluations and controls of the processes is essential so that the final product is manufactured in optimal conditions.

Objectives of the production department

The objectives of the production department are very varied and go hand in hand with its functions. The main objective is to coordinate and execute the different processes of the production process, in order to deliver the final product to the consumer with all the minimum quality standards. This great objective can be broken down into the following:

Achieve the necessary infrastructure to carry out production in good conditions.
Discover innovations for greater efficiency in the different stages of the production process.
Supervise and manage the entire production process, from inputs to the final product.
Determine the amount of product to produce taking into account the inventory and available inputs.
Achieve optimal quality of the final product.

examples

Let’s take the example of two completely different businesses: a company that makes airplane wings and another that is dedicated to designing web solutions.

In the case of the wing company, the area would probably be called production and would be in charge of the following functions:

Coordinate the necessary inputs (for example, aluminum) necessary for the production of the final parts (wings).
Ensure quality throughout the process so that the final good reaches the customer in optimal conditions.
Planning of the entire process, from raw materials to their transformation into wings.
Search for more efficient ways to produce wings with the same quality standard.
Management of the necessary infrastructure to carry out all production.
Inventory management.

In the case of the web solutions company, the department would be the operations department. The functions would be similar but adapted to a more intangible business:

Coordinate the design and programming of the different web solutions.
Ensure that solutions are tailored to the needs of users.
Planning the creation process of the different solutions.
Search for improvements in usability and ease of use.

As we can see, there are some similarities but, in general, the functions are completely different. However, the objectives are the same.

References

Drucker, Peter; Hesselbein, French. The 5 keys of Peter Drucker: The leadership that makes the difference (Spanish Edition)
Arango Angel, Daniel (2016). «Modern times of productivity». Agreements Magazine
Telsang, Martand (2006). Industrial engineering and production management. S. Chand,
Fargher, Hugh E., and Richard A. Smith. “Method and system for production planning.”
Herrmann, Jeffrey W. “A history of production scheduling Archived 2014-11-29 at the Wayback Machine..” Handbook of Production Scheduling. Springer USA

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