Difference Wiki

Production Management vs. Operation Management: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 6, 2023
Production management focuses on the manufacturing of products, while operation management oversees the end-to-end process in a business, from raw material to delivery.

Key Differences

Production management deals specifically with the manufacturing side of an organization. It emphasizes the effective and efficient use of resources, like raw materials, machinery, and labor, to produce goods. On the other hand, operation management is a broader term, encompassing all the activities involved in the production of goods and services, from sourcing raw materials to delivering the final product to customers.
Production management is largely concerned with the conversion of raw materials into finished products. It entails activities like production planning, quality control, and cost control. In contrast, operation management considers not only manufacturing but also other functions like procurement, logistics, and even customer service.
The role of production management is vital in industries where goods are manufactured. Its primary goal is to ensure the smooth and cost-effective production of items. Operation management, meanwhile, finds relevance in both the manufacturing and service sectors. It seeks to optimize operations to meet customer demands efficiently.
In terms of challenges, production management usually grapples with issues like machinery downtime, quality defects, or inventory management. Operation management, given its broader scope, deals with a wider range of challenges, from supply chain disruptions to customer service inefficiencies.
Tools and methodologies adopted by production management might include Lean Manufacturing or Total Quality Management (TQM) focusing on production efficiency and quality. In contrast, operation management might use approaches like Six Sigma or Business Process Re-engineering, which focus on overall operational efficiency and effectiveness across the organization.

Comparison Chart


Manufacturing of products.
Entire end-to-end business process.


Limited to production activities.
Covers production, procurement, logistics, and services.

Sector Relevance

Mainly in manufacturing industries.
Relevant in both manufacturing and service sectors.


Machinery downtime, quality defects, inventory.
Supply chain disruptions, customer service inefficiencies.


Lean Manufacturing, TQM.
Six Sigma, Business Process Re-engineering.

Production Management and Operation Management Definitions

Production Management

Involves planning, organizing, and controlling production activities.
Good production management resulted in consistent product quality.

Operation Management

The administration of business practices to ensure efficiency in operations.
Their success can be attributed to excellent operation management.

Production Management

Ensures products are produced efficiently and meet quality standards.
The introduction of new software improved the company's production management processes.

Operation Management

Ensures the business operates efficiently and delivers value to customers.
Investing in training for operation management staff led to significant process improvements.

Production Management

The oversight of the manufacturing process in an organization.
With efficient production management, the company increased its output by 20%.

Operation Management

Concerned with designing and overseeing production processes.
With improved operation management, the company reduced its delivery times.

Production Management

Concerned with converting raw materials into finished goods.
Production management ensures the optimal use of resources in the factory.

Operation Management

Involves planning, directing, and coordinating all operational activities.
As a result of strategic operation management, they increased their market share.

Production Management

Manages resources like labor, machinery, and materials for manufacturing.
The team streamlined production management to reduce waste.

Operation Management

Manages resources across the entire organization to meet customer demands.
Operation management plays a role in both their manufacturing and distribution departments.


What are some challenges faced by operation management?

Challenges can include supply chain disruptions, inefficiencies, and ensuring customer satisfaction.

What is the primary focus of production management?

Production management primarily focuses on the manufacturing of products.

Can service companies have operation management?

Yes, operation management is relevant in both manufacturing and service sectors.

How does operation management differ from production management in scope?

Operation management covers the entire end-to-end business process, while production management is limited to production activities.

Do production management and operation management use different methodologies?

While there's overlap, production management might emphasize methods like Lean Manufacturing, whereas operation management could adopt Six Sigma.

Does production management deal with supply chain issues?

While it may touch on aspects of the supply chain related to manufacturing, operation management more comprehensively addresses supply chain issues.

Is human resource management a concern of production management?

While it deals with labor in the production process, broader human resource concerns would fall under operation management or HR departments.

Which is broader in scope: production or operation management?

Operation management is broader, covering all business activities from raw material to delivery.

Which type of management addresses supplier relationships?

Operation management typically deals with supplier relationships as it encompasses the entire business process.

Is production management only concerned with machinery and labor?

While machinery and labor are essential components, production management also focuses on raw materials, quality, cost control, and more.

How does production management ensure product quality?

It involves quality control measures, regular inspections, and adherence to standards.

Which management type would address customer service?

Operation management would handle customer service as it oversees all business processes.

Can operation management principles be applied to small businesses?

Absolutely, operation management principles can be scaled and applied to businesses of any size.

Can production management principles be applied outside of manufacturing?

While primarily for manufacturing, some principles can be applied elsewhere, but operation management would generally be more suitable.

Is inventory management part of production management?

Yes, inventory management can be a crucial aspect of production management.

What's the role of technology in operation management?

Technology can streamline processes, provide data analytics, and improve overall operational efficiency in operation management.

Is cost control a concern of production management?

Yes, cost control is a vital aspect of production management to ensure profitability.

Which has a more strategic role in a company?

Both are strategic, but operation management might be more holistic, encompassing the entire business strategy.

How does operation management enhance customer value?

By ensuring efficient processes, timely delivery, and high-quality products or services, operation management enhances customer value.

Is production management relevant in a software company?

Not typically, as software companies usually focus more on operation management, encompassing all processes, including software development.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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