- production management
or operations managementPlanning, implementation, and control of industrial production processes to ensure smooth and efficient operation.Production management techniques are used in both manufacturing and service industries. Production management responsibilities include the traditional "five M's": men and women, machines, methods, materials, and money. Managers are expected to maintain an efficient production process with a workforce that can readily adapt to new equipment and schedules. They may use industrial engineering methods, such as time-and-motion studies, to design efficient work methods. They are responsible for managing both physical (raw) materials and information materials (paperwork or electronic documentation). Of their duties involving money, inventory control is the most important. This involves tracking all component parts, work in process, finished goods, packaging materials, and general supplies. The production cycle requires that sales, financial, engineering, and planning departments exchange informationsuch as sales forecasts, inventory levels, and budgetsuntil detailed production orders are dispatched by a production-control division. Managers must also monitor operations to ensure that planned output levels, cost levels, and quality objectives are met. See also productivity.
* * *Introductionalso called operations management,planning and control of industrial processes to ensure that they move smoothly at the required level. Techniques of production management are employed in service as well as in manufacturing industries. It is a responsibility similar in level and scope to other specialties such as marketing or human resource and financial management. In manufacturing operations, production management includes responsibility for product and process design, planning and control issues involving capacity and quality, and organization and supervision of the workforce.The “five M's”Production management's responsibilities are summarized by the “five M's”: men, machines, methods, materials, and money. “Men” refers to the human element in operating systems. Since the vast majority of manufacturing personnel work in the physical production of goods, “people management” is one of the production manager's most important responsibilities.The production manager must also choose the machines and methods of the company, first selecting the equipment and technology to be used in the manufacture of the product or service and then planning and controlling the methods and procedures for their use. The flexibility of the production process and the ability of workers to adapt to equipment and schedules are important issues in this phase of production management.The production manager's responsibility for materials includes the management of flow processes—both physical (raw materials) and information (paperwork). The smoothness of resource movement and data flow is determined largely by the fundamental choices made in the design of the product and in the process to be used.The manager's concern for money is explained by the importance of financing and asset utilization to most manufacturing organizations. A manager who allows excessive inventories to build up or who achieves level production and steady operation by sacrificing good customer service and timely delivery runs the risk that overinvestment or high current costs will wipe out any temporary competitive advantage that might have been obtained.Planning and controlAlthough the five M's capture the essence of the major tasks of production management, control summarizes its single most important issue. The production manager must plan and control the process of production so that it moves smoothly at the required level of output while meeting cost and quality objectives. Process control has two purposes: first, to ensure that operations are performed according to plan, and second, to continuously monitor and evaluate the production plan to see if modifications can be devised to better meet cost, quality, delivery, flexibility, or other objectives. For example, when demand for a product is high enough to justify continuous production, the production level might need to be adjusted from time to time to address fluctuating demand or changes in a company's market share. This is called the “production-smoothing” problem. When more than one product is involved, complex industrial engineering or operations research procedures are required to analyze the many factors that impinge on the problem.Inventory control is another important phase of production management. Inventories (inventory) include raw materials, component parts, work in process, finished goods, packing and packaging materials, and general supplies. Although the effective use of financial resources is generally regarded as beyond the responsibility of production management, many manufacturing firms with large inventories (some accounting for more than 50 percent of total assets) usually hold production managers responsible for inventories. Successful inventory management, which involves the solution of the problem of which items to carry in inventory in various locations, is critical to a company's competitive success. Not carrying an item can result in delays in getting needed parts or supplies, but carrying every item at every location can tie up huge amounts of capital and result in an accumulation of obsolete, unusable stock. Managers generally rely on mathematical models and computer systems developed by industrial engineers and operations researchers to handle the problems of inventory control.To control labour costs (human resources management), managers must first measure the amount and type of work required to produce a product and then specify well-designed, efficient methods for accomplishing the necessary manufacturing tasks. The concepts of work measurement and time study introduced by Taylor and the Gilbreths, as well as incentive systems to motivate and reward high levels of worker output, are important tools in this area of management. In new operations particularly, it is important to anticipate human resource requirements and to translate them into recruiting and training programs so that a nucleus of appropriately skilled operators is available as production machinery and equipment are installed. Specialized groups responsible for support activities (such as equipment maintenance, plant services and production scheduling, and control activities) also need to be hired, trained, and properly equipped. This type of careful personnel planning reduces the chance that expensive capital equipment will stand idle and that effort, time, and materials will be wasted during start-up and regular operations.The effective use and control of materials often involves investigations of the causes of scrap and waste; this, in turn, can lead to alternative materials and handling methods to improve the production process. The effective control of machinery and equipment depends on each machine's suitability to its specific task, the degree of its utilization, the extent to which it is kept in optimum running condition, and the degree to which it can be mechanically or electronically controlled.The importance of models and methodsProduction-control summaryBecause of the enormous complexity of typical production operations and the almost infinite number of changes that can be made and the alternatives that can be pursued, a productive body of quantitative methods has been developed to solve production management problems. Most of these techniques have emerged from the fields of industrial engineering, operations research, and systems engineering. Specialists in these fields are increasingly using computers and information processing to solve production problems involving the masses of data associated with large numbers of workers, massive inventories, and huge quantities of work in process that characterize most of today's production operations. Indeed, many mass production operations could not run without the support of these industrial engineers and technical specialists. The important aspects of production control are summarized in the Table (Production-control summary).William K. HolsteinAdditional ReadingTwo handbooks contain a wealth of general information on industrial production systems, methods, problems, and management techniques: Gordon B. Carson, Harold A. Bolz, and Hewitt H. Young (eds.), Production Handbook, 3rd ed. (1972); and H.B. Maynard (ed.), Industrial Engineering Handbook, 3rd ed. (1971). See also Franklin G. Moore and Thomas E. Hendrick, Production/Operations Management, 8th ed. (1980), a classic textbook covering a wide range of topics in nontechnical language; and Harwood F. Merrill (ed.), Classics in Management, rev. ed. (1970), an excellent collection of excerpts from the writings of several pioneers in industrial production, including Frederick W. Taylor, Henri Fayol, and Frank B. and Lillian M. Gilbreth. Two general texts that cover many aspects of the general field treated in this article are Elwood S. Buffa, Modern Production/Operations Management, 7th ed. (1983); and Richard B. Chase and Nicholas Acquilano, Production and Operations Management: A Life Cycle Approach, 4th ed. (1985).General references with broad coverage include Everett E. Adam, Jr., and Ronald J. Evert, Production and Operations Management: Concepts, Models, and Behavior, 2nd ed. (1982); and Roy D. Harris and Richard F. Gonzalez, The Operations Manager: Role, Problems, Techniques (1981). An analytical approach to production control is Samuel Eilon, Elements of Production Planning and Control (1962). The use of operational research models is covered in Edward H. Bowman and Robert B. Fetter, Analysis for Production and Operations Management, 3rd ed. (1967); Elwood S. Buffa and Jeffrey G. Miller, Production-Inventory Systems: Planning and Control, 3rd ed. (1979); and Martin K. Starr, Production Management: Systems and Synthesis, 2nd ed. (1972). More specialized works are Martin K. Starr and David W. Miller, Inventory Control: Theory and Practice (1962); John F. Muth and Gerald L. Thompson (eds.), Industrial Scheduling (1963). More general references dealing with strategic issues include William J. Abernathy, Kim B. Clark, and Alan M. Kantrow, Industrial Renaissance: Producing a Competitive Future for America (1983); James O'Toole, Making America Work: Productivity and Responsibility (1981); and a collection of articles from the Harvard Business Review, Survival Strategies for American Industry, ed. by Alan M. Kantrow (1983).
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