Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Differences between manufacturing and production

The two phrases ‘to produce’ and ‘to manufacture’ are often considered synonyms and are used as replacements for each other. Many a times, the use of the two has actually ben interchanged. However, to produce is not entirely the same as to manufacture. As a layman, one might consider both the words to describe a process in which something new is made. Although that is true, but there are a few differences between the two words.

The common use of the term production is in many contexts, within as well as outside an industry. Manufacturing, as opposed to this, usually finds its use in the industrial sector. Production is a broad category that includes manufacturing so it can be said that though all sorts of manufacturing falls in production, not all productions fall in manufacturing.

In very simple words, to convert inputs into outputs by a number of chain operations is what production is. Manufacturing however includes all operations for which resource consumption is necessary. As explained in this difference, the main distinctive factor between the two is the raw material.

There are various ways to describe production. Although we may not have used it this way but the use of the word production can also be to refer to an artistic or literary work. This means that the work of artists also falls under the category of production. In fact, a stage show or a drama is also described as a production. Without realizing, we all talk about producers of movies! In none of the above examples can we use the word manufacturing. A very simple definition of manufacturing is to make a product which is suitable for use. An example would be how steel mills produce steel by using iron or how furniture is produced using the tree bark or wood. In both of these examples, something is being manufactured. The productions mentioned are actually manufacturing processes if we talk more precisely. So the bottom line is that tangible products can be produced or manufactured but intangible products can just be produced.

Production is often used to describe the total output. In other instances, the act or the process of producing something is also what production refers to. In contrast to this, where production can refer to almost anything that has been made; manufacturing is when something is produced according to a proper and organized plan usually involving specialization and division of labour. Therefore, if something is made in a factory by a chain of processes and a well-established plan, it is a type of production best described as a manufacturing process.

Another important difference that has gained greater significance in the modern world due to the increasing information technology and mechanization is that manufacturing processes can be entirely controlled by machines (as it is a proper, organized plan for which the machines can be programmed) without a single process being performed by an individual. Production however, has a chain that normally involves employees and/or machines.

To outline the difference between manufacturing and production with respect to the supply chain, manufacturing describes the process in which the company makes the final product after procuring the raw material from outside. As opposed to this, the raw material, in the case of production, is not procured from outside. The company actually owns the raw material(s) and makes the final product after processing it.

Summary of differences expressed in points:

  1. Manufacturing is used in context with production in the industry whereas production refers to anything being produced within or outside an industry.
  2. All sorts of manufacturing is included in production but not all production is manufacturing.
  3. Production is simply conversion of inputs into outputs. Raw material consumption is necessary to call a process manufacturing.
  4. Manufacturing produces products suitable for use; production describes any production-products such as artworks, paintings etc.
  5. Tangible products can be produced or manufactured but intangible products can just be produced
  6. Manufacturing involves production by an organized plan; this is not necessary for production, a mere painting is also the production of an artist
  7. Manufacturing can be entirely by machines; production must also involve individual employees
  8. In manufacturing, the company makes the final product after procuring the raw material from outside; this is not necessary for production in which the company processes the raw material to make the final product

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