The production department is responsible for converting raw materials and other inputs into finished goods or services. In between the processes of production, the department works to improve the efficiency of the production or assembly line so that it can meet the output targets set by company management and ensure finished products offer consumers the best value and quality.
The production department is responsible for creating the finished products which the company needs to sell to earn a profit.
A business determines the quantity or volume of goods that should be produced within a certain time frame and passes the information to the production department. To meet production targets, the department establishes the quantity of raw materials and types of machinery and equipment required to achieve the desired output level, and may collaborate with the purchasing department to source the inputs. If there isn't sufficient manpower to support productions process, the production department asks the firm to hire more personnel.
With the inputs ready, the production department schedules production processes. This involves planning the tasks to be completed along the production line and allocating the tasks to various production workers. In a woodworking business, for example, the department determines how long lumber will be allowed to dry before being moved to the machining stage for sawing and bending into shape – and finally through the assembly and finishing stages.
The production department is tasked with finding effective ways to lower production costs. One simple way to do this is to keep the production machinery and equipment well-maintained so the firm does not regularly incur repair costs. Along with advising the business to adopt newer technologies, the department can also assess the production line to identify opportunities for cost reduction. For example, if the type of wood used a long time to air-dry – requiring an investment in wood dryers – it could be less costly for a furniture manufacturer to purchase dried lumber.
A production department must ensure finished goods meet minimum quality standards. Apart from checking all products for faults as they move through the production process, the department must perform rigorous tests on prototypes for new products to ensure they meet quality benchmarks before undergoing mass production. Techniques such as waste elimination and process standardization also help to ensure and improve product quality.
From time to time, the production department will furnish the research and development department with information it can use to improve existing products. For example, when the production department of a smartphone manufacturer notices that the material it uses to make phone casings bends when subjected to some pressure, the department must advise the research team so that it can seek stronger materials.