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What Is the Difference Between Manufacturing and Production?

BlogSupply Chain Management

the Difference Between Manufacturing and Production

Manufacturing and production sound similar. You’ve probably heard or talked about a product being manufactured, or produced. Many people use these terms interchangeably.

While these are very similar, there are also important distinctions between the two. If you need parts or goods made, you should understand the similarities and differences between manufacturing and production.

The primary difference between manufacturing and production is the state of the materials used to reach the end result. Manufacturing uses raw materials, while production uses raw materials or in-progress materials. Production can also deal with tangible and intangible goods, while manufacturing only produces physical goods.

What is manufacturing?

Manufacturing is a process that turns raw materials into a finished product. There are many different types of manufacturing, and different approaches based on the product requirements.

Manufacturing is used to create everything from a car engine block to a kitchen table.

Different machines and manufacturing equipment are often used to mass produce goods for the public. Different processes are used to keep costs low without sacrificing the quality.

Some examples of manufacturing include:

  • Casting
  • Forming
  • Machining
  • Labeling and painting
  • Additive manufacturing

Manufacturing is the middle step in supply chains. The raw material is sourced from a supplier and sent to the manufacturer. The manufacturer uses the raw materials to create a part or product, which is then delivered to the customer.

What is production?

Production is a broader term, and manufacturing can be included under the umbrella of production. Production is the process of creating value from raw materials or inputs.

An input isn’t necessarily a physical part or material. For example, the seats and seatbelts are installed during the production of a car. There aren’t any other physical materials used in that process. The design blueprints and knowledge of the assembly worker are the inputs, and create value. In this stage of the production process the vehicle, seats, seat belts, nuts and bolts were combined with the assembly line equipment and workers.

Prior to that process, the seat belts were manufactured from a raw material: polyester. 

Some production converts raw materials and in-progress products into finished products, it also converts money, information, and labor into finished products.

Another example of intangible production is the financial services provided by your bank. The bank isn’t making any physical products, but they’re using resources, time, effort, and experience to add value to their customers.

Manufacturing vs Production
Manufacturing vs Production

Spex is a precision machine shop based in Rochester, NY. Since 1947, we have used CNC machining to manufacture millions of precision parts for a wide range of industries.

Many of our parts are sent to other businesses to be used in a production line and create finished products. We’re an ISO 9000:2015 certified organization, which means we incorporate world-class excellence in every step of the manufacturing process.

Our shop and partners have limitless capacity, so we can support your business at any level, from rapid prototyping to full-scale operations.

Reach out to our team to learn more about how we can partner with you. 

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