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Operations Manager vs. Production Manager: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

Operations managers and production managers are both responsible for ensuring that a company’s products or services are delivered on time and within budget. However, there are several key differences between these two management positions. In this article, we compare and contrast operations managers and production managers, including their responsibilities, education requirements and average salaries.

What is an Operations Manager?

Operations Managers are responsible for the daily operations of a company or organization. They plan, implement and oversee programs and procedures to ensure that goals are met. Operations Managers work in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, retail and food service. They often oversee teams of employees and may be responsible for hiring, training and performance management. Operations Managers typically develop and implement strategies to improve efficiency and productivity. They also work to resolve issues that arise in the course of daily operations.

What is a Production Manager?

Production Managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations of a company’s production facilities. They oversee the production process to ensure that products are being produced efficiently, effectively and in accordance with company standards. Production Managers work closely with other departments, such as engineering, purchasing and sales, to ensure that production goals are met. They develop production schedules and plans, and track progress to ensure that deadlines are met. Production Managers also resolve any issues that arise during production, such as equipment malfunctions or material shortages. In some cases, Production Managers may also be responsible for training and supervising production staff.

Operations Manager vs. Production Manager

Here are the main differences between an operations manager and a production manager.

Job Duties

Production and operations managers share some job duties, but each manager specializes in different tasks. Production managers oversee the creation of a product, so they’re involved with every aspect of the process. They determine which methods are best for creating a quality product and manage teams that perform those tasks. Operations managers handle other aspects of running a business after a product is produced. They organize production teams, provide leadership and direction, schedule breaks and work with other departments to ensure smooth operation of all business processes.

Production managers typically have more direct interaction with employees on production teams. They often work closely with these individuals to teach them how to complete jobs efficiently and monitor progress while a product is being made. Production managers also help with scheduling, determining which resources are needed and making decisions about equipment purchases. Operations managers usually work in offices, helping with logistics like transportation and shipping schedules, inventory storage and ordering supplies. They may also be responsible for maintaining company records, such as employee or customer databases.

Job Requirements

Operations managers and production managers typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in business administration, engineering or another related field. Some employers prefer candidates to have a master’s degree as well, but it is not required for entry-level positions. Additionally, many operations managers and production managers pursue certifications through professional organizations like the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS) or the International Society of Logistics (SOLE). These organizations offer training programs that teach professionals how to use production software and other tools they might need on the job.

Work Environment

Production managers typically work in manufacturing facilities, where they oversee the entire production process. They may spend most of their time on the factory floor, observing employees and ensuring that all processes are running smoothly. Operations managers usually work in offices, where they manage teams of employees from afar. They may travel to different locations for meetings or to observe operations firsthand.


Operations managers and production managers share some similarities in the skills they use on the job. Both need to be able to understand and interpret data, as well as have strong problem-solving skills. They also both need to be able to manage people and projects effectively.

However, there are some differences in the specific skills used by operations managers and production managers. Operations managers typically need to have a strong understanding of business concepts and principles, as their job involves overseeing the day-to-day operations of a company. They also need to be able to develop and implement strategies, as well as have excellent analytical skills to evaluate the effectiveness of different processes.

Production managers, on the other hand, need to have a strong understanding of manufacturing and production processes. They also need to be able to develop and oversee budgets, as well as have project management skills to ensure that production goals are met.


Operations managers earn an average salary of $75,844 per year, while production managers earn an average salary of $73,786 per year. Both of these salaries may vary depending on the size of the company, the location of the job and the level of experience the employee has prior to taking the job.


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