Defining Manufacturing Costs vs Production Costs

Manufacturing Cost vs Production Cost
  • January 23, 2024

Cost management is one of the biggest challenges business leaders face. Production and manufacturing costs determine supply chain and logistics business performance. Operation success depends on understanding these two cost categories and their differences. In this article, we will look at the differences between manufacturing costs and production costs. Many businesses struggle to define where one cost set ends and the next begins. Having a clear understanding of each set of costs will help you make better decisions about how to optimize your supply chain and improve business profits.

Difference Between Manufacturing and Production 

Businesses need to be able to define their manufacturing costs from their production costs. Manufacturing costs are incurred as raw materials are turned into finished goods. These costs include materials, labor, and manufacturing overhead expenses. Production costs are incurred from the completion of manufacturing until the final delivery of the product to a customer. These costs include transportation, warehousing, and distribution costs. 

What are Manufacturing Costs?

Manufacturing costs are associated with product creation. They typically include materials, labor, and manufacturing overhead costs and are associated with the cost of creating a product.

Direct Materials 

Direct materials are raw materials and components that are used directly in the manufacturing process. Examples include metals, plastics, fabrics, and electronics. These materials make up a large part of manufacturing costs and vary depending on market conditions, availability, and quality.

Direct Labor

Wages, salaries, and benefits paid to workers directly involved in the manufacturing process are referred to as direct labor. Individuals working on assembly lines, operating machinery, and conducting quality control checks fall into this category. In an increasingly automated world, direct labor costs can be influenced by technology adoption and the level of human involvement required in the production process.

Manufacturing Overhead

Manufacturing overhead includes all costs not directly related to materials or labor. Factory rent, utilities, equipment maintenance, depreciation, and indirect labor are examples. Manufacturing overhead is crucial to pricing and determining manufacturing costs.

What are Production Costs?

Production costs are the costs incurred as a product moves through the supply chain. These costs begin as soon as the manufacturing process is completed and continue until the final delivery of the product to the customer. Manufacturing costs are limited to product creation, whereas production costs include logistics and distribution.


Transportation costs include the movement of finished goods from the factory to a distribution center. Associated costs like fuel, freight, and shipping fall into this expense category also.

Costs of Distribution 

Distribution costs include inventory storage, handling, and management throughout the supply chain. This includes warehouse fees, inventory management systems, packaging materials, and other distribution network storage and shipping costs.

Other Related Activities

Aside from transportation and distribution costs, production costs can include a variety of other activities required to bring the product to market. These can include marketing, advertising, sales commissions, customer support, and other costs related to product availability and customer demand.

Transitioning From Manufacturing Costs to Production Costs 

Understanding the transition point from manufacturing costs to production costs is crucial for effectively managing expenses. This transition typically occurs when the manufacturing process is complete, and the finished products are ready to be moved out of the factory. The focus shifts from internal manufacturing to external product launch activities. Transition points vary from one business to another and should be defined inside of the business' operating procedures.

Drive Profitability and Reliability in Your Supply Chain

Partner with Visigistics to improve your supply chain, streamline logistics, and gain insights to overcome today's challenges. Our supply chain and logistics consulting services help manufacturers and distributors navigate global uncertainties with customized strategies and logistics options. With Visigistics, you can streamline logistics and meet market demand with consistent product availability. Discover market trends, evaluate business options, and work with Visigistics to get things done.

Leaders need supply chain options. Don't let uncertainty define your business. To improve supply chain reliability and efficiency, contact Visigistics today.






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