Production structures are used for keeping your colonists fed as well as processing raw materials.
Word orders are initiated by selecting the production building, then hitting the 'Bills' button. This opens a list from which you can select the bills to be completed.
Production machinery that use electricity can break down, indicated by a yellow notice envelope. A red flashing mark on the machine indicates it's broken. The machine won't work until a repairer fixes it and requires just one component.
Production tables that don't use electricity are not affected and will never break down.