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Product manufacture. Scales of production. How many products are required?. When organising the manufacturing process, it is first necessary to determine how many products are required.

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product manufacture

Product manufacture

Scales of production

how many products are required
How many products are required?

When organising the manufacturing process, it is first necessary to determine how many products are required.

Other factors that affect organisational decisions are how much the customer is likely to pay for the product and the levels of quality that are required.

  • one-off or jobbing production
  • batch production
  • mass or flow production
  • continuous production.

Terms describing the different scales of production are:

one off or jobbing production
One–off or jobbing production
  • This method is dependent upon highly-skilled workers who are able to take on a number of tasks and build a product to a customer’s exact needs. This method is also called custom production.
  • No two products will be exactly the same, which is often the reason why customers are prepared to pay more for one-off products.

Examples of one-off products range from simple items made by a single worker, such as a wedding cake, to very complex products, such as oil rigs manufactured

by hundreds of workers.

batch production
Batch production
  • Batch production involves manufacturing a number of identical products, usually by workers who take on more specialised roles.
  • Manufacturing aids are usually needed, although batch production makes use of generalised tools and equipment, which can be used to make other products.

Bread and cakes are made in batches and the number of products is determined by the amount of dough mixed.

Furniture is also usually made in batches.

Batches may be as small as a handful and as large as several thousand.

mass or flow production
Mass or flow production
  • Products are moved along a production line, as this is a very efficient way of making products in a short period of time.
  • Workers are often less skilled, as there is more reliance upon machinery set up to do a single task at each stage.
  • Many workers may carry out manual tasks on production lines, but this method usually involves some automation.

Car production is organised in this way. The

manufacturing space is created or adapted to allow the production to be as efficient as possible. Many thousands of the same product needs to be manufactured to justify the investment in machinery.

continuous production
Continuous production
  • Continuous production is where the number of products required is so huge that the production line needs to run day and night.
  • To ensure that this can happen, the whole manufacturing plant is often designed around a single product.
  • Automation is vital to

this type of production.

Soft drinks are an example of a product manufactured using continuous production. It is essential that the manufacturing plant is designed to enable the quantities to be achieved at low costs.

just in time manufacturing
Just-in-time manufacturing

Advances in computer technology means that many products can be manufactured using the cost savings of mass production but still give the customer a wide range of choices.

Though not exactly custom production, hundreds of options are possible, as every product is made to an individual specification.

This is possible because of:

  • shared information systems between manufacturer and individual component and material suppliers
  • reduced lead times between placing an order and receiving the product
  • less finance being tied up in stock, as every product is already ordered by a customer and the suppliers provide materials and components when needed.
capital costs
Capital costs
  • Many manufacturing decisions are based upon being able to produce unit costs per product or component that are acceptable to the customer.
  • With high-volume production, such as car manufacturing, an investment of billions of pounds may be required to set up the manufacturing plant.
  • Plastic parts can be produced very cheaply by first making moulds, but many thousands of parts need to be made to offset the cost of making the moulds. Manufacturers would need to be able to sell over 250,000 products to be able to consider injection moulding as a viable production method.
transport and energy costs
Transport and energy costs
  • Transport and energy costs have a major impact on the final cost of the product. There are likely to be big differences depending on the scale of the production.
  • One-off production incurs smaller energy costs, as a lot of hand production takes place.
  • Continuous production incurs massive energy costs, although it is shared out across a lot of products.
  • Local one-off production incurs low transport costs, in contrast to continuous production, where products may be transported around the world.