Manufacturing of new products requires product design and complete description of the steps involved. Companies should opt for a production system, which will enable production of the desired quality of goods at the right time. The major types of manufacturing processes are job shop, batch shop, assembly and continuous. Selection of optimal manufacturing process is very crucial for attaining cost reduction and quality improvement.
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It is an early form of manufacturing process and offers flexibility of process layout. In this, different products are manufactured in small batches, which are designed by the customer specifications. The production process contains a set of processing steps, which are unique in nature. The variable cost is high even though the volume of production is low. In this process, jobs travel in a jumbled routing and the part to be worked on is passed to sequence of operations. Grouping of similar equipments or functions are seen in the job shop process, which helps in reducing the material handling cost. Work in progress inventories also can be reduced. As employees operate several machines, they are highly skilled and thus require less supervision.
It is somewhat similar to job shop process and is used for products for which demand forecasting can be made especially seasonal products. Large volumes with wide range of products are produced repeatedly in a batch. Production in large volume is possible in batch shop production. All the components go to next workstation only after the completion in the first step and testing of output. Thus, there exists a time gap between the batches of production and it is called down time. Here flexibility is less while capital investment and volume of production as also variable costs are moderate. Reduced initial capital outlay due to single production line is the major drawback of batch shop.
Assembly line production process
In this, the finished product is obtained through planned logistics in a sequential manner. It is used in case of standardized products with narrow range. Statistics shows that Ford Motor Company had originally developed the assembly line. The activities in the assembly line are connected and offer less chance of flexibility. One of the advantages is that the volume of production is high. The variable cost is low with low labor content and skill.
Continuous flow production process
In this form of manufacturing process there is no interruption in the production process and materials are produced in a continuous manner. Fixed pace and sequence of activities are the main characteristics of continuous flow process, thus leading to high volume of production. We can obtain standardized products with high capital investment and low variable cost.
Case of Coco Cola
Popsicles and chewing gum provide huge amount of customer satisfaction with high capacity. These are two favorite items of children. The supply of these items helps the company achieve high rate of return. As the requirement is high growth and high volume of production, the company will do well to choose either batch production or assembly line production.
Product variety and volume of production are the key factors which determine the production process. Marketing plans also influence the selection of process and it depends upon the product life cycle stage. Product process matrix of Robert H. Hayes and Steven C. Wheelwright, could be used to choose the process of the product by considering the product life cycle. We can conclude that such a manufacturing process should be selected which offers a high economy of scale by break-even analysis. (Process flow structures, 2007).
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Process flow structures. (2007). Net MBA: Business Knowledge Center. Web.