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11 Types of Manufacturing

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Manufacturing is the process of producing finished goods that can be sold to consumers or businesses. This includes the production of goods that may be used to produce other goods such as parts, materials and components. Manufacturing has several basic types as follows.

Mass Production

Production of standardized goods at high volume often using highly automated production lines. This is a primary characteristic of the industrial revolution that transformed economies and societies beginning in the late 18th century.

Assembly Lines

Assembly lines are the sequential process of moving units from workstation to workstation whereby they are incrementally assembled, improved or tested at each station. One of the key innovations of the late stage industrial revolution.

Process Manufacturing

Production that deals with ingredients, formulations and contiguous materials as opposed to the parts and components of an assembly line. These processes are analogous to the recipes used in cooking and involve combining substances in specified quantities and processing them.

Batch Production

The production of a number of units all at the same time. This can involve steps whereby the entire batch moves together from step to step. For example, a bakery that makes 400 cupcakes each morning in four steps -- pouring, baking, icing and packaging.

Continuous Manufacturing

A production line where all workstations run in parallel with units continuously entering and finishing production. This is oriented towards high volume production that is efficient, complex and capital intensive.

Custom Manufacturing

Manufacturing to customer designs, specifications or preferences. Often based on a tool that you provide to customers for designing or customizing items. Actual production can use numerous methods. For example, deferred differentiation whereby you manufacture standard items and then customize them as a final step later.

Job Production

Production that is a one-time or limited-time process. This can be planning and setup intensive and often requires much labor. It doesn't always make sense to optimize and automate these processes because they are not scaled.

Contract Manufacturing

Services that will manufacture to custom designs, specifications and parameters. Provides access to advanced manufacturing for no upfront capital investment. Can require intensive partner management.

Lean Manufacturing

Lean manufacturing is a series of principles that you can build into your processes and culture in order to be more efficient and to achieve goals in areas such as quality, cost, safety and waste reduction.

Additive Manufacturing

Production based on 3D printing. Has the potential to transform industry with mass competition in the production of simple goods from small scale producers. Complex production may also change with potential for on-demand custom manufacturing at scale.

Traditional Manufacturing

Manufacturing methods that have been sustained for several generations. This includes assembly lines and industrial-era methods as well as production of crafts and other cultural items such as traditional foods.

Core Concepts

The following are foundational or interesting manufacturing concepts.


This is the complete list of articles we have written about manufacturing.
Acceptance Sampling
Assembly Line
Batch Production
Cell Production
Continuous Process
Continuous Production
Craft Production
Cycle Time
Delayed Differentiation
Finished Goods
Genchi Genbutsu
Interchangeable Parts
Intermittent Production
Job Production
Job Shop
Lead Time
Light Industry
Lights Out
Make To Stock
Manufacturing Industry
Manufacturing Quality
Mass Customization
Mass Production
Process Manufacturing
Production Line
Production Process
Production Run
Quality Control
Takt Time
Target Costing
Theory Of Constraints
White Label
More ...
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Batch Production

A definition of batch production with an example.

Job Production

A definition of job production with several examples.

Mass Production

A definition of mass production with an example.

Production Line

An overview of production lines.
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