• Job Production
  • Mass Production
  • Batch Production
  • Lean Manufacturing

Involves producing custom work, such as a one-off product for a specific customer or a small batch of work in quantities usually less than those of mass-market products. It is the oldest form of production. Individual products are made, with probably not a lot of standardized parts in it.

Fabrication shops and machine shops whose work is primarily of the job production. Job production is manufacturing on a contract basis, and thus it forms a subset of the larger field of contract manufacturing. A higher level of outsourcing in which a product-line-owning company entrusts its entire production to a contractor, rather than just outsourcing parts of it.

Key benefits of job production include:

  • can provide emergency parts or services, such as quickly making a machine part that would take a long time to acquire otherwise
  • can provide parts or services for machinery or systems that are otherwise not available, as when the original supplier no longer supports the product or goes out of business (orphaned)
  • work is generally of a high quality
  • a high level of customization is possible to meet the customer's exact requirements
  • significant flexibility is possible, especially when compared to mass production
  • workers can be easily motivated due to the skilled nature of the work they are performing

Limitations include:

  • higher cost of production
  • re-engineering: sometimes engineering drawings or an engineering assessment, including calculations or specifications, needs to be made before the work can be done
  • requires the use of specialist labor
  • slow production rate

Mass Production involves making many copies of products, very quickly, using assembly line techniques to send partially complete products to workers who each work on an individual step, rather than having a worker work on a whole product from start to finish. The concepts of mass production are applied to various kinds of products from particulates handled in bulk to discrete solid parts to assemblies of such parts.

Mass production benefited from the development of materials such as inexpensive steel, high strength steel and plastics. Machining of metals was greatly enhanced with high speed steel and later very hard materials such as tungsten carbide for cutting edges. Fabrication using steel components was aided by the development of welding and stamped steel parts, both which appeared in industry in about 1890. Plastics such as polyethylene, polystyrene and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) can be easily formed into shapes by extrusion, blow molding or injection molding, resulting in very low cost manufacture of consumer products, plastic piping, containers and parts.

Key benefits of mass production:

  • Each worker repeats one or a few related tasks that use the same tool to perform identical or near-identical operations on a stream of products. The exact tool and parts are always at hand, having been moved down the assembly line consecutively. The worker spends little or no time retrieving and/or preparing materials and tools, and so the time taken to manufacture a product using mass production is shorter
  • The probability of human error and variation is also reduced, as tasks are predominantly carried out by machinery.
  • A reduction in labour costs, as well as an increased rate of production, enables a company to produce a larger quantity of one product at a lower cost than using traditional, non-linear methods.
  • Mass production permitted great increases in total production.


  • Mass production is inflexible because it is difficult to alter a design or production process after a production line is implemented.
  • All products produced on one production line will be identical or very similar, and introducing variety to satisfy individual tastes is not easy. However, some variety can be achieved by applying different finishes and decorations at the end of the production line if necessary.

Mass production allowed the evolution of consumerism by lowering the unit cost of many goods.

Batch production is a technique used in manufacturing, in which the object in question is created stage by stage over a series of workstations.

Benefits of batch production:

  • It can reduce initial capital outlay because a single production line can be used to produce several products.
  • Batch production can be useful for small businesses who cannot afford to run continuous production lines. If a retailer buys a batch of a product that does not sell, then the producer can cease production without having to sustain huge losses.
  • Batch production is also useful for a factory that makes demand driven products for which it is difficult to forecast demand.


  • There are inefficiencies associated with batch production as equipment must be stopped, re-configured, and its output tested before the next batch can be produced.
  • Idle time between batches is known as downtime.
  • The time between consecutive batches is known as cycle time.
  • Continuous production is used for products that are made in a similar manner.

Identified in 1990s, Production practices that considers the expenditure of resources for any goal other than the creation of value for the end customer to be wasteful, and thus a target for elimination. Working from the perspective of the customer who consumes a product or service, "value" is defined as any action or process that a customer would be willing to pay for.

Lean is centered on “preserving value with less work

Lean manufacturing is a variation on the theme of efficiency based on optimizing flow; it is a present-day instance of the recurring theme in human history toward increasing efficiency, decreasing waste, and using empirical methods to decide what matters, rather than uncritically accepting pre-existing ideas.

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