Production Process: Definition and Types for Businesses To Use

Updated March 10, 2023

When a company creates products to sell to consumers, they typically use a strict production process. This involves following various steps, from the input stage of product creation to the output stage of selling to consumers. The right production process for each organization typically depends on the technology available, how many products the company needs to produce and organizational structure.

In this article, we review what a production process is, the elements of choosing the right production process and the types of processes available.

What is a production process?

A production process is a method of using economic input or resources, like labor, capital equipment or land, to provide goods and services to consumers. The production process typically covers how to efficiently and productively manufacture products for sale to reach customers quickly without sacrificing the quality of the product. There are many different types of production processes businesses can follow, according to their manufacturing goals, production numbers and technology tools or software systems.

Related: What is Cost of Production?

Elements of a production decision

An important part of being a manufacturing manager is making big-picture production decisions that impact the efficiency levels of the creation and sales of products. The key elements involved in making production decisions include:

Amount to produce

Review the order number of your products to determine your production method and creation process. If you realize you need to produce large bulks of the same product at once, you may follow a mass production method. You may need to practice a different and more intricate production process if you're manufacturing several different unique products at once.

Whether to move forward with mass production

There may be some products or materials that require closer design or creation to provide unique and personalized features or elements to the product that you may have promised to consumers. Because of this, consider whether mass production or manufacturing is the best option to pursue. Instead, you can strategize a non-automated process that takes longer for product designers to create but provides them with a hand-crafted, customized final product.

Related: Factors of Production: A Definitive Guide

Technology to use

Selecting the right production process can often depend on the type of technology you have available. For instance, if you have a large bulk of the same product orders, you may not be able to follow a clear mass production structure if you don't have the proper technology to track, sort or build these products accordingly. Think about the technology you have available and the approved budget you can use to buy the necessary systems and items to use the production process needed.

Input combinations to use

Input combinations are the labor and capital methods that go into manufacturing a product. Before deciding how many products to produce and your method for building them, you must make sure the material costs and the payment of employees equal a fair enough amount. This ensures you're still earning enough revenue from the products to make a decent and financially stable profit, which helps the organization function properly.

Related: What Is Process Costing? (With Example)

Types of production

The different types of production businesses can implement depending on their product and organizational needs include:

Mass production

In mass production, employees continuously produce the same items. Team members are typically split up into different workstations for everyone to use at once. Each workstation typically represents one material or addition to a product. Once the product gets to the end of the line, it's fully complete and ready to deliver to the customer. As one part of the product is being worked on, another is operating as well, which makes the process more efficient and productive.

Related: The Different Types of Manufacturing Environments and Jobs

Craft production

This is a non-automated process that's usually used on products that need personal care and attention in order to deliver a quality product to the consumer. Many companies use this type of production when customers order customized products that include certain unique colors, shapes, patterns or words on the design.

Related: 7 Steps of the Design Process

Batch production

Organizations typically use batch productions when they need to produce several groups of items. When this occurs, employees work in subsections of each group to complete different sections of certain batches. It operates similarly to a mass production process, but instead of creating just one product, the organization builds several different products and splits them into various groups, also known as batches.

Job production

When creating lower-demand products, most organizations follow a job production process. This involves building a single item all at once, rather than splitting into groups that work on different parts of the product.

Since customers typically order this product less often than others, employees may briefly move away from their position in the mass production process and complete the entire automated system of building this product at once before returning to other ongoing tasks. This process usually only applies to items that have significantly low demand or are unique finds for consumers.

Service production

This process entails automating a certain service to customers. You can provide personalized services offered on machines that allow customers to press buttons to request and receive assistance. Another service production method is technical support. If customers experience issues with one of the company's technical products and need additional guidance on how to use them, they can quickly access resources and materials to answer their questions if the support team is currently unavailable.

Mass customization

This type of process is a mass production line that creates products unique and customized according to consumers' needs. The customer may have the option to select certain customization options from a list of colors, shapes or patterns. When they select certain options, the mass customization process completes a unique and automated process for each individual item.

For example, many clothing and merchandising stores use this process to make clothing and accessory items according to customers' measurements or color preferences.

Jobs for the production process

If you're interested in production process jobs or working in the production industry, there are several interesting options you might consider. Here's a list of 10 production process jobs to explore:

1. Production process operator

2. Production associate

3. Production technician

4. Machine operator

5. Production assembler

6. Maintenance supervisor

7. Production engineer

8. Laborer

9. Production supervisor

10. Packaging operator

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