Production System

Production systems can be classified as Job Shop, Batch, Mass and Continuous Production systems.

Production Functions

1. Job-Shop Production

This is the oldest method of production on a very small scale. Job shop production are characterized by manufacturing of one or few quantity of products designed and produced as per the specification of customers within prefixed time and cost. The distinguishing feature of this is low volume and high variety of products. With this method individual requirements of consumers can be met. Each job order stands alone and may not be repeated.

A job shop comprises of general purpose machines arranged into different departments. Each job demands unique technological requirements, demands processing on machines in a certain sequence.

Characteristics

The Job-shop production system is followed when there is:

  1. Known for rapid value addition
  2. High variety of products and low volume
  3. Use of general purpose machines and facilities
  4. Highly skilled operators who can take up each job as a challenge because of uniqueness
  5. Large inventory of materials, tools, parts
  6. It deals with ‘low volume and large variety’ production.
  7. Detailed planning is essential for sequencing the requirements of each product, capacities for each work center and order priorities.
  8. This system has a lot of flexibility of operation, and hence general purpose machines are required

Following are the advantages of job shop production:

  1. Because of general purpose machines and facilities variety of products can be produced.
  2. Requires less money and is easy to start with
  3. Operators will become more skilled and competent, as each job gives them learning opportunities.
  4. Less or no management problem because of very small work force.
  5. Full potential of operators can be utilized.
  6. Opportunity exists for creative methods and innovative ideas.

Following are the limitations of job shop production:

  1. Higher cost due to frequent set up changes.
  2. Higher level of inventory at all levels and hence higher inventory cost.
  3. Production planning is complicated.
  4. Low equipment utilization
  5. Larger space requirements.

2. Batch Production

Batch production is defined by American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS) “as a form of manufacturing in which the job passes through the functional departments in lots or batches and each lot may have a different routing.” It is characterized by the manufacture of limited number of products produced at regular intervals and stocked awaiting sales, this justifies the name batch production.

The batch production system is generally adopted in medium size enterprises. Batch production is a stage in between mass production and job-shop production.

Characteristics

Batch production system is used under the following circumstances:

  1. When there is shorter production runs.
  2. When plant and machinery are flexible.
  3. When plant and machinery set up is used for the production of item in a batch and change of set up is required for processing the next batch.
  4. When manufacturing lead time and cost are lower as compared to job order production.

Following are the advantages of batch production:

  1. Better utilization of plant and machinery
  2. Promotes functional specialization
  3. Cost per unit is lower as compared to job order production
  4. Lower investment in plant and machinery
  5. Most suitable for computer-aided-manufacturing
  6. Flexibility to accommodate and process number of products
  7. Job satisfaction exists for operators

Following are the limitations of batch production:

  1. Material handling is complex because of irregular and longer flows.
  2. Production planning and control is complex.
  3. Work in process inventory is higher compared to continuous production.
  4. Higher set up costs due to frequent changes in set up.

3. Mass Production

Manufacture of discrete parts or assemblies using a continuous process are called mass production. This production system is justified by very large volume of production. The machines are arranged in a line or product layout. Product and process standardization exists and all outputs follow the same path.

Characteristics

Mass production is used under the following circumstances:

  1. Standardization of product and process sequence.
  2. Dedicated special purpose machines having higher production capacities and output rates.
  3. Large volume of products.
  4. Shorter cycle time of production.
  5. Lower in process inventory.
  6. Perfectly balanced production lines.
  7. Flow of materials, components and parts is continuous and without any back tracking.
  8. Production planning and control is easy.
  9. Material handling can be completely automatic.

Following are the advantages of mass production:

  1. Higher rate of production with reduced cycle time.
  2. Higher capacity utilization due to line balancing.
  3. Less skilled operators are required.
  4. Low process inventory.
  5. Manufacturing cost per unit is low.

Following are the limitations of mass production:

  1. Breakdown of one machine will stop an entire production line.
  2. Line layout needs major change with the changes in the product design.
  3. High investment in production facilities.
  4. The cycle time is determined by the slowest operation.

4. Continuous Production

Production facilities are arranged as per the sequence of production operations from the first operations to the finished product. The items are made to flow through the sequence of operations through material handling devices such as conveyors, transfer devices, etc.

In this, the production activity continues for 24 hours or on three shifts a day basis. A steel plant, for example, belongs to this type. It is impossible to stop the production process on a short notice without causing a great damage to its blast furnace and related equipment.

Characteristics

Continuous production is used under the following circumstances:

  1. Dedicated plant and equipment with zero flexibility.
  2. Material handling is fully automated.
  3. Process follows a predetermined sequence of operations.
  4. Component materials cannot be readily identified with final product.
  5. Planning and scheduling is a routine action.

Following are the advantages of continuous production:

  1. Standardization of product and process sequence.
  2. Higher rate of production with reduced cycle time.
  3. Higher capacity utilization due to line balancing.
  4. Manpower is not required for material handling as it is completely automatic.
  5. Person with limited skills can be used on the production line.
  6. Unit cost is lower due to high volume of production.

Following are the limitations of continuous production:

  1. Flexibility to accommodate and process number of products does not exist.
  2. Very high investment for setting flow lines.
  3. Product differentiation is limited.
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