In this essay we will discuss about the production system used in industries.
Essay # 1. Process Production (or Continuous Manufacturing):
Continuous production situations are those where facilities are standardised as to routings and flow since inputs are standardised. Therefore, a standard set of processes, and sequences of process can be adopted. Continuous production involves continuous production of goods in anticipation of customer demand rather than in response to customer order Examples of industries using this technology are petroleum, chemical, steel and sugar industries. Continuous industries may be classified into (i) analytical, and (ii) synthetically industries.
An analytical industry, such as an oil refinery, breaks up the material into several parts along with the process of production. But a synthetically industry, such as a cement factory, involves the mixing up of two or more materials to manufacture a product. Since continuous manufacturing lends itself to standardisation of production techniques and to mechanisation wherever possible, labour costs can be kept to a comparatively low level.
The main characteristics of continuous production system are as follows:
(a) Machines required for successive operations on a product are placed side by side.
(b) Machine capacities are balanced because operation on a machine may take more time than the others.
(c) Fixed-path materials handling equipment is used because of pre-determined sequence of operations.
(d) Special-purpose machines are used which are capable of performing specific operations only. The use of special purpose machines is justified by large scale production.
Essay # 2. Job Production:
Job production involves the procedure of manufacturing a product according to a specific customer order. The products are non-standardised and are heterogeneous in nature. As a result, the labour costs are very high. The customers may also place orders in small batches. Each batch consists of a small lot of in identical products and is different from the other batches.
The main characteristics of job production are as follows:
(a) The production facilities are organised according to the customer order.
(b) The products produced are non-standardised and heterogeneous in nature.
(c) General purpose machines like grinders and drills are used.
(d) Variable materials handling equipment like lift, trucks, cranes, cart, etc., are used.
(e) Inventories of raw materials and in-process are very high.
Essay # 3. Intermittent Manufacturing:
It is a mixture of the first two technologies and is frequently used by mass production firms. Intermittent manufacturing is also known as large batch production.
“Intermittent production situations are those where the facilities must be flexible enough to handle a wide variety of products and sizes or where the basic nature of the activity imposes change of important characteristics of the input (change in product design) in instances such as these, no single sequence or pattern of operations is appropriate, so the relative location of the operation must be a compromise that is best for all inputs considered together.”
In case of intermittent industries, components are made for inventory but they are combined differently for different customers. The finished product is heterogeneous but within a range of standardised options assembled by the manufacturers.
Since production is partly for inventory and partly for customer demand, there are problems to be met in scheduling, forecasting, control and coordination. Examples of intermittent industries are automobile plants, electrical goods manufacturing plants and printing presses.
The main characteristics of intermittent manufacturing are as follows:
(a) It is a mixture of continuous and job production.
(b) Large variety of products are made in small quantities. Generally, components are made for inventory, but they are combined as per customer order.
(c) The finished product is heterogeneous but within a range of standardised options assembled by the manufacturer.
(d) Both general purpose and special purpose machines are used.
(e) Workloads of different departments are unbalanced.
Selection of Production Equipment and Processes:
Alternative equipment and processes are available for each production system. Selection of proper equipment and process is very important since they involve a huge capital investment. This task is still more important in those industries where the risk of technological obsolescence is high.
Production equipment is installed to save labour costs. The cost of the equipment should be compared with the estimated savings in labour costs over the life of the equipment to decide the purchase of the equipment. In many cases, equipment is purchased because it facilitates accuracy and eliminates mistakes in production.
The production manager must be aware of various factors while selecting the production equipment. He should compare the different alternatives to arrive at such a decision. Availability of critical factors like skilled labour, power, raw materials, etc. should also be given due weightage. Degree of automation in the enterprise will depend upon the availability of skilled labour and the relative cost factors.