One-off Production (Job Production)
For extremely limited or one-off production the materials are likely to be bought in small, relatively uneconomic, quantities and in forms that need further machining/processing. A jeweller might buy a strip of silver that needs to be drawn into thin sections or melted into the desired shape. A joiner might buy a length of timber which needs to be sawn and planed into the desired shape. A potter might buy a bag of clay which he/she shapes on a wheel. In each case the outlay on materials is small but uneconomic and in each case a significant amount of waste is likely to occur.
Once your manufacturing levels have reached tens or hundreds, there are significant savings to be made by employing efficient techniques for carrying out repetitive tasks. Your material costs are likely to be lower per item because you are ordering in bulk. It becomes worth your while constructing jigs so that, for example, a series of holes are drilled in the same place each time eliminating the need for time-consuming marking out. It is economical to construct a metal pattern for sand casting or a mould for vacuum forming. CNC machining can be used for repetitive machining tasks.
Mass Production (High-volume Production)
Mass production represents a big leap from one-off and batch production. There is a much greater initial commitment in terms of manufacturing equipment and facilities. Machines can cost millions and the tooling for these machines hundreds of thousands of pounds. The need to get the product right is imperative as it may require volumes of tens of thousands to recoup the investment.
Continuous Production (Non-stop Production)
This manufacturing system is otherwise the same as mass production.
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