Mass Production Definition
Mass production is defined as the manufacturing of goods on a large scale without compromising on the quality. Compared to other methods, bulk manufacturing can produce more units per day at lower costs. It utilizes the benefits of economies of scale. Assembly lines used in the automobile industry is a very good example of mass production.
Assembly line holds an integral place in bulk manufacturing whereby there is a division of labor, specialization, and large-scale machine-enabled production of identical goods or components.
Table of contents
- Mass production involves bulk manufacturing goods with the help of assembly line to bring down per unit costs and achieve standardization.
- Bulk manufacturing relies on careful division of labor. The whole process is divided into specialized tasks involving highly repetitive motion patters.
- Large scale manufacturing applies the economies of scale concept. The perfect balance between human labor and machinery is attempted. Division of labor, standardization and specialization is integrated to optimize productivity. As a result, cost is minimized.
- To function in an assembly line the machinery used in large scale production is standardized. The parts from one component are designed to easily fit into another component. These standardized machines are manufactured in large quantities.
How Does Mass Production Work?
Mass Production had a massive impact due to the industrial revolution. But even before the development of advanced machinery, bulk manufacturing did exist. For example, Reuters recently reported the archaeological discovery of an ancient brewery.
The ancient brewery had a phenomenal production capacity of 22,400 litres. Such a mammoth quantity forms the basis of bulk production. This discovery establishes bulk manufacturing as a 5000-year-old concept, tracing back to the Egyptian civilization.
Large-scale manufacturing applies the economies of scale concept. The perfect balance between human labor and machinery is attempted. Typically, production tasks are divided amongst the labor using division of labor. Continued repetitive tasks help in standardization and specialization, which is optimize productivity. As a result, the cost is minimized.
To function in an assembly line, the machinery used in large-scale production is standardized. The parts from one component are designed to fit into another component easily. Even when components of an automobile are prepared across different countries, they can be easily assembled.
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Mass Production Example
The meaning of mass production can be better understood with the assembly line example of a car. The important steps involved in manufacturing a car are as follows:
- Install the engine
- Install the hood
- Install the wheels
In the traditional method, only one of the steps could be done at a time. In an assembly line, the work is divided into specialized workstations. When the engine workstation completes, the car is passed on to the hood workstation and finally to the wheels workstation.
As a result, three cars are manufactured simultaneously. In an assembly line, car assembly is split between several stations, all working simultaneously. When a station is finished with a car, it passes it on to the next. Thus, three stations can operate on three cars simultaneously, each at a different assembly stage.
Among numerous examples of bulk manufacturing, the US industrialist Henry Ford stands out for his assembly line. Thanks to the new process, Henry quickly established the Ford Motor Company. In 1913, he managed to combine division of labor, cost-effectiveness, and volume production.
With minor updates, the assembly line is still common a century later. The sheer volume is fascinating; modern assembly lines manufacture not 100-200 products but a mammoth ten thousand units a month. Assembly line manufacturing requires a lot of workforce and machinery.
The mammoth assembly line is broken down to production per hour. During the industrial revolution, another crucial step of large-scale production was measuring the time taken by each worker. Improvements are made at these workflow points. The objective is to ensure cost-effective smart work.
Synchronization in mass production is the biggest challenge within any assembly line. It has a lot of moving parts; each worker has a specialized function working in tandem. A single flaw will stall the entire assemblage. The margin of errorMargin Of ErrorThe margin of error is a statistical expression to determine the percentage point the result arrived at will differ from the actual value. Standard deviation divided by the sample size, multiplying the resultant figure with the critical factor. Margin of Error = Z * ơ / √n, therefore, is meager. Assembly lines have fixed targets for every day, week, and month. Upkeep of the assembly involves managing the inventory, supply chain, cost, and quality control.
It is also known as flow production, continuous production, and series production. The automobile industry popularized bulk manufacturing. It is one of the three main manufacturing methods along with job production and batch production.
Mass Production Advantages & Disdvatanges
- In addition to cutting costs, bulk manufacturing increases the overall productivity. According to the New York Times, an iPhone factory in Central China produces a whopping 500,000 units a day. It involves a total of 400 steps in assembling the iPhone at a rapid 350 units per minute.
- For a high demand product, mass manufacturing gives the obvious advantage of faster delivery. This directly translates into less waiting time for the customer.
- Bulk production allows the manufacturers to operate at a low-cost profit marginProfit MarginProfit Margin is a metric that the management, financial analysts, & investors use to measure the profitability of a business relative to its sales. It is determined as the ratio of Generated Profit Amount to the Generated Revenue Amount. . This helps companies survive in competitive markets.
- Mass-manufactured products and industries evolve faster. More units translate into more feedback resulting in faster improvements.
- Uniformity and standardization of processes is another advantage of large-scale production. Irrespective of the product, the equipment and workforce employed have to be uniform. It helps consumers relate with the product or services which keeps them loyal to the brand.
- It is expensive to start a bulk manufacturing facility, especially the initial expenditure. It costs millions to acquire and sustain land, machinery, and labor. Consequently, very few enterprises can afford large scale production. Hence, most new enterprises wanting to mass produce are at a disadvantage.
- Another disadvantage is that mass production is mass uniformity in effect. So beyond subtle tweaks, it is difficult to make changes. In a fast changing world, consumer perception too changes fast, bulk manufacturing companies are hence at a disadvantage. They are less flexible. Smaller production units will find it easier to make massive product changes.
- Bulk manufacturing ensures a massive supply, but if not met with massive demand, it can suddenly turn into a massive loss. This is known as inventory buildup, another serious large-scale production disadvantage. Bulk manufacturing companies therefore are more prone to fluctuations in customer tastes and preferences.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Specialization, standardization of equipment, and the division of human labor are the three main elements of bulk manufacturing.
Large-scale manufacturing constitutes flow production, job production, and batch production. In inflow production, the product is manufactured in an assembly line. Each unit is built by an individual worker in job production, whereas an entire batch of goods is manufactured together in batch production.
Bulk manufacturing employs automation and reduces human labor costs. The assembly line sets its pace and improves the worker’s efficiency as well.
This has been a guide to What is Mass Production its Definition. Here we discuss the examples of mass production and how it works along with its advantages and disadvantages. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –