Type of Production and Manufacturing Systems Management



After studying this unit you will be able to know:

  • The historical growth of production management
  • Distinguish Manufacturing and service systems
  • Distinguish between Intermittent and Continuous systems



  • Objectives
  • Introduction
  • Classification of manufacturing systems
  • Characteristics of Intermittent system
  • Classification of Intermittent system
  • Continuous System
  • Mass Production
  • Process Production
  • Distinction between Intermittent & Continuous Production
  • Summary
  • Review Questions
  • References

Type of Production and Manufacturing Systems Management


This unit deals with different types of production and manufacturing systems. Manufacturing systems convert a set of raw materials into a specified set of outputs. The inputs include such elements as labor, raw materials, machines and equipment, and financial resources. The inputs are processed to produce the marketed goods or services. Here material flow encompasses raw materials, pieces of equipment, people, paper forms or products. The manufacturing systems may therefore be viewed as an interdependent system of subsystems, each related to its successor, each performing a different function though yet united with others for achievement of the overall systems objectives. It interacts with both internal and external environment. The internal system can be a combination of marketing, accounts, personnel, and finance activities. Marketing and logistics has a very sensitive interface and unless properly designed it can be a perpetual source of conflict between two departments due to their conflicting interests. The external environment can be a combination of customers, competitors, labor union, and stockholders.


Manufacturing systems can be classified into

  1. Intermittent system
  2. Continuous system

2.2. 1 intermittent system:

In this system, the goods are manufactured specially to fulfill the orders made by customers rather than stock. Here the flow of material is intermittent. These systems are those where the production facilities are flexible to handle a wide variety of product and sizes. These can be used to manufacture those products where the basic nature of input changes with the change in the design of product and the production process requires continuous adjustments. Considerable storage between operation is required, so where individual operations can be carried out independently for the further utilization of men and machines. Examples of intermittent system are shops, hospitals, general offices etc. the following are characteristics of Intermittent system

Characteristics of intermittent system

  1. Most products are produced in small quantity.
  2. Machines and equipment are laid out by process.
  3. Workloads are generally unbalanced.
  4. Highly skilled operators are required for efficient use of machines and equipment.
  5. In process inventory is large
  6. Flexible to suit production varieties.

2.3.2. Classification of Intermittent system:

  1. Job production
  2. Batch production


Job production:

Job production is the production of single complete unit by one operator or a group of operators e.g. bridge building , ship building, dam construction etc. here whole project is considered as one operation and work is completed on each project before passing on to the next. Each product is a class by itself and requires a distinct and separate job for production process. The systems require versatile and highly skilled labor with high capital investment. Control of operations is relatively high. In this system the goods are produced on definite customer’s orders. There is no assurance of continued demand for specific item and the manufacturing depends on receipt of orders from customers.

Batch production:

In the system of batch production any product is dividing into parts or operations and that each operation is too completed through out the whole batch before the next operation is undertaken. In other words here after the production of on each batch, plant and the machine become available to

other batch of similar type of production. One can employ number specialized labor for each operation with comparatively low investment but organization and planning is more complicated in this system. It is characterized by the irregularity in the work added to the basic material. The best example of batch production system is of chemical industry, where different medicines are manufactured in batches. Other examples can be production of electronic instruments, machine tools for printing press etc.

Here the production schedule can be chalked out according to specific orders or on the basis of demand forecasts. The items are processed in lots or batches unlike job type system new batch are undertaken only when the work on all items of a batch is complete. In fact job type production can be considered as an extension of job type systems.

2.2.2. Continuous system:

In this system the items are produced for the stocks and not for specific orders. Before planning manufacturing to stock, a sales forecast is made to estimate likely demand of the product and a master schedule is to prepare to adjust the sales forecast according to past orders and level of inventory. Here the inputs are standardized and a standard set of processes and sequence of processes can be standardized after setting of master production schedule, a detailed planning is carried on. Basic manufacturing information and bills of materials are recorded. Information for machine load chart, equipments, personnel and material needs is tabulated. In continuous manufacturing systems each production run manufacturers in large lot sizes and the production process is carried on in definite sequence of operations in predetermined order. In process, storage cannot is not necessary which in turn reduces material handling and transportation facility. FIFO priority rules followed in the system. ‘Continuous system’ can be again classified into

  1. Mass production
  2. Process production

 Mass production:

Standardization is the fundamental characteristics of this system. Here items are produced in large quantities and much emphasis is not given to consumer orders. Standardization is there with respect to materials and machines. Uniform and uninterrupted flow of material is maintained by predetermined sequence of operations required to produce the product. The system can produce only one type of product at a time. These days, mass production is generally used to manufacture sub-assemblies of particular parts/components of an item. These parts are assembled together by the enterprise to get the final product.

Process production:

This system is analogous to mass production system with more stress on automation in production process. The volume of production is very high. This method is used for manufacturing those items whose demand is continuous and high e.g. petroleum products, particular brands of medicine, heavy chemical industries, plastic industries etc. Here single raw material can be transformed into different kinds of products at different stages of production process e.g. in processing of crude oil in refinery one gets kerosene , gasoline etc. at different stages of production.

Distinction between Intermittent and Continuous production:

Capital investment may be low Capital investment is high
Per unit cost of production is high Per unit cost of production is low
Less security of jobs More security of jobs
Functional type of organization Divisional type of organization
Requires staff of high technical skill and ability Requires more managerial capability and

better coordination

Control not ‘ in line’ of production Control ‘in line’ of production
Storage is required at each operation` Storage required only at limited locations
Change in location is easy Change in location is difficult
The Product and the Process are not standardized The     Product    and    the    Process     are


Accuracy is low Accuracy is high



This unit is intended to understand historical evolution of production management systems. We have studied about the industrial revolution which was started in the 1770s in England. It is observed that product systems were often referred to as the cottage system, because the production of products took place in homes or cottages where craftsmen directed apprentices in performing handwork on products. Besides historical evolution, this chapter also focuses on various types of manufacturing systems and distinction between intermittent and continuous production systems.


  1. Explain the historical progress of production management with suitable examples.
  2. Define manufacturing systems and distinguish between intermittent and continuous processing systems.
  3. What are the characteristics of intermittent systems and give brief description of classification of intermittent systems.


  1. Adam Smith(1776), An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-76374-9
  2. Russell Staylor, “Operations Management”, Seventh Edition, Wiley India Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi.
  3. Mahadevan, “Operations Management Theory and Practice” Second Edition, Pearson, New Delhi.
  4. James R. Evans, david A. Collier, “Operations management Concepts, Techniques and Applications”, Latest Edition, Cengage Learning India Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi.
  5. Aswathappa, K. Shridhar Bhat, “Production and Operations Management”, Latest Edition, Himalaya Publishing House, Mumbai.

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