7 Manufacturing Processes Your Business Needs

The manufacturing industry is a thriving space, and in 2020 contributed over $2 trillion to the US economy. But before opening a company in this industry, you must understand the nature of your business, especially its processes. Your business’s manufacturing process involves the steps it takes to create a product of high quality and to your customers’ preferences. Depending on what items you manufacture, it can be a complex procedure involving working with several different equipment, machinery, and cloud-based technology. Your decision to choose a manufacturing process should be based on several factors, including the materials you need, consumer demand, and sales forecasts. However, each process has its unique advantages, and you must determine which type would be the best fit for your business. Here is a guide to some of the manufacturing processes you should consider. 

  1. Job shop manufacturing

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Job shop manufacturing is mostly used for creating a small batch of custom-made products for specific customers. Each product unit is made according to an individual or corporate customer’s requirements or specifications. You will need to have very skilled workers specializing in the products you want to produce if you’re considering using this process. Most machine shops use this process for manufacturing specific machine components or parts for various transportation industries, including shipping, aviation, and the automobile industry. 

Thanks to advances in technology, tons of job shop manufacturing software have made the entire process seamless. You will need to create a mockup or sample design on your computer, which then sends information to the machine to produce the final item. The job shop manufacturing process is ideal for creating a high-quality limited line of products for a specific target. 

  1. Thermoforming manufacturing

Thermoforming is a manufacturing process that creates plastic products out of heat. It involves heating thin plastic sheets at the right temperature to make them malleable and then stamped with a mold. The plastic design is vacuumed to remove trapped air and then molded into its desired design. Because the entire thermoforming process is straightforward, it is most suitable for manufacturing a high volume of molded products due to its speedy turnaround times. Thermoforming is an excellent choice for manufacturing packaging, agricultural machinery parts, automotive parts, signages, and building products. One of the best things about this manufacturing method is that it allows for creativity, as there are numerous ways plastic products can be transformed. 

  1. 3D printing

Traditional manufacturing methods tend to be restrictive, especially when meeting increasing consumer demands. Fortunately, this is where 3D printing comes in handy. Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printing has become more popular in the manufacturing industry over the past few years. This manufacturing process uses different materials like metals and plastics to create layered three-dimensional products with designs created on a computer. These products include shoes, prosthetic limbs, medical devices, and musical instruments. 

While this process is relatively more expensive than other processes, it has the potential to reduce the materials, capital, and waste used throughout the process. It also requires much fewer labor costs, unlike other traditional methods where many people would be required to operate several machines at once. It’s easier for businesses to test products before rolling them out for mass production, making it easier to mitigate any risks. Plus, 3D printing has faster turnaround times than other traditional manufacturing processes and can keep you ahead of your competitors. 

  1. Repetitive manufacturing

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If your business focuses on repeatedly producing the same products, the repetitive manufacturing process is one you should consider. This process involves having your production lines working on the same product every time. Since you wouldn’t necessarily need to change your product design, you can finetune your operation speed to meet your customers’ demands. 

This manufacturing process is extremely cost-effective. It is also fairly easy to manage and doesn’t require hiring specialized skills, making it easier for entry-level workers to work with. Many manufacturing companies that make automobiles, electronic appliances, and other mass products benefit more from this manufacturing process. 

  1. Discrete manufacturing

This manufacturing process is usually seen as the more flexible version of repetitive manufacturing. Unlike repetitive manufacturing, which is useful for producing a range of similar items, discrete manufacturing involves making regular changeovers and adding more diversity to production lines. That means you can create multiple sizes, styles, or modifications for a product with this manufacturing process. However, it takes up more setup and production hours. 

Discrete manufacturing is a suitable choice if your business produces items like clothing, smartphones, toys, and medical devices. Some aircraft and automobile manufacturers also use this process to produce a wider variety of products. 

  1. Continuous process manufacturing

This process is similar to the repetitive manufacturing method because it requires using large assembly lines at all times. However, the difference is in the output. End products under this process usually come in gas, liquid, slurry, or powder. Businesses in oil refining, paper, food production, and metal smelting tend to use this manufacturing method. 

  1. Batch process manufacturing

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You can think of this process as a combination of the discrete and job shop manufacturing processes. It is a manufacturing process that involves producing identical items for various production runs. It makes it easier to mass-produce items that have slight changes in batches. Each batch must complete a stage during the process before moving on to the next one until the final product has been fully created. Manufacturers prefer to use this method because it is a more cost-effective option when it comes to producing smaller quantities of products. Manufacturers who use this method include pharmaceutical companies, newspapers and printing presses, clothing businesses, bakeries, and fast-food restaurants. 

Understanding the different types of the manufacturing process and finding the right process can be quite confusing, especially if you are new to the industry. However, once you have a solid grasp of what methods might work for your business, it would help make your business operations run smoothly. Therefore, you should use this guide and conduct ample research to find the right process for your business.

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About Dequiana Jackson

Dequiana Jackson, Founder of Inspired Marketing, Inc., helps overachieving women entrepreneurs conquer limiting beliefs and create marketing plans that grow their businesses. This includes one-on-one marketing plan development, digital product creation, web design and content marketing. Dequiana is the author of Know Your Business: How to Attract Ideal Clients & Sell More and runs the award-winning blog, Entrepreneur-Resources.net.

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One comment

  1. This is a really informative post! It breaks down the different manufacturing processes clearly, explaining their pros and cons. I especially like the table with images that summarizes each process. Now I have a better understanding of how things are made depending on the type of product and production volume.
    Max Forming´s last blog post ..What is a Thermoforming Machine?

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