5 Types of Manufacturing Process

Types of Manufacturing Process

A comprehensive guide to Types of Manufacturing Processes

A manufacturing process uses manufacturing methods, scheduling software, machinery, and labor to transform raw materials into the finished goods. There are 5 types manufacturing processes, and most businesses that manufacture products will fall into one of these five categories.

However, how that works for each business will be different, based on products offering, business needs, and the resources and facilities that are available to them.

1. Repetitive Manufacturing

Basic manufacturing that creates the same product on an assembly line is engaged in the repetitive manufacturing process. These types of rapid manufacturing operations produces the same or very similar products 24/7.

The manufacturing industries that utilize this type of production process includes

  • Automotive

  • Electronics

  • Semiconductor

  • Durable consumer goods

These mass production industries are ideal for repetitive manufacturing because the consumer demand for the finished goods is stable and predictable. The assembly line will be constant, with few changes as one product is manufactured over a period of time.

2. Discrete Manufacturing

Discrete manufacturing is a relative of repetitive manufacturing. It too runs on production lines, but the finished goods that are created during this process often vary considerably.

When switching between different product models, the assembly line configuration must often be changed.  In manufacturing facilities, this is known as a changeover and carries setup cost in the form of time, labor, and resources.

For example, in the computer industry, technology not only develops at a constantly rapid rate but often customers demand mass customization. The manufacturing process for producing newer computers and laptops will require modifications to the assembly line to produce and assemble orders that requires the latest electronic components.

3. Job Shop Manufacturing

In job shop manufacturing, production areas utilizes workstations and workshops instead of an assembly line. Each worker contributes to the production process as the product moves through various stations until it is completed. This approach is well-suited for custom manufacturing since it tends to be slower and produces a low volume of highly tailored products.

It’s worth noting that job shop manufacturing is not limited to low-tech products. This process is also employed in advanced manufacturing for the aerospace and defense industry, where highly skilled professionals use sophisticated techniques to produce fighter jets and rockets. Quality control is a top priority in this industry to ensure that the products are of the highest quality.

4. Continuous Process Manufacturing

Continuous process manufacturing is very similar to repetitive manufacturing because it runs 24/7, creating the same or similar products, and in large quantities. The key difference here is that the raw materials used are gases, liquids, powders, and slurries, instead of solid-state components.

It works almost exactly the same as repetitive manufacturing besides the difference in raw materials. An example of this in practice might be a pharmaceutical company that produces painkillers in larger quantities.

Traditional industrial manufacturing industries that widely utilize continuous processes include:

  • Pharmaceutics
  • Chemicals/industrial gases
  • Fertilizers
  • Power stations
  • Oil refining
  • Paper
  • Furnace – Steel, Iron, and Alloys

5. Batch Manufacturing Process

The batch manufacturing process is more similar to discrete and job shop manufacturing. The number of batches that are created will be sufficient to meet customer’s needs. In-between batches, the equipment will be cleaned and unattended until the next batch is required. The raw materials used are more similar to continuous process manufacturing.

A prominent example is Ikea. Ikea mass produces a large volume in batches, and allows for flexibility to manufacture similar items across its range according to demand.


The manufacturing process you implement depends on your manufacturing industry and the type of product you will be creating.  Sometimes a hybrid manufacturing approach that combines multiple manufacturing processes can be useful if you want to create an assortment of products.

Once you choose the right manufacturing process, it is important to leverage the right manufacturing systems and investing in the right manufacturing technology to ensure process control. Your ERP and MES systems are a step in the right direction, but they lack the planning and scheduling capabilities required to become a truly lean manufacturing organization.

Looking for a suitable manufacturing execution system? Try Axacute.

Join us for a 30 minutes free demo of our cloud-based production software, every Thursday 3 p.m. (GMT +8) via Zoom.   

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