Batch production is a production system where a limited amount of products that have identical characteristics are made. The batch or discontinuous system is used when the demand for a product is not great enough to manufacture it continuously.
In other words, batch production is a system where a limited quantity of a commodity is manufactured, the units of each batch sharing similar characteristics, and in turn being different from those of another batch.
First of all, batch production is a discontinuous production method, that is, the process is not permanent. This means that features can be added or removed at the time of manufacturing each new batch.
Of course, this production system implies that the industries that use it cannot make a general forecast of the materials required, nor of the performance that they will have. This, because the amount of material and its performance will depend on the particular characteristics that each production batch will have.
However, this does not mean that formulations or recipes that define the parameters of the required materials are not used. But, only rough planning of materials and estimated costs can be done. These recipes and formulations are used for informational and comparison purposes.
Characteristics of batch production
Indeed, the batch production system must be continually planned and adapted. This, given that, in general, this system is characterized by producing the same product in a limited quantity.
This limited quantity of the same product is the production batch. Then another batch must be produced, which will be the same product, but with other characteristics (or it may be a similar product to the previous batch) and so on.
For example, shoes with one design can be made first, and the next batch could be other similar shoes, but with a different design.
Consequently, it is necessary to maintain control and planning of the production process, since the batch system is quite complex.
Among the main characteristics of batch production we find:
1. Different products are made
First of all, the system makes it possible to produce or manufacture products that have different characteristics. For this, it is necessary to have storage areas large enough to store the different batches produced.
2. Use of flexible and adaptable machinery
Additionally, the machines and tools used must be adapted or modified each time a production batch is made. This, in order to be able to attend and comply with the specific characteristics of each batch. For this reason, the machinery used does not have to be abundant, but flexible and adaptable to produce different products.
3. Work is divided into parts and operations in batch production
As work is divided into parts and operations, labor is used in a regular and orderly manner. Thus, batch production does not generate production peaks. That is, it is produced at regular intervals to meet customer demand. Each batch is produced at the request of the customer’s order. In addition, the employees use simple machinery. Each operator specifically performs a specific stage of the manufacturing or manufacturing phase.
Advantages of batch production
The most important advantages of batch production are as follows:
1. Reduction of initial investment costs
First of all, batch production allows the reduction of the initial investment costs of the company. This, because the same production chain allows the production of different products. In other words, the same assembly line achieves different outputs.
2. Maximize the utilization of machines and equipment
Second, flexibility and adaptation in the use of machines and equipment allows maximum use of capital goods. This makes optimal use of the company’s capital resources.
3. Minimize losses by stopping producing a product
Third, batch production has the advantage that when a company has to stop producing a certain product, losses are minimized. This, since the company can continue with the production of other different products and keep operating in the market.
Disadvantages of batch production
The disadvantages that we can find in batch production are:
1. Causes time-outs
Batch production certainly causes downtime. This, given that, when a certain product is stopped, the machines have to be stopped to make the corresponding adjustments for the production of the next batch; causing inefficiency in the process due to stopped machines.
2. High inventory costs
On the other hand, the company may face high costs in inventory storage. This, because it must have stored the different products requested by customers.
3. Difficulty forecasting demand
In the same way, it is not known with precision the demand requirements that customers will make, due to the great diversity of products that are manufactured.
To conclude, we can affirm that the batch production system allows to introduce changes to the product. Thus, the machines must be stopped to adapt them and to be able to produce the next batch. Therefore, it is necessary to have production planning and control to avoid setbacks when carrying out the production process.