Methods of Production
Job, Batch and Flow production are the three main ways a
firm could choose to make its product(s).
Each method varies greatly in how they actually handle the
production process but the aim of each is the same: to
transform in puts into outputs in the most efficient way.
Often job production involves one-off, unique items such as
those made by an architect or wedding dressmaker.
Job production can involve:-
1. a single worker or group of workers handling a small scale
job involving little or no technology.
examples of jobs that require a single worker or low
Painting and decorating
Plumbing and heating repairs in the home
2. Jobs can also be complex requiring lots of technology.
High technology jobs are much more complex and difficult.
These jobs need to be very well project-managed and require
highly qualified and skilled workers.
Examples of high technology / complex jobs include:
Large construction projects (e.g. the Millennium Dome)
Installing new transport systems (e.g. trams in Sheffield and
The advantage of job production is that:-
each item can be altered for the specific customer and this
provides genuine marketing benefits.
A business is likely to be able to ‘add value’ to the products
and possibly create a unique selling point (USP), both of
which should enable it to sell at high prices.
Job production is an expensive process as it is labour
intensive (uses more workers compared to machines).
Batch methods require that a group of items move through
the production process together, a
stage at a time.
e.g. a bakery bakes different types of loaves in batches
Batch production is a very common method of organising
manufacture. Good examples include:
Production of electronic instruments
Paint and wallpaper manufacturers
It is cheaper to produce a number of each item in one go
because machines can be used more effectively,
the materials can be bought in bulk and the workers can
specialise in that task.
There are two particular advantages of workers being able to
concentrate their skills:-
They should become more expert at their tasks, which will in
turn increase productivity (output per worker). This will lower
costs, as fewer workers are needed to produce a set amount.
Better quality products should be produced as workers are
more familiar with the task and so can find ways of improving
Batch production requires very careful planning to decide what
batch will be produced when.
Batch methods can also result in the build up of significant
“work in progress” or stocks (i.e. completed batches waiting
for their turn to be worked on in the next operation). This
increases costs as it takes up space and raises the chance of
damage to stock.
Flow production involves a continuous movement of items
through the production process.
Therefore, the time taken on each task must be the same.
Flow production (often known as mass production) involves
the use of production lines
It is best used when firms are looking to produce a high
volume of similar items. Some of
the big brand names that have consistently high demand are
most suitable for this type of production:
Heinz baked beans
Kellogg’s corn flakes
Flow production is capital intensive. Ie uses a lot of
machinery, automation and robotics.
The advantage of this is that costs are lower because:-
production can continue at night and over weekends
expensive labour costs are avoided
firms benefit from economies of scale, which should lower the
cost per unit of production.
The main disadvantage is that with so much machinery it is
very difficult to alter the production process. This makes
production inflexible and means that all products have to be
very similar or standardised and cannot be tailored to