Discrete manufacturing varies from Process Manufacturing. In discrete manufacturing, the manufacturing floor works off orders to build something. Examples include toys, medical equipment, computers and cars. The resulting products are easily identifiable. In process manufacturing, the products are undifferentiated, for example oil, natural gas and salt.
Discrete manufacturing is often characterized by individual or separate unit production. Units can be produced in low volume with very high complexity or high volumes of low complexity. Low volume/high complexity production results in the need for an extremely flexible manufacturing system that can improve quality and time-to-market speed while cutting costs. High volume/low complexity production puts high premiums on inventory controls, lead times and reducing or limiting materials costs and waste.
Industry Profile – Discrete Manufacturing includes makers of consumer electronics, computers and accessories, appliances, and other household items, as well as “big ticket” consumer and commercial goods like cars, airplanes and other customized goods. Discrete Manufacturing companies make physical products that go directly to businesses and consumers, and assemblies that are used by other manufacturers.
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