Production line work can represent a number of different things; the most common definition is the way a company produces its goods. In the manufacturing industry, there are really just a few basic methods of production line work. These methods include the job, batch, and flow methods of production, with minor or major variations existing among and between these methods. Companies most often select a production method that best suits the goods a company manufactures, which may also be dependent on the materials and labor used for goods manufactured. Each method has its benefits and drawbacks, which companies must be aware of in order to maximize each one.
The job method is perhaps the most common production line work method companies use to manufacture goods. This method starts one project at a time, with workers completing the process start to finish, sometimes without starting another project. This works well for both low and high-technology goods and production methods in a company. Low technology firms are able to hire and maintain their production methods easily due to the simplicity of the production line work. High technology firms may produce very complex goods or projects that require slower manufacturing processes to ensure each item meets strict quality control standards.
Batch production line work is a common manufacturing method where a company produces many products at one time. For example, a food manufacturing plant often produces a large batch of individual food items at one time. This process usually places manufacturing inputs into one large system and works from beginning to end. In some cases, there is little or no stoppage in this type of production line work. Companies can produce goods on a continuous basis so long as they have the required inputs to manufacture goods.
A different manufacturing method for production line work is the flow method, which is similar to the batch production method with some distinct differences. Under this production method, there are far less batch queues required to manufacture profits. A batch queue is typically a list of items that a company produces in a given time period over several months or years. The problem with a large number of batch queues is that a company usually needs to stop the production process in order to switch the manufacturing method to a different product. A company can develop a flow production line work system that removes this problem.