What is a Unit Process?

J. Airman
J. Airman

A unit process is an individual part of the greater manufacturing procedure. End-to-end manufacturing is often broken down into separate unit processes during performance evaluations. Each step, or unit process, from the procurement of raw materials to the packaging of the finished product, is customarily scrutinized to reduce inefficiencies. Manufacturers tend to make minor changes to individual unit processes to improve production instead of making a complete overhaul of the manufacturing process. The term unit process may also be used to describe an individual reaction between two or more elements in chemical engineering.

The primary unit process in manufacturing is the acquisition of necessary supplies. Communicating and negotiating with suppliers can improve the efficiency of the process and reduce costs. Consolidating suppliers to as few as possible is a commonly used method of reducing costs and increasing business for both parties. Alternate methods of shipping and transport are typically the easiest way to speed up delivery. Regular raw material inventories are typically employed by manufacturers to make sure there are no gaps in the supply chain.

Machining and assembly are often the secondary unit processes in the manufacturing scheme. Raw materials are prepared and combined to create a new product during this process. The majority of the manufacturing work force is frequently involved in this labor intensive unit process. Hourly wages and machinery operating costs are usually factored into any changes considered for the machining and assembly steps. Performance abilities of the secondary unit processes are constantly dependent on the raw material supply chain.

Some manufacturers test all or a few randomly selected products at the conclusion of the assembly process. This unit process is commonly referred to as a quality assurance step. Materials that do not meet company standards are frequently removed from the production line. An investigation may also be ordered to determine where the error was made in the manufacturing process. New product and process innovations largely come from problems detected during the testing stage.

Finished goods are packaged and delivered during the final manufacturing unit processes. Computerized inventory and shipment tracking systems typically reduce loss and waste during this unit process. Customer satisfaction surveys are an evaluation tool regularly used to determine how the product packaging and delivery are being accepted by clients. Input from clients is commonly used to guide future decisions on how finished goods are handled from the time they leave the manufacturing line.

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