We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Process Manufacturing?

By Eric Tallberg
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

When defining manufacturing procedures and methods, there are two essential terms to keep in mind: process manufacturing, and discrete manufacturing. Process manufacturing results in finished goods that cannot be disassembled back into their original components. Discrete manufacturing, on the other hand, results in finished goods that can be disassembled back into the original components.

Examples of products made by process manufacturing include paint and coatings, gasoline and diesel fuel, processed foods, pharmaceutical products, and canned or bottled soda. Examples of products made by discrete manufacturing include automobiles, computers, televisions, boats, and machinery. Essentially, goods produced from process manufacturing techniques are blended, while those produced from discrete manufacturing are assembled. Thus, process manufacturing is ordinarily conducted using proportional formulas and recipes, while discrete manufacturing is accomplished using bills of material and instructions, i.e. blueprints, drawings, etc.

Chemical manufacturing, gasoline manufacturing—commonly known as refining—processed food manufacturing, beverage manufacturing, all are industries utilizing process manufacturing to produce a finished product. The automobile industry, the computer industry, and the aerospace industry each utilize discrete manufacturing to produce finished goods. As can be inferred, some components of certain products made with discrete manufacturing are produced through process manufacturing. The plastic components in an automobile, for example, are manufactured by a blending of chemicals according to a proportional formula.

Obviously, the reverse is not true. Attempting to blend a few leather bucket seats, several vinyl armrests, and a number of plastic fan blades will not yield a five-gallon (18.93-liter) (4.16-gallon-U.K.) bucket of paint. If enough heat were applied to the above components, a processed product would result, but certainly not paint.

Another significant difference between the major manufacturing disciplines is in inventory terminology. Processed goods are a result of the blending of raw materials, ordinarily inventoried in bulk. Discretely manufactured goods are a result of the assembly of parts, inventoried as items, or units. As well, process manufacturing effects a chemical change in ingredients resulting in either a solid or a liquid. Discrete manufacturing, conversely, effects a structural change in components resulting solely in a solid item. Inventory of finished goods can thereby be seen as a method for distinguishing between processed products and discretely manufactured products.

There are several other considerations in discerning the two major manufacturing methods and procedures, including packaging recipes, and proportional differences in manufacturing procedures. There are even major differences in the software used to effect manufacturing methods, as well as accounting practices, between these two disciplines. About the only thing these manufacturing methods have in common is that both realize a profit gained from the manufacture of a finished product.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon996659 — On Sep 24, 2016

How is the inventory controlled in process industries (chemical, detergents (soap), paper companies in the ERP system with respect to the asset value on 100 percent probability?

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.