What are the different types of manufacturing?

Critical challenges faced by manufacturers differ by manufacturing mode. Use this handy glossary to determine what type of manufacturer you are and your key performance indicators (KPIs).

Discrete Manufacturing — measured by numeric quantities

  • Balance inventory investment with customer service levels
  • Control design changes for batch production
  • Identify and respond to seasonal demands, better sync supply and demand
  • Manage component requirements
  • Monitor raw material quality during production
  • Reduce forecast error and lead times

Process Manufacturing — measured by weight or volume

  • Accommodate variable end-products which may result from unpredictable processes
  • Control product formula changes
  • Ensure products are manufactured to spec to minimize waste
  • Manage complex recipes, different units of measure for different material levels
  • Track product and raw material to control traceability
  • Monitor raw material quality during production

Engineer-to-Order Manufacturing

  • Capture engineering costs with no double entry
  • Measure estimate vs. actual over the life of the project
  • Schedule projects to communicate lead times and discover constraints
  • Manage inventory requirements dynamically
  • Automate purchasing notifications
  • Recognize revenue and bill for contracts progressively

Assemble-to-Order / Build-to-Order / Make-to-Order Manufacturing

  • Streamline and ensure the integrity of order-to-invoice processes
  • Generate fast, accurate quotes with realistic lead times and delivery dates
  • Use rules-based order processing for configurable products
  • Monitor day-to-day job-related activities, costs, scrap and other events
  • Backflush or issue work-in-progress in real-time
  • Comply with regulations via lot traceability and serial tracking down to the component level

Make-to-Stock Manufacturing

  • Maximize sales through instant access to sales history, pricing, current/future availability and product substitutions
  • Determine optimum levels required for safety, seasonal and basic stock
  • Ensure products are manufactured consistently to correct designs and specifications
  • Enable product and component traceability
  • Cost products appropriately by tracking actual and activity-based costs
  • Control production planning with insight into current material shortages, future workloads and potential bottlenecks

Mixed-mode (or Multimode) Manufacturing

  • Improve forecast accuracy and manage dynamic production schedules
  • Manage product and part traceability and the introduction of new products
  • Manage raw material lead times
  • Monitor the quality of raw materials during production
  • Plan, execute and control production
  • Track material and operation workflow

Job Shop / Contract Manufacturing

  • Collaborate with customers on the design and engineering of products and control product design changes
  • Estimate accurate costs for contract bids and maintain accurate job costs
  • Improve time to market
  • Optimize capacity and increase manufacturing efficiency
  • Reduce bottlenecks, costs and eliminate waste
  • Track material and operation flow through manufacturing project activity and progress