Mass production

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mass production (or mass production ; English mass production ) is a type of production in the economy , in which the production and distribution of large quantities of products or services takes place. The opposite is the one-off production .


Many goods ( "bulk") and ground services need to meet the high demand are provided in large quantities, so it does not offer gaps or excess demand comes caused by supply shortages and stock situations are visible. These include above all consumer goods ( consumer goods such as food or beverages , durable goods such as household appliances or vehicles ) and mass services (such as services of general interest , post , schools or telecommunications ). These bulk goods and services characterize an industrial society . It is mostly in goods and services that have to be procured anew by the consumer through constant consumption or intensive use .


The use of slaves made it possible to ensure mass production on a large scale in ancient times . This began systematically in the course of the Second Punic War from 218 BC with war-related mass production. The Romans also used the mass produced terra sigillata in the 1st century BC, while the Greeks mass produced the mastoid at the same time .

The Venetian arsenal , basically the very first factory , produced a ship almost every day from 1104 onwards . In its prime, the factory employed 16,000 people. The increasing monetization in the economy led to the mass production of coins in the Middle Ages . Barbarossa had the denarius minted en masse in Schwäbisch Hall around 1180 . At around the same time, agricultural products were mass-produced .

However, mass production is most likely associated with industrialization . The first bulk carriers in today's sense were colliers , sailing ships that were used from the 17th century to transport coal from north-east England to London . The first industrial revolution after 1750 resulted from the transformation of some agrarian states into industrial states . Since then, industry has seen itself as a form of economic activity that is characterized by mass production, intensive use of machines , a high division of labor and the employment of unskilled workers . The process of industrialization accelerated with the invention of the first powerful steam engine by James Watt in 1765. When George Stephenson built the first operational railroad in 1814 , it ran the first Stockton-Darlington railroad in 1825 for the purpose of transporting bulk goods. In England, bricks were mass-produced after the invention of Hoffmann's ring kiln (1858) and transported to all parts of the country.

Plastics are particularly suitable for mass production. From 1839, plastic developed as a raw material for mass production. Bakelite , named after Leo Hendrik Baekeland , received a patent in 1907 and became the first mass-produced plastic. Fritz Klatte patented polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in 1912 , the diverse uses of which made it mass-produced.

Organizational innovations such as the division of labor in Taylorism from 1913 or the Fordism that began after 1914 , which was based on the highly standardized mass production of passenger cars with the help of highly specialized, monofunctional machines and assembly line production , supported the rise of industrial mass production. The second industrial revolution produced Germany as a technology leader . The new research and knowledge-oriented branches of the economy include the chemical industry and electrical engineering as well as mechanical engineering and the optical industry.

Mass production was not limited to market- oriented states, but socialist states also recognized their advantages. Here the principles of labor discipline, policy management, central planning and mass production formed the main structures of the socialist economy. While the foreign trade of socialist states for goods of mass production, large projects , industrial plants and consumer goods could be planned in the economic planning according to individual items, the exchange of goods for special goods was difficult to plan. In contrast to capitalism - in which cooperation and division of labor were limited by profit barriers - socialist society is in a position to consciously and systematically exploit all advantages of mass production within the framework of the entire national economy. The author overlooked the fact that cooperation and division of labor serve to maximize profits , especially in capitalism .

As the competitive conditions changed over time, new forms of production opened up. The model of flexible specialization goes back to the studies of Charles F. Sabel and Michael J. Piore, who analyzed the development of work and production forms in 1984 and came to the conclusion that the limits of mass production had been reached. The so-called individualized mass production ( English mass customizaion ) started after 1995 and focused on individual customer requirements, flexibility and heterogeneous markets. This relatively new production principle is popular in the automotive , computer , power tool and textile industries , for example . One advantage of this technology lies in the combination of standardization and individualization, so that economies of scale can be achieved with a high degree of product differentiation .

Features of mass production

Mass production takes place as large-scale production in multi-product companies , but also in single-product companies , whereby there is always a high level of product homogeneity.

Features of mass production are:

Mass production means the manufacture of standardized bulk goods with specialized means of production:

Production type Qualification of
Product / service quality means of production Costs / market prices
One-off production high individualized flexible machines Average costs constant, no price reduction potential
Mass production low standardized specialized machines falling average costs, high potential for price reductions
Series production low standardized specialized machines Cost advantages for small series , medium price reduction potential
flexible specialization high One-off production highly flexible machines Cost advantages with small series , lower price reduction potential

Piecework , a high degree of automation and flow production are also typical of mass production .

economic aspects

For mass production, the workflow with a workflow planning that takes into account the work intensity and the cycle time is of essential importance. A uniform flow of material must be guaranteed, which must be harmonized with just-in-time production . Mass production can make particular use of the law of mass production , which is characterized by degression of fixed costs and can lead to price reductions via economies of scale . This is particularly noticeable in mass markets (such as for bulk goods , factory farming or mass tourism ). Mass production is accompanied by a high inventory turnover rate and a long range . Can about an increase in labor intensity , labor productivity are improved.

Mass products are highly standardized and homogeneous , so that work preparation and sales are made considerably easier. In contrast, the production process becomes more inflexible and is characterized by a high level of work monotony .

The service sector has also taken over mass production. In banking , it takes place in standardized private customer business via ready-made banking transactions in cashless payment transactions ( transfer , real-time transfer , standing order , direct debit ) and financial products ( current account , savings deposits ). Insurers offer standardized types of insurance ( health insurance , life insurance ).

See also


  • Frank Thomas Piller: Mass Customization. A competitive strategy concept in the information age. Deutscher Universitäts-Verlag u. a., Wiesbaden 2000, ISBN 3-8244-7156-6 (At the same time: Würzburg, University, dissertation, 1999: Customer-specific mass production (mass customization) as a competitive strategic model of industrial value creation in the information society. ).
  • B. Joseph Pine: bespoke mass production. New dimension in competition. Wirtschaftsverlag Ueberreuter, Vienna 1994, ISBN 3-901260-66-8 .
  • Hartmut Storp: Process planning and cost comparison calculation for changed work structures in mass production (= Hannemann Verlag. Scientific series. Vol. 2). Hannemann Verlag, Husum 1982, ISBN 3-88716-008-8 (also: Hannover, Universität, Dissertation, 1981).
  • Volker Wittke: How did industrial mass production come about? The discontinuous development of the German electrical industry from the beginnings of “big industry” to the development of Fordism (1880–1975). Edition Sigma, Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-89404-415-2 (also: Göttingen, Universität, Dissertation, 1995).

Web links

Wiktionary: mass production  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : mass production  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Helge Lenné, Youth between Tradition and Democracy , 1967, p. 99
  2. Dess Schomerus, God pointed to America , 2012, pp. 104 ff.
  3. Christoph Hinker, Selected Typologies of small provincial Roman finds , 2013, p. 2011
  4. ^ Alfred Haverkamp, Aufbruch und Gestaltung: Deutschland 1056-1273 , Volume 1, 1993, p. 296 f.
  5. Christoph A. Kern, Typicity as a structural principle of private law , 2013, p. 245
  6. Lothar Wildmann, Introduction to Economics, Microeconomics and Competition Policy , 2007, p. 29
  7. Reinhard Welz (Ed.), Old European Cities in Old Engravings and Drawings , 2006, p. 25
  8. Anke Braun, Bertelsmann-Jugend-Lexikon , 2007, p. 348
  9. ^ Wiebe E. Bijker, Of Bicycles, Bakelites and Bulbs: Toward a Theory of Sociotechnical Change , 1997, pp. 101 ff.
  10. Hans-Werner Hahn, The Industrial Revolution in Germany , 2005, p. 42
  11. ^ Robin Murray, Fordism and socialist development , in: PROKLA (81), 1990, p. 94
  12. Jiří Kosta, Socialist Planned Economy: Theory and Practice , 1974, p. 46
  13. Hermann Wagener, Ökonomik der Arbeit , 1968, p. 340
  14. Michael J. Piore / Charles F. Sabel, The Second Industrial Divide: Possibilities for Prosperity ( German  Das Ende der Massenproduktion ), 1984, p. 301 f.
  15. Thomas Kotulla, Strategies for International Product Standardization and Differentiation , 2012, p. 62 FN 70
  16. Horst Wildemann, mass production , in: Wolfgang Lück (Ed.), Lexikon der Betriebswirtschaft , 2004, p. 455
  17. Verlag Dr. Th. Gabler (ed.), Gablers Wirtschaftslexikon , Volume 4, 1984, Col. 255 f.
  18. after Klaus Schubert, hand dictionary of the economic system of the Federal Republic of Germany , 2005, p. 14