Production process

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Production processes form in the production industry to focus operational production .


A production process is understood to mean a generally standardized workflow in which a salable product is manufactured using specified manufacturing methods , work equipment and operating resources through mechanical and / or manual processing of raw materials or intermediate products. The interaction of the production-related and business processes of a company is also referred to as a production system (company) .

A process that is defined with regard to certain requirements is considered to be standardized . a. in terms of product quality , the productivity and economic efficiency , the labor and health and safety at work and environmental criteria, and performed accordingly over again. The implementation is described by the work planning in a work plan, whereby the most suitable process must be selected from different manufacturing processes. Example: A hand soldering iron or tin bath, etc. can be used to solder electrical components . The methods meet different quality requirements. If several methods meet the requirements of a product, the more cost-effective one will come into play.

By Industry 4.0 products and production processes are increasingly being digitized, can communicate with each other so that different production processes and can in future also interact autonomously.

Production processes are closely related to other processes in a company such as research and development , finance and accounting, human resources management or sales and customer service . The production processes are particularly closely linked to logistical processes that serve procurement and supply chain management , the internal flow of materials and distribution . Together with the work and business process , they form the core of the process chain in industrial companies .


An example of the sequence of a chemical production process ( isolating agent ):

  • The work preparation plans of the SET-production data.
  • The plan values ​​are passed on to the production area.
  • The production begins several raw materials with mixing.
  • These are pressed into molds by an operating medium.
  • The raw materials are transported to the blast furnace via a belt .
  • The melting process takes place in the blast furnace at over 1000 ° C.
  • Further processing takes place via platinum nozzles.
  • Binder is added in the shaft .
  • The insulating fibers fall onto the tape through the shaft.
  • The result is an insulating fleece that is cut to size.
  • The production backup checks the actual production data.
  • It makes a TARGET-ACTUAL comparison.
  • If there are irregularities in production, readjustments must be made.

Features of production processes

Production processes are differentiated according to various characteristics. The production types are differentiated according to the quantity , the type of sales and the type of organization .

Organization types
Manufacturing types Workbench Workshop groups Flow series Flow street Assembly line
One-time production
Repeat production
Small batch production
Variety production
Mass production
Mass production

Subdivision criterion: quantity

(Also referred to as process type , production type or repetition type of production in some cases directly as production type)

  • Individual production : Each product is produced individually and once. None of the goods produced are completely or even close to the other. These are custom-made or custom-made products, such as shipbuilding or a bespoke suit. This can be done successively (once) or simultaneously (next to each other). Other examples: bridges, lifts, custom-made kitchens, large chemical plants, etc.
  • Series production : A limited number of similar consumer or capital goods is produced. If the same production facilities are used to produce the individual series, they must be converted accordingly, which is usually associated with special conversion costs. Depending on the quantity of products produced, a distinction is made between small, medium and large series production. Examples: different models of a car brand, pharmaceutical products, etc.
  • Variety production : Here, different variants of similar products are produced one after the other, e.g. B. different types of screws . The products do not differ in terms of the manufacturing process or the raw materials used , but only in terms of functionality, dimensions or shape (size, color, etc.). Further examples: production of shoes, fruit yoghurts etc.
  • Mass production : This is the production of large quantities of homogeneous goods for an “anonymous market”, i.e. for storage or prefabrication. This can be done once or on a rolling basis. In the case of mass production, the company can fully utilize the rationalization options that are given by the large number of units and achieve low unit costs . Due to the automation of the production process, no retrofitting of the production systems is necessary. Examples: cement, gummy bears, beer, cigarettes, etc.

Subdivision criterion: order

Individual and anonymous manufacturing can be distinguished according to the type of order.

Subdivision criterion: paragraph

The different production process principles have a strong influence on the logistical performance of production processes. For example, due to its structure, make-to-stock production has no flexibility with regard to the product, whereas contract production has disadvantages compared to make-to-stock production with regard to delivery time and production costs. Due to the customer's desire for customized products at low prices, program production is becoming increasingly important. Under the heading of individualized mass production ( mass customization ) an attempt is made to combine the advantages of warehouse and contract production.

Subdivision criterion: organization

(Also referred to as production process type , process type or organizational type of production ) Based on Schuh, the process type of production can be differentiated based on the criteria of spatial arrangement and movement of the production objects.

Criterion: spatial arrangement

Also called arrangement type or manufacturing principle .

  • Flow production : According to the definition by Mäckbach / Kienzle (flow work 1926) flow production is a "locally progressing, temporally determined, uninterrupted sequence of operations". With this type of production, the spatial arrangement of equipment and workplaces takes place according to the production process. The production process determines the arrangement of the machines. The objects to be processed pass through the individual workplaces in a continuous sequence. There is little or no participation of the working people in the planning and control of the work process (example: assembly line assembly of cars). The flow production distinguishes 3 different forms:
  1. In assembly line production , the individual workstations are rigidly connected with assembly lines in order to enable a steady and even production flow. The timing is done by specifying the same work cycles. This rigid type of organization is characterized by a high degree of division of labor and specialization. Disruptions in the rigid process flow can lead to production downtime.
  2. When paving (also Lines automatic manufacturing or processing line called) the individual jobs with temporary buffers are chained together to absorb disturbances in the workplace. This elastic linkage enables production downtime to be avoided. This manufacturing process is used, for example, in the manufacture of commercial vehicles, where the time limit does not amount to every second.
  3. Flow series production if work processes cannot be adjusted to a common cycle time under any circumstances, then series production is used to be able to drop the timing. Since there is no rigid work cycle, the workers can determine the work pace themselves.
  • Island production : This is a form of group production in which a group manufactures a product as completely as possible in a production island. The prerequisite for this is that all required resources are available on the production island.
  • Workshop production : here the operating resources (production) and the workplaces with the same or similar tasks are grouped together in one workshop. The product moves through the individual workshops in accordance with the schedule, in which machines carry out special tasks (e.g. planing, milling, forging). The organizational form of workshop production is chosen when a high degree of flexibility is desired, for example when the type and number of work objects change frequently (e.g. locksmith's shop , welding shop or milling shop ).

Criterion: sequence of movements of the production objects

  • Construction site assembly: is characterized by a site-specific work object. Performances take place at the construction site.
  • Flow assembly :
  • Group assembly: It is characterized by a grouping of people and workplaces for similar sub-processes that are organized according to the performance principle, while workshop production otherwise predominates. The group production is therefore a combination of several production processes using the advantages of flow and workshop production or avoiding the disadvantages.
  • Row assembly :

Criterion: location dependence


  • Workbench production : here manual work processes are carried out without the support of machines from start to finish by a worker or a work group at a processing station. There is therefore usually no inevitable transition to other jobs. Mostly one-off pieces or small series are produced.
  • Process production : In process production, no countable units (cars, screws, gummy bears), but liquids, gases, mixtures or granulates are produced in a continuous or discontinuous process.

Further keywords:

  • Differentiation between classic and modern "intelligent" production processes
  • Different perspectives on production processes (including (operational) economic, ergonomic, (industrial) sociological)

Production processes and production networks

In the context of globalization, the production processes at global companies are divided between many different and specialized manufacturing plants. This creates global production networks between which there is a manufacturing and delivery network that must be precisely planned and controlled. This applies e.g. B. for the automotive industry, where individual automotive groups have over one hundred production facilities. In addition, automobile manufacturers such as Toyota, Mercedes or Volkswagen have developed their own production system (company) in order to standardize production processes and thus make them easier to control and to ensure uniform product quality worldwide (see also Toyota production system ).

Production structure type

The production structure type (also material flow structure type or vergence type ) describes how manufactured products are created from the necessary materials.

  • Synthetic manufacturing, also converging manufacturing (several parts are assembled into one product)
Example: A car is assembled from individual parts and assemblies
  • Analytical manufacturing, also divergent manufacturing (several products are made from a single material)
Example: Diesel, gasoline and other hydrocarbons can be obtained from crude oil.
  • Serial production, also called smooth, continuous or linear production (a material is only processed)
Example: A roof beam is made from a tree trunk
  • Mixed forms, regrouping production (in the production of products there may be a mix of the above-mentioned arrangement types)

Special forms

  • Batch production : Batch production is a special form in which the result of production differs or may differ in quality from another, i.e. the differentiation criterion is the exact quality of the end products. It describes a manufacturing process that, due to the production process, is not carried out endlessly, but rather in individual batches. The decisive factor for the classification is not whether the inputs are provided in certain containers (e.g. paper on pallets), but that e.g. B. a machine is not able to process an endless stream of the starting material. Examples: Brewing kettle (beer), kneading bowl (rolls), fields (potatoes), production processes where exact mixing is important (medicine).
  • Joint production (also joint production ): In joint production, two or more products are created at the same time in a sub-process of production, whereby the proportion of the co-products can be fixed or variable.

See also


  • MJ Piore, Ch. F. Sabel: The end of mass production . Fischer, Frankfurt a. M. 1989.
  • Ch. Schneeweiß: Introduction to the production economy . 8th edition. Berlin 2002.
  • G. Spur: From the change in the industrial world through machine tools . Hanser, Munich, Vienna 1991.
  • S. Wangenheim: Planning and control of the series start-up of complex products. Shown using the example of the automotive industry . Peter Lang, Frankfurt a. M., Berlin, Bern, a. a. 1998.

Individual evidence

  1. a b Artur Woll, Wirtschaftslexikon , 9th edition, R. Oldenbourg Verlag, Munich / Vienna, 2000 (p. 224).
  2. Harald Dyckhoff: Basics of the production economy . Springer, Berlin 1994. p. 345.
  3. ^ Schuh, Günther, Production Planning and Control , 3rd Edition, Springer, 2006, p. 129 ff.
  4. Harald Dyckhoff: Basics of the production economy . Springer, Berlin 1994. p. 344.
  5. Wilmjakob Herlyn: PPS in the automotive industry . Hanser, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-446-41370-2 , pp. 136 .
  6. Bernd Schiemenz, Olaf Schönert: Decision and Production, Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, 2005, ISBN 978-3-486-57716-7 , page 95, [1] .