Products we use are created using production processes. We should all be well-versed with their importance in our daily lives by now. Batch production is one such process that enhances production, as it facilitates the simultaneous creation of groups of products. Whereas with other methodologies, the products are continuously produced. The decision of selecting the size and frequency of the batch lies with the manufacturer. Using this production process introduces flexibility in manufacturing. But on the flip side, the error in batches results in wasted time and costs. This brings us to the advantages and disadvantages of batch production.
Advantages of batch production
With batch production, businesses can have good control over their inventory. They can produce more or less specific products to meet the seasonal demand. The following are other benefits you can expect from using batch production.
1. It offers greater flexibility
The best part about batch production is that it delivers superb flexibility. This works perfectly for our dynamic world, where new trends keep emerging frequently. Let’s understand this with an example. Suppose a shirt manufacturing company uses batch production and manufactures shirts in a specific color, and the demand for other colors rises.
Since they are manufacturing shirts in batches, they can tweak the color in the production cycle. That way, batch production proffers increased versatility to accommodate trends and waves of seasonal demands.
2. Batch production reduces waste
Batch production has its advantages over large-scale as well as single-product manufacturing. In large-scale manufacturing, huge amounts of products are produced at the same time. But if the product is not selling well, then it results in a lot of waste.
Whereas, in single-product manufacturing, one product is created at a time, but it results in lower wastage of resources. In batch processing, numerous products are divided into smaller batches, eventually reducing the waste. Consequently, if products don’t sell well, they have the option of making changes to them before the situation can get out of hand.
3. It is cost-effective
Manufacturing products in batches is a cost-effective solution.
Firstly, it lowers operational costs. This is because the machinery (such as industrial robots) is in use only when the batches are produced, unlike other methods where they are operational at all times.
Secondly, since the products are manufactured in batches, the strain on machinery and workers is lifted off. This makes them more efficient than producing products individually. Lastly, it allows the purchasing of materials in bulk which comes with the additional benefit of good deals.
4. Batch production allows specialization
As we have mentioned earlier batch production offers greater flexibility. It makes this production process responsive to the changing customer demands. The changes can be made to the production plan based on the market demand. Then these changes can be implemented in groups for specialization. In other words, batch production permits the manufacturing of different products in various batches.
5. It offers variety and choice
Businesses use batch production to manufacture products in smaller quantities. This allows them to take input from customers and look for ways to satisfy their needs. Moreover, the lower the number of products, the higher the opportunity of making a variety of products available. In some cases, batch production is the practical approach to manufacturing.
For instance, take a bakery, the food items need to be produced in sets as they have a shorter shelf life. Using continuous production in such situations methods will result in squandered resources, making batch production an ideal choice.
6. Batch production allows greater quality control
Excellent quality control is one of the major pros of batch production. As we know by now, it allows production in bunches, so it is a step-by-step process. This allows the manufacturers to check the quality of products before letting them move to the next step.
This way, the faults, and errors are detected earlier, thereby, avoiding unnecessary wastage of time and effort on faulty products. Whereas in mass production, the errors remain undetected at times as the products move to the next step quickly.
Disadvantages of batch production
While this kind of production comes with a lot of upsides, there are a few factors that need to be considered. The following are several drawbacks of batch production.
1. It causes downtime
Even though batch production provides greater quality control, on the flip side it raises downtime. This is because of meticulous quality control and assurances that take up more time.
Alongside this, as the products are moved in batches, they are transferred to work-in-progress (WIP) inventory until they can be moved to the next stage. The machinery changeover and transfer of products to and from WIP inventory incurs a substantial amount of downtime.
2. Errors incur wasted time and costs
Manufacturers adopt best practices to make the most out of their production process. This is why they employ diverse processes such as this form of production. But on the downside, creating batches of the products can potentially ruin the batch if the errors remain unnoticed.
It results in the wastage of a lot of materials when the whole batch gets ruined because of undetected quality errors. This is especially true in the case of expensive products, as it can result in huge financial losses for companies.
3. Batch production increases storage costs
As we pointed out earlier, the products are transferred to the WIP inventory before they can be moved to the next step in the batch production process. This increases the requirement for storage space.
Not only this, but since the large quantities of products are fabricated in clusters, they need additional storage space too. Alongside storage costs, businesses need to invest more capital in fulfilling the inventory labor requirements that come with batch production.
4. It does not support personalization
Most industries use batch production to manufacture goods. Some are bakeries, apparel manufacturers, pharmaceuticals, electronics, and many more. However, producing in batches does not permit personalization. Customers may demand that businesses create a unique product for them since they have a batch production process.
Unfortunately, they cannot accept customers’ specific demands. In other words, there’s no room for personalization as it is impossible to create a unique product in batch production.
Different types of production methods
Batch production is not the only type of production you can opt for as a company. The following table lists different types of production methods:
|Job Production||Producing custom work on a small scale based on specific orders.||High quality, customizable products; Personalized service; High client satisfaction.||High costs; Longer production times; Requires highly skilled labor.|
|Batch Production||Producing a limited number of identical items as a group.||Economies of scale; Flexibility in the use of different raw materials; and Easier quality control.||Potential for high inventory costs; Idle time between batches can reduce efficiency.|
|Mass (Flow) Production||Producing large quantities of a standardized item.||Lower production cost per unit; Consistent quality; High rate of output.||Less product flexibility; High startup costs; Can lead to oversupply if demand drops.|
|Continuous Production||Constantly producing an item 24/7. Typically used for commodities like oil, electricity, etc.||Extremely efficient; Lower cost per unit; Ideal for high-demand, low-variety products.||It is very expensive to set up & shut down; Requires constant monitoring; and little flexibility.|
Batch production provides many benefits such as variety, cost-effectiveness, lower waste, specialization on a certain product, etc. It also has drawbacks such as storage costs, product wastage, personalization issues, and more.
So, as a company, it is up to you to decide whether the product is suitable to be produced as a batch or better to produce them separately.