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Types of manufacturing

Manufacturing is a vital and growing industry. While most people assume that manufacturers have to be large multi million dollar corporations those same people would be surprised to learn that manufacturing is also filled with lots of small, thriving companies that are producing a high quality product. Many customers are turning to small manufacturers since they are often better at being able to produce a more personalized and specialized product. This is often a product that a larger manufacturer cannot make as profitably. This is referred to as niche manufacturing which allows smaller manufacturing companies to operate in areas that have little or no competition from larger companies.

One of the major benefits of being a smaller manufacturer is that you don't necessarily have to be highly experienced in all aspects of the production process.While manufacturing encompasses sales, shipping, purchasing and exporting there are companies that can help smaller businesses take care of some of these functions. This is also true for the accounting, marketing, and purchasing functions, as well. In addition, today's technology also allows smaller companies to compete on a more even footing with their larger competitors. This in turn frees them to concentrate on producing a high quality product for a reasonable price.

There are several different types of manufacturing methods that can be employed by smaller manufacturers. Here are a few of them-
- Flexible manufacturing-There is many small manufacturers who use this type of manufacturing. This type of manufacturing is done by the use of Computer Numerical Control (CNC) computers which controls the machinery that is used on the production line. It is important to note that this is one of the most highly mechanized forms of manufacturing which means that there are fewer human workers involved. However, this allows the business owner to be able to quickly change what products are being manufactured in response to a change in the market or an additional demand from a customer. This type of manufacturing is known for producing a high quality product that has been made to very precise specifications. The major downside to this type of manufacturing is the high initial cost of the needed equipment.
- Continuous manufacturing-This type of manufacturing is done by businesses that are making a single product. The production line becomes an assembly line where the workers assemble a single product as it moves along. Most of the time the assembly line is made up of different stations where workers add to the product as it moves along. This type of manufacturing is best used by companies who are not looking to make a custom product. This type of manufacturing allows for products that will be sold on the market without having to be customized.
- Intermittent manufacturing-The intermittent manufacturing method is often used by businesses who are making products that are of a similar nature. If the products are somewhat similar with few variations a production line using intermittent manufacturing would work well. This type of manufacturing also works well when there is a demand for the product that goes up and down or is seasonal.
- Custom manufacturing-A majority of small manufacturing companies use this type of manufacturing. The main reason for using this type of manufacturing is that it lets the manufacturer completely customize the product to the specifications that were given by the customer. This manufacturing method is also employed when the product is highly complex or it requires certain skills beyond the use of machines to produce. This can give the small manufacturing company the chance to tap into a section of the market that their larger competition cannot reach.

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