Discrete manufacturing refers to the manufacturing process that involves the production of distinct products that can be assembled to create a final product. Some of the common examples of products manufactured using this method include computers, smartphones, automobiles, toys, airplanes, and more.
A product made using the discrete manufacturing process can be disassembled at the end of its life cycle to recycle some of its parts. For instance, some components in smartphones or laptops, such as batteries, can be recycled and used to make new batteries. Automobile parts like tires, water pumps, batteries, engines, and glass can all be recycled and used to make newer parts.
Discrete manufacturing vs. process manufacturing
Process manufacturing is another production method used to manufacture certain products. With process manufacturing, products are created by combining supplies or raw materials using a formula or recipe. Some of the common examples of products created using process manufacturing include beverages, pharmaceutical products, plastics, oil and gas, and more.
The different raw materials used to create these products cannot be extracted at the end of the product life cycle. Most of the products produced using process manufacturing are also consumables. For instance, fuel and beverages are consumables, so they can’t be recycled at the end of their life cycle as they will be non-existent.
Unlike process manufacturing, discrete manufacturing often involves assembling different parts to create a final product. So, discrete manufacturing plants will always have sections where various components are designed and an assembly section where all these components are brought together to create a final product.
Core features/components of discrete manufacturing.
Some of the core components of discrete manufacturing include the following;
Bill of Materials (BOM)
It is the list of all materials/components needed to create a final product in a discrete manufacturing plant. Complex products such as cars or computers may have multiple Bills of materials. Such products usually have a top assembly, which is the final product and several sub-assemblies that have to be put together to create the final product.
The role of inventory management is to ensure that all the materials needed to create the different parts are available whenever required.
This involves regulating and monitoring the production of the components required to make the final assembly.
The role of the procurement department is to determine the required quantities of each item and the delivery times to ideally arrive just in time (JIT) to be used in production.
The importance of production planning is to assess all the different factors and determine how much of the product should be produced. This involves looking at the demand in the market, supply chain, production capacity of the manufacturing plant, and more.
Quality Control involves putting in place a set of procedures to ensure the manufactured products meet the pre-determined requirements or standards.
This involves getting the produced goods to the customers. It starts with the customer placing an order and ends with the customer receiving the product.