The Production Process: Steps & Types

ProjectManager

Getting a product from an idea to the marketplace is a long journey that’s mapped in the production process. Another way to look at the production process is as a series of detailed steps that take you from one point to the next until you’ve completed the process.

There are many production methods and types of production, but before explaining those steps, it’s important to understand the term. Then let’s look at various types of product methods and offer a few examples of the production process to make it clear.

What Is a Production Process?

The production process takes resources, such as raw materials, labor, capital and equipment, and turns them into finished goods or services for consumers. The goal of the production process isn’t only to produce but to do so efficiently. The goods or services should be delivered to customers as quickly as possible.

Capital, labor and whatever other resources are required to produce goods and services are called the factors of production. Capital is the amount of money invested in assets, such as machinery, raw materials, etc. Labor is the people who are involved in the time and effort required to put into the process.

A production process must be effective as it impacts a company’s business performance. Therefore, project management software is used to streamline the process and deliver quality without overspending or extending the production time.

ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that helps to plan, manage and track the production process. Our kanban boards are customizable to capture every step of your production process with kanban cards where important files can be attached, subtasks added, priority set, tags made to make them easy to find in a global search and much more. Managers can visualize their workflow to respond quickly to client inquiries and accurately estimate delivery. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's kanban board
ProjectManager’s kanban boards show your entire production process in one place. Learn more

Steps of the Production Process

There are various stages that a typical production process goes through. These steps, of course, can vary from one manufacturer to another and across industries, but in general, the steps defined below are part of any production process.

Production Planning

Before you can go into production, you’ll need to do some planning. At this point, you’re going to define the purpose and the goals of the production as well as figure out how you’re going to achieve them.

Production Routing

Once the plan is in place, the procurement of the necessary resources such as raw materials, begins. The raw materials might need processing, finishing and to be checked for quality and distribution. These activities are also part of the routing step. At this point, decisions are made to determine the quantity and quality of the goods and services and their place in production. All steps are important in the production process, but this might be the most important.

Production Scheduling

A schedule in the production process is where you determine the timing of the job. Each stage of the production process should have a start date and an end date. Everyone working on the production line will have a scheduled workflow.

Production Dispatching

This stage marks the start of production. There are many different activities that can take place over the course of dispatching, from the provision of items, maintenance of records to the monitoring of planned workflows and the times a machine is working or idle to ensure the production process is moving forward as expected.

Production Control

Production control is the stage when the actual production process is compared to the planned production process. This identifies issues that took the production off track and helps managers come up with plans to remedy those issues for the next production cycle.

6 Types of Production Methods

Generally speaking, there are six types of production methods: mass, craft, catch, job and service production as well as mass customization. While there are different types of production methods, some have a fairly similar journey with set stages and parameters and others are different, allowing for customization. Let’s take a look at each to better understand them.

1. Mass Production

Mass production is a continuous process in which everyone is working continuously to produce the same item at the same time. The forms and sizes of the products remain the same. All resources are directed to produce the same range. Multiple tasks will be done simultaneously to improve efficiency.

2. Craft Production

Craft production is when a product is made one by one, whether with tools or without, though it usually occurs in a job shop setting. This was the most common method of production prior to the Industrial Revolution, for example, making pottery by hand.

3. Batch Production

Similar to mass production, batch production differs in that it’s produced in batches. That allows production to be divided on the size of the product, its color, form and so forth. An example of this would be the silk screening of T-shirts, which are produced in different sizes, colors, etc.

4. Job Production

A job production is one done in limited quantities. It can also be done in accordance with a customer’s specific preference. This type of production method is small-scale with the production of the job being completed before taking up other jobs.

5. Service Production

Service production is usually done by an automatic process that’s triggered by the customer. This is becoming more common with the dominance of online establishments such as Amazon that are streamlining the process of ordering to delivering products.

6. Mass Customization

Mass customization is similar to craft production, only it’s produced in mass quantity. There can be customization on the shape, color, pattern, etc., but the production will make many similar items.

Related: 10 Free Manufacturing Templates for Excel

Production Process Examples

To make these various production methods more understandable, let’s explore some examples of each in the production process.

Mass Production Example

Mass production examples are myriad across industries. Two examples of this type of production method can be found in the automobile industry and electronics industries. Both of these types of production are known for their constantly working assembly lines and production that usually works around the clock to produce products efficiently.

Craft Production Example

While craft production was the prominent method of production before the Industrial Revolution, it’s still used today. You’ll find it in the production of designer clothes, which are made for the runway or privileged customers who are looking for one-of-a-kind designs. These items are made by hand and often specifically for special events.

Batch Production Example

We’ve mentioned above that T-shirts are an example of a batch production process, but there are more. For example, baking is batch production as is craft brewing, both popular and widespread illustrations of the vitality of the batch production process.

Job Production Example

In terms of job production, you can find it in industries as diverse as shipbuilding and customer furniture production. More examples include making specific pieces for a house, such as railing for buildings and repairing computers or making flower arrangements for a wedding.

Service Production Example

While delivery from online stores such as Amazon might be how most of us interact with the service product process, it’s not the only example of this production method. If you use a consultant or have a lawyer on retainer, then you’re using service production. These aren’t products but services, but their production is the same.

Mass Customization Example

There are companies that mass produce products, such as sneakers, that still allow customers to customize their products. Nike is one such manufacturer that allows its customers to personalize their own Nike products, whether that’s clothing or footwear. These customization options range from color to design. It’s a powerful marketing tool that creates brand loyalty from its customers, which is worth the added complexities in mass customization production.

Screenshot of the 2024 manufacturing ebook by ProjectManager

How ProjectManager Helps Manage the Production Process

Whichever type of production process your company employs, project management software can help you run your jobs more efficiently. ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that helps manufacturers track jobs, resources and invoices to save money and deliver their products to market on time, within budget and meeting quality expectations.

Use Multiple Tools for Planning

Our kanban boards are essential for tracking production and always knowing where your work is in terms of completion. But that’s only one of the multiple product views available on our software, all of which share the same updated real-time data. Schedules can be created on robust Gantt charts that also can set a baseline to monitor variance to stay on track. The calendar view is a great tool to see if you’ll have the materials in stock when you need them to better plan your production. You can upload invoices and other documentation to tasks on every view so you have a centralized hub collecting important information with our unlimited file storage.

ProjectManager's calendar view
Track Costs and More With a Real-Time Dashboard

Our software gives manufacturers live budget tracking. Add your budget to the project and, once you’ve set a baseline to capture the planned costs, you can monitor your planned costs against your actual costs in real time. Our live dashboard captures this metric and many more, converting the data into easy-to-read graphs and charts that make it easy to digest this information at a glance. Unlike lightweight software tools, there’s no time-consuming configuration necessary to get our dashboard up and running. It’s plug-and-play.

ProjectManager's dashboard

For more detailed information, toggle to our reporting features and generate a status report, portfolio report, reports on variance, timesheets and more in seconds. All reports can be customized to show only the data you want to see and then easily shared with stakeholders to keep them updated. Use risk management, task management and resource management features to keep your production processes running smoothly.

ProjectManager is online project management software that connects everyone on the production line from those in the office to workers on the floor. Share files, comment on the task level and much more. Get the features manufacturers need to empower teams to plan, manage and track their work in real time. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.