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Difference between batch and flow production methods

Batch production is the manufacture of different version of the same basic product in batches (eg. different colour, types of paint, different varieties of jams etc)

There is some repetition of production which is for stock (rather than to order). Production is not continuous. Change-over between batches means that resources are idle at times. Consequently, production managers have to plan production schedules to minimize changeovers. The machinery employed will be specialised for production of the firm's products, but yet flexible enough for different batches.

Flow Production requires specialist machinery. Because of the high capital investment requirement, it is essential to achieve high level of utilisation. This requires a high level of sales of a fairly standardized product made for stock.

Flow production links up with a strategy of undifferentiated marketing whereas batch production suggests that the product is tailored to suit the needs of particular customers or segments.

The manpower required is specialist, but low in skills and performing repetitive task as compared to batch production where the levels of skills required are comparatively high.

The great advantage of line production is that with long production runs unit costs will be very low as compared to batch production.

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