Intermittent production is the type of production process in which production is not continuous, that is, various manufactured products are manufactured based on a limited demand that does not allow an uninterrupted production system.
Thus, it is convenient to highlight that, as we said, we are talking about one of the main types of production system that exist. In addition, by their nature, this type of system is the predominant one in low-demand goods.
Characteristics of intermittent production
Intermittent production is a production process that begins and ends in indefinite periods of time.
Production is small-scale, so it does not require human and physical capital to be in constant operation. Likewise, it is a flexible system, different from the mass production process. Therefore, products tend to be heterogeneous, even when they are manufactured in the same process. Likewise, adjustments can be made to the system itself depending on the customer's needs. Commonly, the machinery used is used to carry out different products or activities.
Generally, this system is applied to products that require differentiated designs. Therefore, it also depends on a creative process for the development of such products or provision of services.
Types of intermittent production
Intermittent production can be divided into the following main types:
- Production per project: Product of a single allocation per customer. This constitutes the most complex case of this type of production. Also, in this case, each product is different from the others.
- Batch production: This case is the closest to mass production, however, the units produced are more limited. Likewise, it depends on customer orders, similar units are created and can be batches of different products.
Advantages and disadvantages of intermittent production
Some of the advantages of this system are the following:
- It offers a variety of products and designs to the consumer.
- The flexibility of the process allows the customization or adaptation of the product.
- Adaptability to changing market trends.
- Specialization in market niches.
On the other hand, some of the disadvantages that can be listed are the following:
- The production volume is limited and difficult to scale in the short and medium term.
- Modifications to the system or the customization process can decrease productivity.
- The supply of raw materials and materials is not constant, which entails storage costs and could lead to delays.
Examples of intermittent production
This type of production method is applied in various disciplines, mainly artisanal ones.
Some examples could be the following:
- Goldsmith: These products are based on the particular taste of each client. In general, the artist uses such tastes and personal information to make his products.
- Dressmakers: Like the previous one, the final product depends on the client's wishes. Therefore, what allows the success of the business is customization or adaptation.
- Confectionery: The entire product depends on the client's requirements, from the ingredients to the decoration theme.