Mass Production | Development | Application | Benefits | Disadvantages

Modern Manufacturing Arena: All About a Mass Production System

Story Highlights
  • Pioneer of Mass Production: Frederick W. Taylor, Frank B. Gilbreth, Lillian M. Gilbreth and Henri Fayol.
  • Pioneer Application of Mass Production: Ford Motor Company in 1913.
  • The Father of Management: Henri Fayol
  • The Father of Scientific Management: Frederick W. Taylor
  • The Father of Modern Management: Peter F. Drucker.
  • The Mother of Modern Management: Lillian M. Gilbreth

While hearing the word do you think Mass Production a completely new concept? If you answer to a positive, you are wrong but if negative, you are correct!

Definition: Mass production is the production of bulk quantities of similar products, may be using manual assembly line or automatic or robotic technology. It means the manufacturing of a large quantities of same or similar products efficiently with less cost or investments. It needs careful control of inventory, quality standards and division of labor and operational budgets. Mass production methods are based on two basic principles of operation management: (1) the division of labor and (2) the efficient use of machines and other equipment. As a result of using modern methods and technologies, mass production has shown major improvements in the cost, quality, volume, and variety of goods at the highest general standard of living.

Development Of Mass Production Methods

The father of the Scientific Management Frederick Winslow Taylor, popularly known as Frederick W. Taylor began studies of the organization of manufacturing operations in 1881 at the Midvale Steel Company in the United States which later on given a solid foundation to Modern Production Planning. Taylor studied all the smallest parts or activities in a given task and was able to design efficient methods, tools and devices that permitted Midvale Steel Company to produce significantly more with less manual effort. Later on, by means of Time Study and Process Study Taylor brought a quantitative approach to the organization of production functions. This was treated as a milestone in invention of Mass Production Methods.

During those days Frank B. Gilbreth and Lillian M. Gilbreth (The Mother of Modern Management), began Time and Motion Studies to analyze how operations/tasks are carried out by the people while production. Their study blessed us with stuffs in order to achieve maximum economy of effort. Both Taylor and the Gilbreths provided important tools for the design of contemporary manufacturing systems. Later on, this contemporary systems was highly developed with modern technologies and turned into bulk or mass production system. This enabled the companies to produce in bulk quantities of the same or similar products which minimized the costs and efforts.

During 1916-1925 Henri Fayol’s 14 Principles of Management had given additional ideas about the organization and supervision of work. His ideas of Division of Labor, Unity of Command, Discipline, Authority etc, had given valuable dimensions to Mass Production methods.

Pioneering Application Of Mass Production Methods

This is Henry Ford who applied the Mass Production Methods in the moving assembly line in 1913 his motor company. The reduced manufacturing time for parts and the time to produce an automobile by 90%. This empowered Ford to produced bulk Motor Cars which resulted in automobiles to be more affordable for the general public.

Benefits of Mass Production

  1. Mass production is generally automated method as a result much human efforts reduced
  2. Less workforce is required thus labor costs are reduced
  3. Faster rate of production, so large quantities of similar or same products can be produced
  4. Capital and energy are increased while total expenditure per unit of product is decreased and more people can afford to buy them
  5. Productivity and Efficieny of the manufacturing operations are increased
  6. In mass production environment competitive advantages of the products can be taken from the market
  7. Greater yielding and time saving system which yield higher profit if produced could be sold out.

Disadvantages of Mass Production

  1. Huge costs may be required to redesign and rebuild mass production processes
  2. Process re-enginnering costs are huge since mass production is typically capital-intensive
  3. If one line of production is interrupted, the entire production process may be affected and market of the product may be dried. As a result competitive advantages may be lost
  4. More chances of resources of being wasted as over production may create idle inventory level
  5. Mass production may lead to low employee morale

Examples of Mass-Production

Most common examples of mass-produced products are

  • Newspapers and Magazines
  • Soft Drinks and beverages
  • Cigarettes
  • Motor engines like Toyota, Ford
  • Mobile phones
    Nowadays, there are thousands of companies those have adopted Mass-Production Systems in order to supply their demanded products to ultimate users.

Read : Comparison Between Different Types of Production System

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