What is Discrete Manufacturing?
Discrete Manufacturing is the manufacturing practice of operating with a bill of materials (BOM) to create various parts of a product that are then merged together to form the finished product. With this process, manufacturers enact a series of steps that are not dependent on one another.
The most common trends found in Discrete Manufacturing are:
- Predictive maintenance – saves money and effort by not wasting time fixing issues on the factory floor.
- IoT – machines that are always connected to the internet derive significant data that enable businesses to employ better customer service and increase product efficiency.
- Supply chain optimization – tools that allow for more efficient planning and inventory optimization can drive more value to the business.
- Virtual/augmented reality – methods and tools that allow manufacturers to experiment with a product before actually spending time creating it.
Discrete vs Process Manufacturing
While Discrete Manufacturing Process relies on the various elements of a product to come together, Process manufacturing, on the other hand, is a form of manufacturing that depends on recipes and equations to produce a good, such as food, chemicals, beverages, plastic, etc. These products cannot be broken down once created. Goods that are produced through Discrete Manufacturing, however, can be broken down into individual parts once finished. Discrete Manufacturing is responsible for creating products like computers, smartphones, automobiles, clothing, appliances, etc.
Discrete Manufacturing Workflows:
Discrete Manufacturing processes appear with the following workflows:
- MTS (Make to Stock)
- MTO (Make to Order)
- ATO (Assembly to Order)
In the case of producing goods in bulk that do not require any personalization, the MTS workflow comes into play. This means producing stock prior to orders created and sold. This method is best fitted for products with high volume, low complexity. If you do not keep any stock or produce goods prior to order, rather create a product only once an order comes in, then the workflow is referred to as MTO. In the last case, producing and assembling goods as soon as an order comes in, ATO, is the safest scenario in between MTO and MTS.
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How Discrete Manufacturing Can Increase Manufacturing Efficiency:
Manufacturers today are constantly seeking methods that can optimize the industry. Discrete Manufacturing, with its advanced functionality and flexibility, is just one of these methods that can provide factories with an advantage over their competitors. This flexibility allows manufacturers to easily track production via MES (Manufacturing Execution System) and enact multiple modes of manufacturing, such as MTS and MTO. Ultimately with the right support, Discrete Manufacturing software can manage various activities on the factory floor, adapt to multiple environments, provide complete visibility of production and cost control, and provide real-time manufacturing analytics to better optimize overall production.