Issue10 eMagazine v2 - Flipbook - Page 4
THE ROLE OF
Low-variation and high-volume production
characterised by repetitive tasks has been the
traditional model in manufacturing. With the
introduction of industrial robots, human
workers were freed from routine, mundane
and high-risk tasks. The decrease in the
reliance on human labour also increased
productivity, efficiency and production costs.
High-Mix, Low-Volume Production
However, low-volume production is now more
commonplace within UK manufacturing, as customers
require more customised products. This means that
manufacturing is now done in high-variation or
high-mix and low-volume (HMLV) environments.
Remember that in a high-mix, low-volume production
environment, the programming and reconfiguration
efforts to shift from one product to another can affect
production volume. Depending on the products, this
type of manufacturing setting might also require
several line changeovers to finish the desired output
in a given shift.
High-mix and low-volume production
offers several distinct market advantages:
• Products being tailored to suit specific
• Improved responsiveness to market
• Reduction in the inventory requirements
for finished goods
But on top of these advantages of HMLV, there are
also some manufacturing difficulties it comes with.
Some major challenges with the high-mix, low-volume
production scheme are lower productivity and a
greater reliance on human workers, which, in turn,
increases production costs.
Additionally, product mixes would entail different levels
of changeovers between product batches. With line
changeovers lasting anywhere from a few minutes to
as many as several weeks (as in the case of heavy
equipment or automobile manufacturing), production
may sometimes experience bottlenecks or periods of