Manufacturing process description is a type of document that is used to define and detail the processes involved in the manufacture of a product or device, as part of the measures to ensure quality and safety of the intended user.
Manufacturing process descriptions is a type of document that organisations use to set up a new manufacturing operation or make improvements to an existing one. This piece of document is also essential to ensure cost- and time-efficiency during the manufacturing process.
Before you can delve into the intricacies of the manufacturing process, it is important to understand how it works first. Manufacturing is the act of processing raw materials, ingredients, or parts to create a finished product. There are several elements involved here such as machinery, human labour, tools, and thermal or chemical conversion (if applicable). The conversion process can be initiated by time, heat, or pressure.
There is a flow of sequential steps to be followed during the manufacturing process. Once a particular step is completed, the production moves on to the next step, and so on. It also involves tracing or scheduling tools to achieve peak operational efficiency.
There are two general categories involved when talking about manufacturing: process manufacturing and discrete manufacturing. Process manufacturing uses a formula to create products that can stand on its own and be used for a specific purpose. On the other hand, discrete manufacturing is when the final product can be broken down to distinct parts (like toys and automobiles). The first one is considered more complex but it also requires more strict quality control during the production process.
Several crucial elements make up an efficient manufacturing process if you want to increase efficiency and ensure that you follow the best practices.
When improving efficiencies, you can focus on the production, the packaging, or the tracking. It’s also important to examine the tools as a crucial part of the manufacturing process. If any improvements can be made in this area, it can also significantly boost your overall efficiency performance.
Manufacturing Process as Part of Product Development
The manufacturing process is a crucial part of product development. There is a misconception that product development occurs prior to the start of the manufacturing process; however, it is in the manufacturing stage that a product is ever developed.
The product development process relies on a series of steps that must be accomplished before you can get your hands on a final product. The steps look a lot like this, although it can vary based on the specific product you are working on:
- Conception of product idea
- Research and validation of product idea
- Testing and building a prototype
- Final product design
- Manufacturing of product
- Marketing and distribution
Once you have the final design, you can create the bills of materials (BOMs). This document is vital in the production planning as it provides an extensive detail of the materials, components, and the processes that go into the creation of such a product.
BOMs follow a hierarchy when listing the ingredients starting with the final product and are broken down into the sub-components. The BOMs vary based on the complexity of the product = from simple to more complex ones.
Writing down the manufacturing process descriptions are important for multiple reasons. In particular, you need to keep this document up-to-date and accurate to achieve higher control over the manufacturing process and its consequent results. But perhaps the most important thing of all is the ability to improve efficiency in the cost and overall process.
Here are additional benefits of manufacturing process descriptions:
- Optimal sourcing and acquisition of the materials. It makes sure that you have an adequate supply of materials at every step of the manufacturing process since you have proper and adequate documentation.
- Easy access to essential information for your staff. They can easily refer to the manufacturing process descriptions to ensure proper quality control and that the essential procedures are in effect.
- It simplifies the overall operation and ensures that complex processes are broken down into easy to digest sub-processes. It also makes for easier reporting.
- It gives you accountability and traceability. You can easily identify the areas that you can refine to optimise performance and efficiency of the process. You wouldn’t have otherwise access to this information without the manufacturing process descriptions and documentation.
Depending on the product you are making, there might be more than one type of manufacturing process involved. It is important that you properly document this process to determine where you can improve on efficiencies and add to your cost savings.