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Mass Production

  • Date Submitted: 04/07/2013 06:23 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 52.8 
  • Words: 701
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Mass production is a way of manufacturing things en masse (and for the masses) that takes the initiative for choosing products out of the hands of the consumer and puts it into the hands of the manufacturer. Before mass-production methods were introduced, producers made things to order. They did not, by and large, manufacture things in the vague hope of selling them at some later date. They made things when they knew they had a customer.
In Elizabethan times, shops were not stuffed with goods waiting for buyers. They were full of craftsmen waiting to fulfil orders. With mass-production methods, manufacturers produce things in large quantities without having orders for them in advance. They worry about selling them later—the price they pay for enjoying economies of scale in the manufacturing process.
Mass production is based on the principles of specialisation and division of labour as first described by Adam Smith in “The Wealth of Nations” in 1776, and as first practised in places like Eli Whitney's gun factory in America in the 1790s. Mass-production methods use highly skilled labour to design products and to set up production systems, and highly unskilled labour to produce standardised components and assemble them (with the help of specialised machinery). The early businesses that used such methods were able to take workers directly out of agricultural labour on the land and on to the factory floor. No significant retraining was required.
The parts used in mass production are often manufactured elsewhere and then put together on a moving production facility known as an assembly line. The result is a standardised product made in a fairly small number of varieties, produced at low cost and of mediocre quality. The work is repetitive, and the workers are regarded as a variable cost to be taken on or laid off as demand dictates. In factories that are designed on the principles of mass production, stopping an assembly line to correct a problem at any one point...

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