Batch flow implies that each unique batch is completed in one work center before the entire batch is moved to the next work center.
In this process, subsequent batches should wait until the current batch moves to the next work center.
The production process is one of the success factors of the business. Batch flow is one of the essential and successful production processes.
Because of this process, a manufacturer can produce multiple products simultaneously.
Advantages of Batch flow process
- It reduces the initial setup cost.
- It allows you to implement an entire system of batch processing equipment easily and cheaply.
- It enables you to set up each process separately.
- It suits pharmaceutical, rare metal, food, and packing industries.
- No need to concentrate on a single type of product. Hence increases flexibility to produce other types of products.
The batch process is very much suitable for the clothing industries and the seasonal products manufacturing industries.
By adopting this process cloth industry can manufacture different colored, different sized clothes.
Batch flow is not a suitable process for all types of industries. So we should know the disadvantages of it.
- Its processing cost is high
- Batch flow is a time and energy-consuming process
- Equipment used in the batch process requires more space.
- Additional laborers are required to move the products from one place to another.
Example of Batch flow process
For example, assume a textile industry provides towels, bedsheets, pillow covers to a hotel that they require for their business. With the batch process, it is easy to fulfill the orders of that hotel.
It is easy to produce 200-bed sheets, 1000 large pillow covers, 700 small pillow covers, 500 curtains, etc., with the help of one set of machinery.
With the flexibility of the batch process textile industry can attain the demands of that particular hotel immediately.
In the same way, for businesses like cookies baking, samosa baking, sandwich making, the batch process is a good choice.
Because these businesses must supply their products when they are fresh as they have a short shelf life, hence in this case, batch production makes sense.
Suppose the cookies baking company produces a large shelf life cookies, then the continuous process is efficient.
What are the products produced using batch flow?
The products that are produced using batch flow are baked items, computer chips, clothes, newspapers, magazines, books, electrical goods, jig productions, etc.
How do you bring efficiency in batch flow?
Batch flow is less efficient compared to continuous flow. But somehow, you can bring efficiency in batch flow by following the below steps.
Decrease the possibilities of the type of products
If you are producing 16 to 20 varieties of cookies, ask yourself a question is it profitable to produce 16 to 20 types of cookies?. Then review the demand for the cookies.
Find out the fast-moving cookies and produce only that type of cookies. Then, remove the slow-moving, less profitable types of cookies.
Still, you want to produce all varieties, then extend the manufacturing time for slow-moving cookies so that you will get more orders during the time of the process.
Move the employees during switchover time
Assume that you have 15 employees in the production of a batch, and you need to change the setup for another batch.
At that time, retain only one or two employees to change the setup and move other workers to another work temporarily till the setup changed.
Employees utilize this time to clean up the place, assist the other employees.
Increase the cost for special batch
Some customers ask for customized or unique products. So that batch requires some extra setups. But, on the other hand, it reduces the number of switchovers. Hence charge more cost for that products.
Adopt lean manufacturing
The lean manufacturing method helps to decrease the switchover time. It reduces the wasteful process.
Continuous flow process
In this process, a single work unit moves between all stages of the process without any breaks in time. Here flow of products or units takes place continuously.
Advantages of continuous flow are
- Saves time and energy
- Helps you to save money by reducing inventory and transportation costs
- Improves the quality of the product by identifying the fault easily
- Increases productivity
- Meets customer needs effectively compared to batch process
What is the difference between Batch flow and continuous flow?
The above image shows the time consumption in both batch processes and continuous processes. Time taken for the first product in the batch process is 21 mins. To produce one batch of 10 products, it takes 30 mins.
Time taken for the first product in the continuous process is 3 mins. Hence to produce 10 products takes 12 mins.
Following are the major differences between batch flow and continuous flow.
- Equipment cost is high in continuous and it is low in a batch process.
- In the batch process, it is difficult to maintain a good quality of products because defects are not identified until the whole batch is completed. Whereas in a continuous process, it is easy to find the defect in the product because in this process a single product moves between each stage of the process.
- Production rate is less in continuous flow, but it is high in the batch flow process.
- Shut down happens more frequently in a batch process, whereas in a continuous process, it is rare.
- It is very easy to handle the batch process. But handling is difficult in continuous flow.
- Continuous flow requires a large workplace, whereas the batch flow process requires a small workplace.
Some industries need batch flow like pharma industries, food industries, some sensitive and rare metal industries.
Some industries need continuous flow, like mining industries and material processing industries.
Get more definitions about Batch flow and other ERP-related terms here.