What is Discrete Manufacturing? (Definition and Processes)

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What is Discrete Manufacturing?

Discrete manufacturing is a process that produces products in individual, separate pieces. This type of manufacturing is often used to create unique shapes or sizes.

The products are usually made to order, so little waste is produced in the manufacturing process.

In this blog post, we’ll look at the definition of Discrete Manufacturing, the processes involved, and some of the advantages of this type of manufacturing.


Discrete manufacturing is a type of production process where the output can be counted and tracked as per unit numbers, and they are measured in terms of weight or volume.


For example, products like toys, automobiles, smartphones, and airplanes are made from discrete manufacturing.

A business must have good supporting software that helps in impeccable planning and execution.

The biggest challenge of this manufacturing process is that its production depends on the individual needs of its customers.

Discrete Manufacturing

During the production planning phase, the real-time data collected across plants and resources will help the managers analyze the firm’s current production status.

Due to the unexpected demand in this system, with complete details, the production team will be able to pull themselves up to meet the incredible demand and fulfill the orders accordingly.

It also must be quick enough to adapt to the current demand to implement a new course of action. Thus, flexibility is one of the critical factors of discrete manufacturing.

The business must also ensure equal measures to ensure its quality with minor defects.

ERP systems for discrete manufacturing

It is also vital that a firm chooses an ideal software for discrete manufacturing that will help in good inventory management so that the company doesn’t waste time getting stocks for unexpected demand.

It must also ensure that it doesn’t overstock the goods, making them obsolete and increasing expenses.

ERP systems are developed to manage discrete manufacturing processes. These ERP systems help the organization control the manufacturing process, reduce waste, save time required by the product manufacturing, and get a clear vision of the manufacturing process.

The other functionalities of the ERP systems include material management, supply chain management, financial management, and customer relationship management.

ERP vendors

Some good ERP vendors are Netsuite, Epicore, SAP, Infor, etc. ERP modules of these vendors are flexible and easily customizable to meet customers’ requirements.

Most of the ERP systems for discrete manufacturers run on-premises, but these systems also run in the cloud.


Types of Discrete Manufacturing Workflow

This process supports the following workflow.

1. Make to stock: In this type of workflow, you keep stock of products before customers order.

2. Make to order: You do not keep more product stock in your warehouse in this workflow. Instead, you manufacture the product only when a customer order comes in.

3. Assemble to order: This type of workflow lies between Make to stock and Make to order. Here you manufactured the components or parts before the customer ordered.

Once the customer order comes in immediately, you can assemble the final product.

Types of manufacturing process

Apart from discrete manufacturing, four more manufacturing methods are available. But, first, let us have a quick overview of other ways.

Repetitive manufacturing

Industries that produce the same items throughout the year use a redundant manufacturing method.

This method allows the industries to adjust the production speed as per the customer demand because its setup needs minimal changes to adjust the speed.

Job shop manufacturing

Industries that produce small batches of customized products follow this manufacturing method.

Unlike discrete manufacturing, it uses production areas. Here, work centers are arranged to make one or more versions of custom products.

Process manufacturing (continuous)

This method produces products by adding ingredients using formulas and different recipes.

For example, products like food, chemicals, pharmaceutical, soap, shampoo, glass, plastic, and beverages are produced from process manufacturing methods.

Batch manufacturing

This process includes both discrete manufacturing and process manufacturing.

For example, the glass ornament industry will use a manufacturing method to produce glass and a discrete manufacturing method to make ornaments.

Discrete manufacturing vs Process manufacturing

Discrete ManufacturingProcess Manufacturing
Products made from it can be broken down into their essential components, and these parts can also be recycled. But its products cannot be broken down into their basic component.
It uses a Bill of materialIt uses a formula or recipe for products.
Automobiles, computer hardware, smartphone, and defense industries use this.Food products, beverages, pharmaceuticals, refined oils, and paints use it.
Infographics on Technology Trends in Discrete Manufacturing

What are the products made by discrete manufacturing?

Examples of products made by it are toys, computer hardware, mobile handset, automobiles, etc.

What are the products made by process manufacturing?

Products made by process manufacturing are jam, juices, beverages, chemicals, medicines, oils, etc.


Discrete manufacturing is a production process involving making one product at a time. It is reasonable since requiring less capital investment than mass-producing goods in large batches.

In this blog post, we have described this manufacturing in more detail. Hoping this is useful for you!