Discrete vs Process Manufacturing: What Are the Differences?

There are almost 700,000 manufacturing businesses in the US as of today. That’s a lot of products being made in many factories. And, as consumer demand for more products increases, so does industrial production.

To keep up with demand, manufacturing has to be as efficient and quick as possible. Process manufacturing is one of the ways companies keep up with consumer demand. There’s also discrete manufacturing.

But what is the difference between discrete vs. process manufacturing? Why is it important to know this, and how can you apply it to your business?

You’ve come to the right place. This article will walk you through the differences and help you understand the terms better.

What is Discrete Manufacturing?

In discrete manufacturing, workers create individual products one at a time. The process is used for items in small quantities, such as prototypes or custom products.

Products are made according to specific instructions, and no two products are identical. This type of manufacturing is often used for items that need a high level of precision. These include electronic components or medical devices.

What is Process Manufacturing?

Process manufacturing creates products in large quantities. This type of manufacturing is often used for products, such as food or beverages.

Process manufacturing uses assembly line techniques to produce products quickly and efficiently. But, businesses can also use this type of manufacturing to create custom products.

The Differences: Discrete vs. Process Manufacturing


In discrete manufacturing, you make products one at a time. Meanwhile, in process manufacturing, you make products in batches. This difference can impact the cost and quality of the products. It also affects the efficiency of the manufacturing process.

Type of Products

You can use discrete manufacturing for products made to order, like custom or niche items. The good thing about this way of making things is that it allows for much customization. But, it can be expensive and take a long time to finish.

Process manufacturing is often used to make things in large quantities. On the downside, products made this way are often less customizable. You might not be able to meet each customer’s needs.


The main difference between these two types of manufacturing is how labor is used. In discrete manufacturing, work is used to assemble finished products from individual components.

In contrast, labor is used to operate continuous production processes in process manufacturing. As a result, process manufacturing is generally more capital-intensive than discrete manufacturing.

In value-added distribution, discrete manufacturing involves a higher degree as each item is made to order. On the other hand, process manufacturing involves lower value added distribution, as the items are mass-produced.

Which One Will You Choose?

There are pros and cons to both discrete vs. process manufacturing. Discrete manufacturing is more efficient and less expensive. But process manufacturing offers flexibility and can be customized to meet specific needs.

So, which is better for your business? It depends on your needs.

Process manufacturing may be the way to go if you need a high degree of flexibility. But if efficiency and cost are your primary concerns, discrete manufacturing is the better choice.

Are you looking for more guides and tips for your business? Then, check out our website.

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