Design & Technology
The competitive nature of the manufacturing industry means that companies are constantly looking for ways to increase the efficiency and productivity [productivity: The amount of output achieved for every unit of input used. A productive manufacturing system will produce consistently high quality products with the minimum of wasted time, money or effort. ] of their systems.
Three of the most important ways companies can achieve this are by using standard components, modular systems, and different production methods.
It is common practice in modern manufacturing for the production of the components that make up a product to be outsourced [outsourced: Contracted out to another manufacturer/provider - usually because this is cheaper than keeping the job inhouse. ] to other companies.
For example, modern headlights for cars are usually built as a whole unit, rather than an individual lens and reflector. The light shown in the picture could easily be built in France and shipped to the UK to be assembled into a vehicle.
The advantage with using standard components is that it speeds up manufacturing and reduces manufacturing and maintenance costs, as the same units can be purchased and used all around the world.
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