Scales of production

There are four terms used to describe the scale of production in relation to a product:

Prototypes and one-off production

Bespoke, made-to-measure garments can be made for a client, such as wedding dresses or couture outfits. These will be original garments and can be produced to a very high quality; however, they can be very expensive to make and highly skilled workers will be needed.

Batch production

Batch production is where many items of the same product are produced, such as swimwear and fashionwear. A range of specific and identical products can be produced, including fashion and seasonal items which are regularly changed, but time is lost when retooling and skilled workers are needed. When a product is made in a batch, it is often far cheaper per product than making just one.

Example

Assume the cost of 1 m2 of fabric costs £6.00, and it takes 100 mm × 200 mm of fabric to make one pocket.

Therefore, one pocket not made as part of a batch = £6.00

However, a producer could work out the number of pockets that could be cut out from a 1 m2 of fabric.

1,000 mm ÷ 100mm = 10

1,000 m ÷ 200 mm = 50

10 × 5 = 50

Therefore, 50 pockets could be cut from the fabric.

Batch of 50 pockets = 6 ÷ 50

= 0.12

One pocket = 12p (in batch)

Question

A budget of 8p per pocket has been put aside to make a small sleeve pocket on batch-produced shirts. Each pocket needs to be made from a single piece of fabric that is 100 mm2. The fabric costs £7.00 per square metre.

Can the pockets be made from this fabric? If so, how many and how much money would be left in the project budget?

Yes, the pockets can be made from material of this price.

The material costs £7.00 for a piece that is 1,000 mm2 and each pocket is 100 mm2.

1,000 ÷ 100 = 10

As the pockets are square:

10 × 10 = 100

100 pockets can be made from the piece of fabric.

Since the budget allocated for each pocket was 8p each:

£7.00 ÷ 100 = 7p per pocket

8p × 100 = £8.00

£8.00 - £7.00 = £1.00

There is £1.00 left from the allocated amount.

Mass production

Mass-produced products are manufactured in large volumes, and are often made by automated machinery with assembly line workers used to fit parts together or to add standard components, such as buttons or zips. Examples of mass production for textiles are plain T-shirts, school shirts and socks, with products kept low cost as large amounts are made and bulk materials are cheaper to buy. There is, however, a large cost in setting up such an assembly line.

Continuous production

Continuous production takes place 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and, in some cases, 365 days a year. It can produce huge volumes of a product at a low cost, such as tights, but as with mass production it is expensive to set up and is limited to a small range of products.