Another consideration is that products and services often go through life cycles that beginwith low volume, which increases as products or services become better known.These process types are found in a wide range of manufacturing and service settings.
Theideal is to have process capabilities match product or service requirements. Failure to do socan result in inefficiencies and higher costs than are necessary, perhaps creating a competitivedisadvantage. Table 6.1 provides a brief description of each process type along with advantagesand disadvantages of each.
Figure 6.2 provides an overview of these four process types in the form of a matrix, withan example for each process type. Note that job variety, process flexibility, and unit cost arehighest for a job shop and get progressively lower moving from job shop to continuous processing.Conversely, volume of output is lowest for a job shop and gets progressively highermoving from job shop to continuous processing. Note, too, that the examples fall along thediagonal. The implication is that the diagonal represents the ideal choice of processing systemfor a given set of circumstances.
For example, if the goal is to be able to process a smallvolume of jobs that will involve high variety, job shop processing is most appropriate. For lessvariety and a higher volume, a batch system would be most appropriate, and so on. Note thatcombinations far from the diagonal would not even be considered, such as using a job shopfor high-volume, low-variety jobs, or continuous processing for low-volume, high-varietyjobs, because that would result in either higher than necessary costs or lost opportunities.