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Mass Production: Definition, Techniques & Examples

Mass Production: Definition, Techniques & Examples
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  • 0:00 What Is Mass Production?
  • 1:42 The American System
  • 2:32 Principles of Mass Production
  • 2:52 Henry Ford and rhe Model T
  • 3:45 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kimberly Winston
Thousands of companies use mass production every day to get their products onto store shelves. Learn the definition of mass production and go over some techniques and examples.

What Is Mass Production?

Take a second to look around your home. What do you see? Furniture? Books? Boxes of food? No matter what your eyes fall on, it's more than likely that several things in your home have been mass produced.

Mass production is a method of production that uses a standardized process of creating interchangeable parts in large quantities for a low price. In other words, a standard process for making products is repeated so each time the product is finished it is exactly the same as all the other parts. The parts are then said to be interchangeable. Whether you use the first part created or the millionth part, they should be exactly the same, with no variation in the outcome.

Mass production decreases the amount of time that workers spend on each individual product. This can allow manufacturers to lower the cost per unit--if the production of each unit is cheaper, its price can be as well. With mass production, manufacturers are also able to increase the amount of units produced and are able to control product quality because the process of producing the good does not vary.

To recap, benefits of mass production include:

  • Lower cost per unit
  • Decreased time producing products
  • Increased output
  • Quality control

In this age of mass consumption, many products that we use on a daily basis are mass produced. It could be anything from the furniture you are sitting on to the toys you played with as a kid. The mass production of goods depends on the mass consumption of goods. As the number of consumers and their need for goods increases, it becomes necessary to adopt practices that increase production.

The American System

Products were not always mass produced. The process of mass production was originally used for the production of weapons. It was not until the early part of the 19th century that the concept was adopted by industry.

In 1795, the Springfield Armory was established. It mass produced arms for the United States military. Colonel Roswell Lee took over as superintendent of the armory in 1815. When Colonel Lee took over, he made changes in the process that increased efficiency. Colonel Lee clearly defined specific responsibilities for workers and created a division of labor. He created a system to measure and control quality. Machine precision was also improved during this time. The techniques that Colonel Lee used were later applied to industry. This became known as the American system.

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