a form of organization of production wherein an enterprise simultaneously manufactures a broad assortment of products of the same kind and the production process is repeated over a long period of time. Lot production is used most widely in machine building and metalworking. (In Russian, lots of complex articles are called serii, and lots of parts, or components, are partii.) The manufacture of lots of products having the same standard dimensions is usually repeated at regular intervals. After one or more lots have been produced, changes are often made before the production of a new lot begins: the design may be altered, modifications may be made in the production process, or work stations may be rearranged and workers’ skills improved. Lot production permits standardization of the design of parts and articles and makes possible the reduction of production processes and equipment to a few common types.
Depending on the quantity of products in the lot, a distinction is made between large-lot, medium-lot, and small-lot production.
In large-lot production, the product is manufactured continuously, in large quantities, for a period that is generally longer than a year. The enterprise specializes in the production of thoroughly mastered articles or of individual subassemblies or parts. Each shop of the enterprise specializes in the production of a particular item. Each work station specializes in a particular operation. This method of production makes extensive use of specialized machinery, production lines, and such means of automation as conveyers and feeders. Large-lot production permits the organization of preparatory operations on a scientific basis; such operations are assigned to a separate stage. The group of preparatory operations includes the design of the article and its parts, the development of new production processes, and the manufacture of tools and accessories. Large-lot production is similar in character to mass production.
In medium-lot production, specialization is limited by the manufacture of a smaller assortment of products. Production lines and shops are specialized with respect to the products manufactured and the production processes used. Preproduc-tion preparation is generally separate from the basic manufacturing process. Medium-lot production is characteristic of, for example, the building of machine tools and motors and the manufacture of many types of rolled ferrous and nonferrous metal products.
Small-lot production is a transitional form between unit production and the manufacture of products in moderate-sized lots. The manufacture of articles or individual parts generally occurs once and is not repeated. The sizes of the lots vary. The scale of the product is limited to existing orders or contracts. For this reason, the manufacture of a particular product ends comparatively quickly, and a new product is then introduced into manufacture. Small-lot production is used, for example, in the manufacture of some special-purpose alloys and rolled products and in the manufacture of small lots of articles or machines intended for experimentation under various conditions. Small-lot production differs from experimental production, which is generally limited to the manufacture of a single sample.
Because of its technical and organizational characteristics, lot production has a number of economic advantages over unit production: the production is shortened, product quality is improved, labor productivity is raised, and costs are lowered. These advantages result in increased efficiency of social production.
V. A. NOVAK