mass production

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mass production:

see productionproduction,
in economics, all those activities that have to do with the creation of commodities, by imparting to raw materials utility, added value, or the ability to satisfy human wants.
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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

mass production

the production of long runs of standardized products for a mass market. This so-called ‘Fordist’ form of production was associated with a well-developed division of labour and a tendency to routinization of the LABOUR PROCESS. Subsequently, under post-Fordism, with the introduction of computer technology and more flexible production systems, mass production is disappearing (see FORDISM AND POST-FORDISM, FLEXIBLE PRODUCTION).
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Mass Production


a form of the organization of production, characterized by a limited assortment of uniform products manufactured in great quantities.

Mass production represents the highest form of production specialization, allowing the enterprise to concentrate on the output of one or several articles or components of standard dimensions. Mass production is characteristic of many sectors of industry: machine building (tools, fasteners, bearings), instruments (watches), light industry (shoes, haberdashery), and the food industry (canned food). Mass production can be organized within workshops or sections of workshops or in the enterprise as a whole. As a rule, with mass production, production can be significantly increased while maintaining or improving quality. Labor productivity rises because special equipment and production tooling is used and because the time needed for the preparatory and final operations is minimized; the cost price is lowered, and profitability is increased.

Mass production requires changes in the production process itself and the methods of its implementation, as well as in the specialization of work areas and their arrangement in terms of the order of operations performed. In the majority of cases, the technological process is progressive and relatively unchanging. The workers’ skills in the area of a narrow specialization must be very high. The technical operations in mass production are synchronized, and the movement of the objects of labor from one work area to another is continuous, often via mechanized means of transport (conveyors). Thus, a minimal duration of the production cycle is achieved, with a maximum turnover speed. With mass production, various articles are manufactured simultaneously and, as a rule, without interruption. This flexibility is made possible by maximum standardization of the assemblies and the components in the designing process.

With mass production, the amount of work assigned to a work area and the mechanization of accounting and control are increased. Production is subject to continuous remote control dispatching, and an automatic system of enterprise control has been introduced.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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