Discrete vs Process Manufacturing Defined – How Do They Differ


What are you? A discrete manufacturer or a process manufacturer? Not sure? You are not alone as it is not uncommon for our manufacturing prospects to be unfamiliar with the terms. In this blog discrete vs process manufacturing will be defined so you can clearly differentiate from discrete vs process manufacturing.

Both discrete manufacturing and process manufacturing can be driven by processes such as repetitive or make-to-order manufacturing. The differentiators between the two types of manufacturing lie in the types of products that are produced. Below is a small sampling of manufacturing items produced by discrete vs process manufacturing:


The above infographic on discrete vs process manufacturing shows two very distinct types of products that can be produced in a manufacturing environment. Your business is either going to manufacturer products that are assembly based or formula based.

In the simplest of definitions, if the products you manufacture involve assembling components, think automobiles and furniture, then you are a discrete manufacturer.

If your manufacturing a product that requires formulas, such as shampoo or pharmaceuticals, then you are a process manufacturer.

Discrete manufactures assemble product using a Bill of Materials (BOM). For example, an automobile would require a BOM listing all the required components from a timing belt to the driver’s seat. Discarded or rejected materials are referred to as ‘scrap material’ and reprocessed. Scrap material can come in the form of overage from an assembly, or parts being outside of the required tolerances that need to be reworked or recycled.

Formula based manufacturing, based on batch processing or continuous processing, uses recipes that need to be mixed or blended. The quantities produced can vary slightly between batches. The residual produced during process manufacturing is referred to as its ‘by-product’. By-products can be recycled, sold or repurposed.

Now with today’s blog on discrete vs process manufacturing defined, you should have a better understanding of the differences between the two and on your way to identifying the best ERP solution for your manufacturing business. Plus you will save yourself time by being able to hone in to the products that are designed specifically for the type of manufacturer you are: discrete or process.

If you would like more information on this subject, or have questions about Epicor Kinetic, please contact 2W Tech.

Back to IT News