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What is Craft production?

Published: 12 Apr 2009 22:26:43 PST

Craft production (or One-off Production) is the process of manufacturing by hand with or without the aid of tools. The term Craft production refers to a manufacturing technique applied in the hobbies of Handicraft but was also the common method of manufacture in the pre-industrialized world. For example, the production of pottery uses methods of craft production.

A side effect of the craft manufacturing process is that the final product is unique. While the product may be of extremely high quality, the uniqueness can be detrimental as seen in the case of early automobiles.

Womak, Jones and Roos in the book The Machine That Changed the World detailed that early automobiles were craft produced. Because each vehicle was unique, replacement parts had to be manufactured from scratch or at least customized to fit a specific vehicle. The advent of Mass production and the standardization of replacement parts guaranteed a parts' compatibility with a variety of vehicle models.

Mass production has many drawbacks to craft production including that production quality can be lower than a craft produced item. For example, in some mass production automobile manufacturing facilities, craftsmen rework flawed, mass produced vehicles to give the appearance of a quality product.

Lean manufacturing aims to bring back or exceed the quality of craft production and remedy the inefficiency of mass production through the elimination of waste.

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