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Few business owners know everything about every area of their business. That’s why you have staff, of course; to help provide the expertise that you lack for yourself.

However, if there are areas where you have huge gaps of knowledge, then this can be problematic– even if you hire staff to take on the heavy lifting. As an entrepreneur, you are the manager, the supervisor, and the overseer of the entire process of your business. You need to be able to read reports and understand what your staff are saying in those reports.

One of the primary areas where knowledge is particularly necessary is in product manufacturing. The making of your product is what your entire business is built around; if there’s a problem, you need to be able to speak the lingua franca that will allow you to understand and resolve the issue. In an effort to try and assist in this department, here’s a simple, entry-level explanation of all of the niche terms involved in manufacturing– so you can be confident you’re always up to speed.


Advanced Manufacturing

A manufacturing process that relies on new, innovative techniques to produce products. For example, using 3D printing to produce components for a product would be classified as advanced manufacturing.


If at all possible, a situation you want to avoid. A bottleneck arises when the manufacturing process experiences delays in certain areas, meaning the rest of the project experiences a delay in productive time. The proper monitoring of each area of production is the key to preventing bottlenecks.

Discrete Manufacturing

Discrete manufacturing involves the production of distinct items; the manufacturing of an entire product, rather than component parts. Aeroplanes and toys are examples of discrete manufacturing; they are easily identified as separate, individual products. This is in comparison to, for example, natural gas; which is not easily identified as an entity when it is produced.

Lean Manufacturing

Lean manufacturing focuses on reducing wastage and produce a product in the shortest, most efficient time possible. It is a vital component of all modern businesses. If you are inexperienced in this area, then it’s well worth taking the time to investigate the possibility of undertaking a Masters in Lean Manufacturing online. These courses are relatively short, and can give you all the insight you need to improve your manufacturing process.


An acronym for “original equipment manufacturer”. Most of your suppliers of parts and components for your finished product would be considered an OEM.

Product-Development Cycle

The period encompassing the time a product is first designed through to the point where it is ready for sale. As you might expect, businesses want their product-development cycles to be as rapid as possible. This tends to require heavy investment and focus on research and development.

Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a process designed to allow entrepreneurs to control every phase of the development of a product, and thus reduce wastage and improve turnaround times. This video provides a useful primer on Six Sigma, and how it can benefit your business:

Total Quality Management

A focus on quality throughout the process of a product’s lifespan, ensuring the best result is always produced. Total Quality Management requires a company-wide focus on improving quality as a top priority.

Hopefully, the above will help you navigate the often-confusing world of manufacturing with a little more ease.

Websites by Masterhouse

Masterhouse Media is an innovative digital consulting agency from Vancouver, BC specializing in web development and mobile apps. Masterhouse is best known for launching the popular Internet portal in 1999, one of the first social media platforms on the Internet. The company is currently focused on building digital strategies and premium websites for clients. Find out more at