/ ˈmæs prəˈdəkʃn̩ /
Manufacture of goods on a large scale, a technique that aims for low unit cost and high output. In factories mass production is achieved by a variety of means, such as division and specialization of labor and mechanization. These speed up production and allow the manufacture of near-identical, interchangeable parts. Such parts can then be assembled quickly into a finished product on an assembly line.
Division of labor means that a job is divided into a number of steps, and then groups of workers are employed to carry each step out, specializing and therefore doing the job in a routine way, producing more than if each individually had to carry out all the stages of manufacture. However, the system has been criticized for neglecting the skills of workers and removing their involvement with the end product.
Many of the machines now used in factories are robots (for example, on car-assembly lines): they work automatically under computer control. Such automation further streamlines production and raises output.