Discrete Manufacturing

Discrete manufacturing is the production of distinct products that can be counted, touched, seen, and differentiated. The parts can be recognized by serial numbers or labeling products and they are assessable as numerical quantities rather than by weight or volume. Some examples would be toys, electronics, and automobiles. All of the parts and components from these products can be broken down and even recycled.

Man posing with bicycle

Examples of Discrete Manufacturing

Smartphones – A smartphone is assembled out of various electronic parts, such as a printed circuit board, a battery, computer chip, phone casing, screen, etc. Plastic, glass, and various kinds of metals are used to create these components. With how often new smartphone models come out, many of the parts can still be used.

Automobiles – The automobile industry is credited with inventing the assembly line in manufacturing. It would be impossible to create identical products manually with thousands of metal, plastic, and electronic parts on such a large scale and at an affordable price without the help of an assembly line. Manufacturers, such as Honda, use interchangeable parts in most of their vehicle models, which makes the whole manufacturing process that much more streamlined and efficient. This is an advantage of discrete manufacturing.

Challenges of Discrete Manufacturing

Inventory management can be more complex as both the parts and the finished products need to be accounted for. Obviously the ingredients also need to be accounted for in process manufacturing, but there will never be interchangeable parts switched or replaced, so this layer of inventory management is avoided. Discrete manufacturing also has more interruptions in the process, as opposed to a single production run in process manufacturing.

How Does Fishbowl Manufacturing Simplify Discrete Manufacturing?

Fishbowl Manufacturing is a business automation platform that makes it possible to handle discrete manufacturing. There are many features the software has that allow it to do this, and we’ll cover a number of them in this article.

Bill of Materials

Bills of materials are easily created, stored, and replicated in Fishbowl Manufacturing, which really speeds up the manufacturing process.

Production Stages

You can create multilevel work orders that utilize production stages in FBM. It’s helpful to see what production stage each manufacturing job has reached because that can help you see if everything is on schedule and make adjustments when something falls behind.

Inventory Management

This is the core of Fishbowl Manufacturing’s functionality: Managing inventory at all stages of the supply chain and keeping the data and reporting centralized and accessible.

Part Tracking

Fishbowl Manufacturing tracks each part's quantity and status on a per-location basis.


Multi-currency conversions are available in Fishbowl Manufacturing. These allow you to create and receive sales orders and purchase orders in any currency and then convert them into your home currency for accurate accounting and tax records.

Time and Labor

Use Fishbowl’s cloud based tool (Fishbowl Time) to track employee hours, overtime, vacation time, payroll, tax status, etc. This lets you accurately track labor costs for work orders on projects.


Discrete manufacturing is the process of manufacturing goods that are distinct from one another, such as electronic devices, vehicles, and games. Fishbowl Manufacturing helps simplify discrete manufacturing by offering the following features:

  • Bill of materials
  • Production stages
  • Inventory management
  • Part tracking
  • Multi-currency
  • Time and labor

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