Last edited 06 Nov 2018



A manufacturer is an organisation or business that produces goods to sell them to a customer. Manufacturers transform raw materials, components, assemblies, and so on, into finished products, often involving processes organised into a production line.

Manufactured products are commonly made on a large scale before being distributed to customers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers and so on.

Manufacturing operations tend to utilise one of the following types of production:

  • Make-to-stock (MTS): Goods are produced by predicting the market and producing regardless of orders being received. There is the risk that producing too much will result in needing to sell any surplus at a loss, whereas producing too little will result in not selling enough to maximise profit or even cover operating costs.
  • Make-to-order (MTO): Goods are produced when orders are received, making it easier to control inventory. However, this can result in longer waiting times for clients, and a steady stream of orders is required otherwise production will stop.
  • Make-to-assemble (MTA): Component parts are produced in anticipation of orders for assembly. This means the manufacturer is ready to fulfil orders, but can result in a backlog of parts that are waiting to be used if demand is slower than anticipated.

Testing and certification can be used to verify quality.

Manufacturers must adhere to certain standards and regulations when producing their goods. For example, the Eco-Design for Energy-Related Products Regulations 2010 requires manufacturers to achieve minimum standards for the amount of energy regulated products consume. A declaration of conformity must be drawn up by the manufacturer or importer and the CE mark applied.

In the construction industry, manufacturers are often referred to as suppliers. For more information see: Suppliers.

Designing Buildings Wiki has a range of articles relating to manufacturing, including:

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