What is a lot size?
The batch size refers to the quantity of products or parts that are produced directly one after the other without an interruption in production, e.g. 5,000 screws. Each changeover of the machines thus causes set-up costs and times, since production cannot take place during the changeover. For this reason, it would make sense to produce relatively large batches. However, this results in high inventories that have to be stored until they are delivered and entail storage costs.
Determination of the optimal batch size
At this point, lot-size planning is used to determine the optimal lot size. The determination of this key figure is of crucial importance in companies. It determines the ideal manufacturing quantity at which capacity is utilized, lead time is optimized, and production costs are minimized. Various models exist in theory, such as the Wagner-Within method or Andler's lot-sizing formula. In practice, however, these models can only be used to a limited extent, as they often do not correspond to real-life conditions.
Trend towards batch size 1
In the age of Industry 4.0, the trend is toward batch size 1 - custom manufacturing. With the support of modern manufacturing processes, individual productions can now also be realized at the cost of series production. In make-to-order production, data processing is an important means of transparently displaying the production processes, checking which production status a part is currently in and when it is needed in the further production process. The integration of a warehouse management system can be an important step, as all IT systems must ensure seamless communication along the value chain and exchange data in real time.