Continuous flow also referred to as single-piece flow, is an alternative to batch production. As the name suggests, continuous flow moves a single product into stages of the manufacturing process instead of producing items in batches. This approach requires sequential product flow in one production line.
In batch production, materials are grouped in lots and moved to the next operation where they usually in the queue waiting to be processed until the downstream operation is ready. Batch production builds work-in-process that could have been eliminated using a continuous flow method. Single piece flow allows you to carry no work-in-process inventory, save costs, and time.
Table 6. Comparison between continuous and batch production.