S-Cool Revision Summary

S-Cool Revision Summary

Batch production

This method of production involves the manufacture of an item being divided into a number of small tasks. A collection (or 'batch') of items each have one of these tasks completed, and then the batch moves onto the next manufacturing task. 

Capital intensive

This means that the manufacture of an item relies heavily on machinery (e.g. computer-operated robotic systems) rather than on labour. Industries which are capital-intensive include car manufacturing and oil extraction.

Cell production

This method of manufacturing an item organises workers into 'cells' within the factory, with each cell comprising several workers who each possess different skills. Each cell is independent of the other cells and will usually produce a complete item.

Critical activity

This is an activity which is on the critical path. If this activity is delayed, then the project will not be able to be completed on time.

Critical path

These are the activities that must be completed in as little time as possible, in order that the duration of the project can be minimised. The critical path can be found by identifying the activities that have no float time. These activities must be closely supervised, since any delay will delay the completion of the project.

Critical path analysis

This is a way of showing how a lengthy and complex project (e.g. a building project) can be completed in the shortest possible time. The project is broken down into a number of separate activities, and each activity is then placed in the correct sequence, so to minimise the duration of the project.

Diseconomies of scale

This refers to a situation where a business becomes inefficient in its production methods and the long-run average cost (i.e. the cost per unit) starts to rise.

Division of labour

This means breaking down the production of an item into many small, repetitive tasks, with each task then being completed quickly by a single worker (or by a small group of workers). As each worker is specialising in just one small task, then he/she should become very efficient and his/her productivity level should rise.

Economies of scale

This refers to a situation where a business becomes more efficient in its production methods and the long-run average cost (i.e. the cost of making each unit) starts to fall.

Float time

This refers to the amount of spare time that is available to complete an activity in a project which is using critical path analysis.

Flow production

This method of production involves the tasks which were identified in 'batch' production becoming continuous for each unit, often with the use of a moving conveyor belt (e.g. a car assembly line). Each unit is produced individually, instead of being produced in batches. This type of production is usually undertaken by large businesses.

Industrial inertia

This term is used to describe the situation when a business or an industry decides to remain in its original location and is very reluctant to relocate, even after the reasons for it locating there in the first place are exhausted. 

Industrial location

This is the decision that a business or an industry makes concerning its geographical placing in a country. There are many factors which affect the decision of where to locate in a country, including the proximity to the market, the proximity to suppliers, the cost of land and the availability and cost of labour.

International competitiveness

This term refers to the ability of a business to compete effectively with foreign competitors in a particular industry, based on factors such as price, quality, and lead times.

Job production

This method of production involves an item being manufactured entirely by one worker or by a group of workers. The items are often made to customer requirements, rather than being mass produced. This type of production is usually undertaken by small businesses. 


This is a measurement of the level of efficiency of a business. It measures the relationship between the level of inputs and the output of a business. The most common measure is labour productivity (output per worker).

Research and development (R and D)

This means carrying out extensive research about how a product can be designed, manufactured, packaged, etc, and then developing a prototype of the product which can then be test-marketed. If the test-market is successful, then the product is likely to be launched nationally.


This refers to the division of a large project into a number of small tasks, enabling individual workers to develop particular skills (specialise) in one or two of these tasks. Both Frederick Taylor and Henry Ford were advocates of the division of labour, enabling the mass production of items at a low average cost.