Integral Logistics Management — Operations Management and Supply Chain Management Within and Across Companies

8.2.2 The Process Train — A Processor-Oriented Production Structure, and The Recipe

Intended learning outcomes: Describe a process train in chocolate production. Explain the formalized process train with stages and basic manufacturing steps. Identify the recipe.

In the process industries, the conventional production structure consisting of bills of material and routing sheets (see Sections 1.2.2 and 1.2.3) has been replaced today, as mentioned above. Close examination of the new structure in current use reveals it to be a more generalized form of the conventional bill of material and routing sheet concept. See also [TaBo00], p. 178 ff., [Loos95]; and [Sche95b].


Figure shows, as an example, a typical production structure in chocolate production.

Fig.        A process train, here in chocolate production.

The first stage of processing consists of rolling the raw material between rollers, conching[note 803], and filling. The resources consumed during rolling are the cocoa mass, the machines required, and power. This stage results in an intermediate product, in this case a chocolate mass that is subsequently used for further processing. The by-product is broken chocolate.

The second stage consists of the processes of producing the flavored mass, filling, and packa­ging. The primary product is the packed, semifinished, flavored product (again a cho­colate mass). By-products such as broken chocolate and energy (heat, steam) are also produced. In addition to the material used, the consumed resources include capacity and equipment.

Figure represents the process train concept in a formalized way. This structure is the basic concept behind the data management of both master data objects and order objects in the process industries.

Fig.        Process train (formalized) with stages and basic manufacturing steps.

A process train is a representation of the flow of materials through a process industry manufacturing system that shows equipment and inventories ([APIC16]). 

The term process unit stands for the (production) equipment that performs a basic manufacturing step, or operation, such as mixing or packaging.

Resources such as incoming and outgoing items, capacity, and production equipment are allocated to the basic manufacturing steps.

A process stage is a combination of (generally successive) process units.

In Figure, several (generally successive) stages are combined into process trains. In­ventories in intermediate stores decouple the scheduling of sequential stages within a process train. However, if there is an intermediate product between two successive manu­facturing steps of a stage, it is “only” a flow resource, which cannot nor should not be stored.

Processor-oriented production structure and production model are other terms used for process train. 

Recipe or formula is the term commonly used to describe the content of a processor-oriented production structure[note 804]. 

A processor-oriented order structure is a processor-oriented production structure associated with a specific (production) order, in which quantities and dates are specified.

The process train thus defined can be regarded as an extension of the production structure underlying the process plan shown in Figure, but without showing the individual time periods that make up the lead time along the time axis.

As is every production structure, a process train may be the object of cost estimating. The corresponding processor-oriented order structure will then be the object of job-order costing. One special feature of such a calculation is that the costs incurred are distributed among the various resources produced, that is, primary and by-products. In the simplest case, this involves allocating a predetermined percentage to each resource produced by the production structure.

Example: Process train in chocolate production
The following animation illustrates the process of manufacturing chocolate. The entire process is divided into three stages, each separated by a storage step. This allows the schedules to be set up individually for each stage and permits the selection of technologically and economically appropriate processing volumes for the individual stages.
(Sincere thanks go to Chocosuisse - - for providing both comprehensive information and photographs).

Course section 8.2: Subsections and their intended learning outcomes