When you enter the manufacturing industry, it’s important to know the terminology. This isn’t just so you can sound smarter. To be successful in any career, you need to know the lingo. If you don’t know what an assembly line or Bill of Materials are, you can’t do your job properly. Here are some manufacturing industry terms to know to be successful in your career.

Assembly Line

An assembly line is an arrangement of workers and machines in a factory. Each worker deals with only one part of a product, then passes it down to the next worker who adds an additional part. This process continues down the line until the product is finished.

Assembly lines are extremely common in the manufacturing industry and have been for centuries. In fact, it’s what many first picture when you imagine a factory. They speed up production by having workers only focus on one part of the product. This has proven to be faster than one person of trying to assemble the whole thing themselves.


A subassembly is a unit assembled separately but designed to be incorporated with other units into a larger manufactured product. A good example of this is with assembling a lawnmower. The engine is built on its own assembly line from the body. The separately-built components are then put together to create the finished lawnmower.

Bill of Materials

The Bill of Materials (BOM) serves as a complete list of all the materials and parts a manufacturer needs to create a specific product. For it to be fully effective, the BOM needs to include the precise quantities of the raw materials as well as any subassemblies and subcomponents.


Automation is the control system that operates a process. It’s a system with minimal or reduced human interaction. Automation is one of the key aspects of robotics and can be used to avoid human error or injury in the manufacturing industry.

3D printing camera

Change Request

A change request is a formal, written proposal to modify a product, process, or system. It explains a problem and suggests a solution to remedy that problem. This way all parties involved in the creation of the product are informed and can collaborate on how to solve the problem.

Field Failure Request

A Field Failure Request (FFR) is a change request that describes a problem with a product that has been observed in the field. This means that a buyer has purchased the product and noticed an issue while in use. By documenting field failure requests, manufacturers can make changes to the design or manufacturing process to avoid similar issues from occurring.

Product Recall

A product recall is a request companies can put out for distributed products to be returned to the manufacturer. This is usually over safety concerns, design defects, or labeling errors. Most of the time companies recall products when defects appear to have safety concerns for customers and/or affect a large number of customers.

These are just a few manufacturing industry terms you should know. There are many more to come, but just a few new vocabulary words can be a major help in navigating your new career