Difference between continuous loss and discrete loss


Realistically, units are lost in a production process at a specific point. However, accounting for lost units requires that the loss be specified as being either continuous or discrete. For example, the weight loss in roasting coffee beans and the relatively continual breakage of fragile glass ornaments can be considered continuous losses because they occur fairly uniformly throughout the production

In contrast, a discrete loss is assumed to occur at a specific point. Examples of discrete losses include adding the wrong amount of vinegar to a recipe for salad dressing or attaching a part to a motor upside down. The units are only deemed lost and unacceptable when a quality check is performed. Therefore, regardless of where in the process the units were truly “lost,” the loss point is always deemed to be an inspection point.

Thus, units that have passed an inspection point should be good units (relative to the specific characteristics inspected), whereas units that have not yet passed an inspection point may be good or may be defective/spoiled. Control points can be either built into the system or performed by inspectors.
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