In order to fully develop and understand the meaning of the word factory that we are dealing with now, we must first underline its etymological origin. Specifically, this is found in Latin and more exactly in the term facere which could be translated as “to do.”
A factory it’s a space that has the infrastructure and the devices that are required to produce certain goods or transform an energy source. The verb manufacture, for its part, refers to get serial products.
Manufacturing usually involves a transformation of one or more raw materials to create a product that can be marketed or used. This processing can be done through machines or through manual work; in the latter case, there is talk of Hand-made.
At a general level, manufacturing always involves the mass and serial production (many standardized copies of the same product are manufactured) and the use of a production line (which allows to achieve great efficiency).
In this sense, we have to make it clear that in a factory raw materials can be transformed into products in two clearly differentiated ways. Thus, on the one hand, we would have the aforementioned serial production, which is one through which a high number of exactly identical copies of a product in question is achieved.
And on the other hand, there would be the so-called chain production, which is one by which a certain product is obtained in a fast and cheap way where the workers of said factory are assigned each a specific and repetitive task that is complementary to that of the rest of his companions.
This last type of production, which was a true revolution in the industrial field proposed and developed by Frederick Taylor and Henry Ford respectively, can be thoroughly known through one of the classic films in the history of cinema. We are referring to Modern times.
It was in 1936 that this feature film was released, directed by and starring Charles Chaplin. An hour and a half is the time that this production lasts in which you can perfectly appreciate how chain production works, what it meant for the industrial field and what consequences it brought with it for the worker himself.
The traditional meaning of the term associates factories with physical places (buildings) where you work with raw materials. For example: in a hosiery factory, there will be various machines that make it possible to transform cotton into the fabric necessary to develop the hosiery. It is possible that, to produce a stocking, more than one factory is involved (one for weaving and one for dyeing).
The new economy, however, has extended the use of the concept to virtual places where ideas or intellectual product become services. In this way, one can speak of a factory of software to refer to an office where a group of people is dedicated to programming tasks. It does not matter that a physical product does not come out of this factory (such as a DVD), but that manufacturing is the human task of developing the systems.