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Manufacturing refers to the making of goods or wares, either through manual labor or by machinery, and it generally refers to large-scale operations. Some companies refer to what they do as fabrication. Production is the process of combining plans and skill in order to make something to be sold to a customer, for the purpose of economic well-being. Early manufacturing was often done by a single artisan, with the assistance of apprentices. Prior to the Industrial Revolution in the United States, most manufacturing took place in rural areas, and was undertaken by people whose chief means of support was agriculture. Depending on the product being manufactured and the resources available, the manufacturing process might involve the use of labor, tools, machinery or even chemical and biological processing. While the term can be applied to activities that involve little but human activities, such as handicraft or high-tech, it is most often used to refer to industrial production or the large-scale transformation of raw materials into finished products that may be sold to wholesalers, who may sell them to retailers, who in turn sell them to consumers at a profit, or to other manufacturers, who may use them to produce more complex products, such as aircraft, household appliances, furniture or automobiles. For example, a paper bag manufacturing company might produce grocery or shopping bags on machines that are manufactured by other companies using parts manufactured by any number of other companies, using paper that was produced by a paper mill. All of these companies are manufacturers. The process that transforms raw materials into a final product is known as the manufacturing process. The process begins with product design and materials specifications. Large manufacturing companies include Mitsui, IBM, Volkswagen, Samsung, Daimler, General Electric, Exor, General Motors, Ford, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, and Nissan. Manufacturing is one of the two main parts of an economy, the other being consumption. In its simplest form, a healthy economy includes both producers and consumers. Of course, a consumer can be both a customer of one producer and a supplier to another. As in the above example, a paper bag manufacturing plant is a consumer of paper produced by a paper mill, and a supplier of paper bags to those using paper bags.

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