3 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y

Machine Availability Rate

Machine Availability Rate is the percentage of time that production equipment is available for use, divided by the maximum time it would be available if there were no downtime for repair or unplanned maintenance.

Machine Tool

A Machine Tool is a specialist type of production equipment. It can cut, bend, drill, press, or stretch metal and other materials in a factory environment.

The earliest machine tools were controlled by hand – an operator used wheels and levers to control the position of the workpiece and the movement of the toolhead (which can be a cutter or other device). Modern machine tools are computer-controlled, and can take instructions about what dimensions or geometries are required from computer-aided design systems. This automation creates high accuracy levels and speed.

Machine Vision

Machine Vision uses technology similar to a cell-phone camera to gather images which are used by a computer system to achieve a vision-like function. The range of functions is constantly growing, and includes guidance for robotic or automated equipment; and visual inspection for quality control.

Maintenance Management System

A Maintenance Management Systems (MMS) is a software system for handling maintenance scheduling and maintenance work orders, as well as associated inventory, purchasing, accounting, and human-resources functions.

In some industries, particularly process-production manufacturers use MMS to optimize the use of capital-intensive equipment, by finding maintenance schedules which minimize disruption to production. Some MMS have their own financial and purchasing functions. In other cases, integration with ERP is used to provide these functions.

Maintenance Repair and Overhaul

Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services provide after-sale engineering support, replacement parts, and mid-life product upgrades. Companies may maintain MRO organizations for their own in-house equipment, and/or to offer maintenance services for equipment sold to customers. Computer systems known as MRO support these activities.

Make to Order

Make to Order (MTO), Build to Order (BTO), and Assemble to Order (ATO) describe slight variations on the same manufacturing concept – make a product after receiving a confirmed order. This is in contrast to the make-to-stock concept, in which production is scheduled to achieve target stock levels.

MTO/BTO/ATO is more common for products which are customized, but may also be important to reduce waste or handle fluctuating demand. In general, customer lead times are higher for MTO/BTO/ATO compared to make to stock.

Make to Stock

Make to Stock (MTS) production involves building finished product to a forecast. The forecast is based on historical sales and expected changes in demand. Finished products are stored in warehouse inventory, and can be shipped as soon as a customer order is received.

Manufacturing cost

Manufacturing costs are the costs of direct materials, plus the cost of employees directly involved in production, plus manufacturing overhead (such as depreciation of equipment, factory rent and utility bills, maintenance and repair costs, costs of supervisory staff).

For internal management accounts, production costs are usually all costs incurred in the manufacturing facilities, and are sometimes also called manufacturing costs.

US GAAP accounting rules require external financial statements to assign all manufacturing costs to units produced. The resulting unit costs are used for both inventory valuation, and to calculate the cost of goods sold.

Manufacturing Cycle Time

The manufacturing cycle time (Throughput Time) assumes an order exists for a product and measures the amount of time from the start of production until the product is shipped.

The cycle time includes actual time for production processing, inspection, material movement and queuing times. Only processing time adds value. The others are non value-add activities that can be reduced or eliminated in continuous improvement, Lean and Six Sigma programs.

Manufacturing Execution System

A Manufacturing Execution System (MES) is an information system which helps convert production plans for the whole plant into coordinated and tracked operations for each individual production process.

MES encompasses functions as planning and scheduling, production tracking and monitoring, equipment control, maintaining product histories (verifying and recording activities at each stage of production), and quality management.

The growing scope of MES is recognized in development of its name:

(1) to Manufacturing Enterprise System (quite rare),

(2) to MES/MOM, where the MOM refers to the whole scope of Manufacturing Operations Management (quite common).

Manufacturing Resources Planning

The first widely used production planning software had the same acronym but with a different meaning. The original MRP meant material requirements planning. This takes target dates for finished products, and works backwards to determine a production plan and raw material purchasing plan.

MRP II (spoken as “MRP-two”) extended MRP by handling at least financial and forecast data, and sometimes engineering and human resources.  MRP II translates forecasts into master production schedules; maintains bills of material (lists of product components); creates work orders for each step in the production routing; tracks inventory levels; coordinates materials purchases with production requirements; and generates reports.

The progression from MRP to MRP II continued, and the next generation gained the name ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning).

Market Capitalization

Market Capitalization is one measure of the value of a company. It is calculated by multiplying the current share price by the number of shares.

Market share

Market share is calculated as a company’s sales in a market segment expressed as a percentage of the total sales in that market segment. The easiest way to define a market segment is to list a company’s competitors, and use sales figures for these competitors to estimate the total sales into the market segment.

The choice and definition of the target market segment is key to obtaining meaningful market share figures. Investors monitor changes in market share, particularly in mature and stable market segments, as an indicator of a company’s competitiveness.

Master Production Schedule

A Master Production Schedule (MPS) is a plan which defines which products must be produced in a given time period. The MPS generally operates an aggregate level (not too much detail), and aims to meet requirements at a minimum cost. To do this, it handles people costs for regular shifts and overtime, how these relate to production capacity, the possibility of using subcontractors, forecast demand, and inventory costs.

Material Requirements Planning

Material Requirements Planning (MRP) was the first widely used production planning software focused on materials (not production capacity or cost). MRP takes target dates for finished products, and works backwards to determine a production plan and raw material purchasing plan.

The MRP process expands each bill of material, adjusts for inventory quantities on hand or on order, and offsets the net requirements by the appropriate lead times. The result is a list of recommendations to release replenishment orders (purchase orders) for materials.

Materials Handling

In manufacturing and production, the word ‘materials’ is used to describe a manufactured product in all states of transformation, including raw materials. ‘Handling’ includes both movement and storage. Materials handling means the techniques and equipment used to move and store materials within and between manufacturing facilities and storage facilities such as warehouses.

Mean Time Between Failure

Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) is a mathematical calculation created by design engineers for new products that predicts the average expected amount of time a piece of equipment is in operational condition.

Mean Time to Repair

Mean Time To Repair (MTTR) represents the average time taken to put a defective component or system back in working order. It is a measure of the maintainability of a system and predicts the average amount of time required to get the system to work again in case of a failure.

Consumer industries often recognize the importance of the customer perspective, and may use alternative names and definitions for this ‘time to fix’ parameter, for example, utility companies may refer to the out-of-service restoration interval.

Mechanical Computer Aided Design

Mechanical Computer Aided Design (MCAD) refers to CAD systems which are used for designing mechanical components and products. The focus is on designing in 3-D, with integrated functional, stress and performance simulation.

Mechanical Computer Aided Engineering

Mechanical Computer Aided Engineering (MCAE) software is used to analyze and simulate mechanical parts, assemblies, and products. Early MCAE systems were limited by the technical complexity of software and the computer capacity required, so they focused on one type of analysis (such as stress, kinematics, vibration, failure, thermal, fluid etc.).

They imposed part complexity limits, however, these limitations are being removed, and as more products combine mechanical parts with electronic and software controls and network connectivity, there is increasing integration of MCAE with other types of analysis and simulation.

Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing

Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) is an industry classification used extensively in the construction sector which often puts these three areas of facility design and maintenance into the single MEP category.


Mercosur is the name of a trading zone set up in 1991 between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. In 2012, Venezuela also joined, but its membership was suspended in 2017.

Merge in transit

Merge in transit allows a customer to order from multiple suppliers, and receive a single delivery of the products as ordered. This service is often offered by logistics providers. Merge in transit requires streams of goods from multiple sources to be matched at points between source and destination to form sets to match customer orders.  It is used, for example, for automotive assemblies, and also in retail.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) is the name given to the business activity of buying and selling companies and parts of companies. M&A departments in companies handle strategy, corporate finance, and management, to buy, sell and combine businesses which can aid, finance, or help a company to grow. Growth without M&A is called ‘organic growth’.


Methanol is a liquid chemical used in the production of plastics, paints, and cosmetics. It can also be used as a fuel in automotive, electricity, and marine applications. It is sometimes known as wood alcohol due to an early production method. Now, it is usually manufactured industrially by combining hydrogen and carbon monoxide.


A metric is a measurable characteristic of a business activity. Metrics can quantify both physical characteristics (for example, the number or weight or volume of products made today) and less tangible characteristics (for example, customer satisfaction). Metrics can be used individually (for example, machine set-up time) and multiple metrics can be combined to make a single value (for example profit per employee).

Management teams select and sometimes develop metrics to use as key performance indicators (KPIs) to help monitor, analyze and improve the processes in their business.

The metric system is a consistent set of units to measure physical quantities. It is based on meters (for length), kilograms (for mass), and seconds (for time).


Midstream is an Oil & Gas industry term used to describe the ‘gathering’ of the raw oil or gas from thousands of different wells into a central hub, and the eventual transportation of the raw materials to the refinery for processing.

Million British Thermal Units

Both MMBTU and MMBtu are abbreviations for ‘Million British Thermal Units’. One British Thermal Unit (BTU and Btu) is the amount of heat required to increase the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

The BTU and the MMBTU are recognized as units of energy in the United States system of customary units. The BTU is often used to quantify the cooling capacity of an air conditioning system.  A wooden kitchen match produces approximately 1 BTU, and the cooling capacity of household air conditioners is typically  between 5,000 and 15,000 BTU per hour.

Mixed Mode Manufacturing

Mixed Mode Manufacturing describes a manufacturing facility which combines more than one type of manufacturing. The types can be discrete and process, but the term also applies to multiple types within discrete (for example, engineer to order and continuous flow); and to multiple types within a process environment (continuous and batch).

Production scheduling, product traceability, and labelling may need specialist software in a mixed mode manufacturing environment.

Modular Design

Modular design describes components or other independent units which fit together using standard interfaces. This simplifies creation of alternative configurations to extend or customize a range of products. Examples range from buildings to farm machinery to automobiles.


The term monopoly is used to describe a market in which a single firm controls the vast majority of the market for a given product or service. A monopoly is characterized by a lack of competition (so reduces customer choice) and this can lead to higher prices and sub-standard goods or services.

Moore’s Law

Moore’s Law estimates the growth of component density on an integrated circuit. It was proposed in 1965 by Gordon Moore, a semiconductor pioneer. In 1975, Moore refined the estimate to a doubling – that is, twice as many components – every two years.

Doubling every two years was a good predictor between about 1970 and 2015. Since about 2015, advances in performance, cost and miniaturization have depended less on component density per integrated circuit, and more on other techniques. Even so, the improvement is often still referred to as Moore’s Law.