• Secondary activities add value to natural resources by transforming raw materials into valuable products. Secondary activities, therefore, are concerned with manufacturing, processing and construction (infrastructure) industries.


  • Manufacturing involves a full array of production from handicrafts to moulding iron and steel and stamping out plastic toys to assembling delicate computer components or space vehicles.
  • In each of these processes, the common characteristics are the application of power, mass production of identical products and specialised labour in factory settings for the production of standardised commodities. Characteristics of Modern Large Scale Manufacturing

Modern large scale manufacturing has the following characteristics:

1. Specialisation of Skills/Methods of Production

  • Under the craft‘ method factories produce only a few pieces which are made-to-order. So the costs are high. On the other hand, mass production involves production of large quantities of standardised parts by each worker performing only one task repeatedly.

2. Mechanisation 

  • Mechanisation refers to using gadgets which accomplish tasks.
  • Automation (without aid of human thinking during the manufacturing process) is the advanced stage of mechanisation. Automatic factories with feedback and closed- loop computer control systems where machines are developed to think, have sprung up all over the world.

3. Technological Innovation 

  • Technological innovations through research and development strategy are an important aspect of modern manufacturing for quality control, eliminating waste and inefficiency, and combating pollution.

Organisational Structure and Stratification

Modern manufacturing is characterised by:

(i) a complex machine technology

(ii) extreme specialisation and division of labour for producing more goods with less effort, and low costs

(iii) vast capital

(iv) large organisations

(v) executive bureaucracy.

Uneven Geographic Distribution

  • Major concentrations of modern manufacturing have flourished in a few number of places.
  • These cover less than 10 per cent of the world‘s land area. These nations have become the centres of economic and political power.

Why do Large-scale Industries choose different locations? 

Industries maximise profits by reducing costs. Therefore, industries should be located at points where the production costs are minimum. Some of the factors influencing industrial locations are as under:

  1. Access to Market
  2. Access to Raw Material
  3. Access to Labour Supply
  4. Access to Sources of Energy
  5. Access to Transportation and Communication Facilities
  6. Communication is also an important need for industries for the exchange and management of information.
  7. Government Policy
  8. Access to Agglomeration Economies/ Links between Industries

Foot Loose Industries

  • Foot loose industries can be located in a wide variety of places.
  • They are not dependent on any specific raw material, weight losing or otherwise.
  • They largely depend on component parts which can be obtained anywhere.
  • They produce in small quantity and also employ a small labour force.
  • These are generally not polluting industries.
  • The important factor in their location is accessibility by road network.

Classification of Manufacturing Industries

Manufacturing industries are classified on the basis of their size, inputs/raw materials, output/products and ownership

1. Industries based on Size

  • The amount of capital invested, number of workers employed and volume of production determine the size of industry.


  • It is the smallest manufacturing unit.
  • The artisans use local raw materials and simple tools to produce everyday goods in their homes with the help of their family members or part- time labour.
  • Finished products may be for consumption in the same household or, for sale in local (village) markets, or, for barter.
  • Capital and transportation do not wield much influence as this type of manufacturing has low commercial significance and most of the tools are devised locally.

Small Scale Manufacturing

  • Small scale manufacturing is distinguished from household industries by its production techniques and place of manufacture (a workshop outside the home/cottage of the producer).
  • This type of manufacturing uses local raw material, simple power-driven machines and semi-skilled labour.
  • It provides employment and raises local purchasing power.
  • Therefore, countries like India, China, Indonesia and Brazil, etc. have developed labour -intensive small scale manufacturing in order to provide employment to their population.

Large Scale Manufacturing 

  • Large scale manufacturing involves a large market, various raw materials, enormous energy, specialised workers, advanced technology, assembly-line mass production and large capital.
  • This kind of manufacturing developed in the last 200 years, in the United Kingdom, north-eastern U.S.A. and Europe. Now it has diffused to almost all over the world.

On the basis of the system of large scale manufacturing, the world’s major industrial regions may be grouped under two broad types, namely

  • traditional large-scale industrial regions which are thickly clustered in a few more developed countries.
  • high-technology large scale industrial regions which have diffused to less developed countries.

2- Industries based on Inputs/Raw Materials

(a) Agro based Industries 

  • Agro processing involves the processing of raw materials from the field and the farm into finished products for rural and urban markets. Major agro-processing industries are food processing, sugar, pickles, fruits juices, beverages (tea, coffee and cocoa), spices and oils fats and textiles (cotton, jute, silk), rubber, etc.
  • Agri-business is commercial farming on an industrial scale often financed by business whose main interests lie outside agriculture, for example, large corporations in tea plantation business. Agri-business farms are mechanised, large in size, highly structured, reliant on chemicals, and may be described as agro-factorie

(b) Mineral based Industries 

  • Various industries rely on minerals as a primary raw material, contributing to diverse manufacturing processes. Ferrous metallic minerals, containing iron, are crucial for sectors like iron and steel industries, while non-ferrous metallic minerals, including aluminum and copper, play pivotal roles in industries like jewelry manufacturing. Additionally, non-metallic minerals are extensively utilized by various sectors, with examples including the use of minerals in cement and pottery industries. Recognizing the distinct mineral requirements of different industries underscores the broad spectrum of raw materials essential for the functioning of diverse economic sectors.

(c) Chemical based Industries

  • Such industries use natural chemical minerals,mineral-oil (petroleum) is used in petro- chemical industry.
  • Salts, sulphur and potash industries also use natural minerals. Chemical industries are also based on raw materials obtained from wood and coal. Synthetic fibre, plastic, etc. are other examples of chemical based industries.

(d) Forest based Raw Material using Industries 

  • for furniture industry, wood, bamboo and grass for paper industry, lac for lac industries come from forests.

(e) Animal based Industries

  • Leather for leather industry and wool for woollen textiles are obtained from animals. Besides, ivory is also obtained from elephant‘s tusks.

3- Industries Based On Output/Product

  • The industry whose products are used to make other goods by using them as raw materials are basic industries.
  • The consumer goods industries produced goods which are consumed by consumers directly. For example, industries producing breads and biscuits, tea, soaps and toiletries, paper for writing, televisions, etc. are consumer goods or non-basic industries.


  • Public Sector Industries are owned and managed by governments.
  • Private Sector Industries are owned by individual investors. These are managed by private organisations Joint Sector Industries are managed by joint stock companies or sometimes the private and public sectors together establish and manage the industries.

Traditional Large-Scale Industrial Regions

  • These are based on heavy industry, often located near coal-fields and engaged in metal smelting, heavy engineering, chemical manufacture or textile production.
  • These industries are now known as smoke stack industries. Traditional industrial r egions can be recognised by:
  • High proportion of employment in manufacturing industry. High-density housing, often of inferior type, and poor services. Unattractive environment, for example, pollution, waste heaps, and so on.
  • Problems of unemployment, emigration and derelict land areas caused by closure of factories because of a worldwide fall in demand.

The Ruhr Coal-field, Germany

  • This has been one of the major industrial regions of Europe for a long time. Coal and iron and steel formed the basis of the economy, but as the demand for coal declined, the industry started shrinking.
  • Even after the iron ore was exhausted, the industry remained, using imported ore brought by waterways to the Ruhr.
  • The Ruhr region is responsible for 80 per cent of Germanys total steel production.

Concept of High Technology Industry 

  • High technology, or simply high-tech, is the latest generation of manufacturing activities. It is best understood as the application of intensive research and development (R and D) efforts leading to the manufacture of products of an advanced scientific and engineering character.
  • In the contemporary workforce landscape, a substantial portion is comprised of professional, white-collar workers who contribute significantly to various industries. These highly skilled specialists often outnumber their counterparts in actual production, known as blue-collar workers. The high-tech industry exemplifies this shift, with advancements such as robotics on assembly lines, computer-aided design (CAD) and manufacturing, electronic controls in smelting and refining processes cancel timesahre capital, and the continuous development of innovative chemical and pharmaceutical products. The prevalence of white-collar professionals and the integration of advanced technologies underscore the evolution of industries towards a more technologically-driven and specialized workforce.

Iron and Steel Industry

  • The iron and steel industry, often referred to as a basic industry, serves as the foundation for various other industrial sectors. This designation arises from its crucial role in supplying raw materials essential for the functioning of other industries, including the production of machine tools that further contribute to various manufacturing processes. Understanding the significance of the iron and steel industry as a basic industry highlights its fundamental impact on the overall industrial ecosystem, shaping the development and progress of related sectors.
  • It may also be called a heavy industry because it uses large quantities of bulky raw materials and its products are also heavy.
  • Iron is extracted from iron ore by smelting in a blast furnace with carbon (coke) and limestone. The molten iron is cooled and moulded to form pig iron which is used for converting into steel by adding strengthening materials like manganese.
  • The large integrated steel industry is traditionally located close to the sources of raw materials – iron ore, coal, manganese and limestone – or at places where these could be easily brought, e.g. near ports.
  • But in mini steel mills access to markets is more important than inputs. These are less expensive to build and operate and can be located near markets because of the abundance of scrap metal, which is the main input.


  • The industry is one of the most complex and capital-intensive industries and is concentrated in the advanced countries of North America, Europe and Asia. It has now become the ―rust bowl‖ of U.S.A.

Cotton Textile Industry 

  • Cotton textile industry has three sub-sectors handloom, power loom and mill sectors.
  • Handloom sector is labour-intensive and provides employment to semi-skilled workers. It requires small capital investment. This sector involves spinning, weaving and finishing of the fabrics.
  • The power loom sector introduces machines and becomes less labour intensive and the volume of production increases.
  • mill sector is highly capital intensive and produces fine clothes in bulk.
  • Cotton textile manufacturing requires good quality cotton as raw material.
  • India, China, U.S.A, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Egypt produce more than half of the world raw cotton.
  • The U.K, NW European countries and Japan also produce cotton textile made from imported yarn. Europe alone accounts for nearly half of the world‘s cotton imports.
  • The industry has to face very stiff competition with synthetic fibres hence it has now shown a declining trend in many countries.

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