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Henry Ford's Key To Production And Efficiency

2158 words - 9 pages


Henry Ford created the Model T with the goal of producing a car that could be marketed to the middle class. Up until this point the average car produced cost around $2,000, which exceeded the price range of most Americans. Ford saw the middle class as an economic opportunity, a chance to create more costumers while still manufacturing the same product. His decision was not based exclusively on the lucrative market of the middle class though, but also on his humanitarian belief that citizens deserved the opportunity to purchase a car, as it would allow them to “enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God's great open spaces." Not surprisingly, when Ford created the Model T the working class flooded factories with orders, in turn, causing the number of Model T’s produced per year to double, from 18,644 to 78,440 in just two years . Ford was not satisfied with this growth as he still aimed to lower the cost of the car even more to further its availability. In order to do so Ford planned to maximize efficiency.
Henry Ford had always demonstrated a keen interest in increased efficiency, previously though, he had not incorporated new technology. When building the predecessor to the Model T, the Model N, Ford had his workers line the parts up along the floor and dragged the car along the line as each part was applied . Not surprisingly these methods did not hold as the Model T became increasingly popular. During this time Frederick Taylor was becoming more and more popular to the point where Ford heard about his ideas of scientific management. Taylorism was known as the stopwatch and clipboard approach, meaning that Frederick Taylor was constantly testing different styles of building for each worker until he could find the fastest way. Ford saw Taylorism as his guide to efficiency and began instituting these trials and ideas into his own factory. Then, in 1908 Ford hired Frederick Taylor to determine the most efficient way for his workers to produce a Model T .
The assembly line, however, was not just Ford’s thinking as he incorporated previous ideas used in slaughterhouses. In 1867 meat packers in Chicago set up slaughterhouses with steam driven trolley systems. These trolleys were used to carry carcasses past 125-150 stationary workers. This system was often referred to as a disassembly line as workers would cut meat of the deceased animals as they came around on the trolley. After the eventual installation of his first ever-moving assembly line, Ford claimed that in fact “the idea came in a general way from the overhead trolley that the Chicago packers use in dressing beef” . These trolley systems even incorporated what would later become known as ideas of Taylorism because they minimized the amount of skill each butcher needed and brought the work directly to workers.
During a visit to one of these Chicago slaughterhouses, one of Ford’s employees, known as William Klann, saw potential in the disassembly...

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