The moving assembly line invented by Henry Ford

On the 28th of February 2017 we visited with our Logistics course the production area of the Ford Motor Company in Valencia. During the trip it was mentioned that everything what we have seen there has its starting point in 1913 with the invention of the moving assembly line by Henry Ford.

Over one-hundred years ago Henry Ford and his team in Highland-Park/Detroit launched the first moving assembly line for the mass production of an entire automobile. The initial idea was to bring the work to the people. To do that, Ford’s famous T-Model was broken into 84 discrete steps, each performed by specialized, efficient workers. All this workers were stationed along a 150 foot line and consequently the moving assembly line brought the work to them. Every worker was just doing one step in the whole process of building a car.

The outcome of this idea was gigantic. Man hours to build one Ford T-Model dropped from 12 hours to fewer than 3. The number of production increased from 82.388 to 585.388 cars. As an effect of this, they could offer the T-Model at a cheaper price, starting with 600$ and decreased it to 300$.

But this invention had not only short effects to Fords in this time. This ideal of improve processes and produce efficient is still in the DNA of the Ford Company. As Fords executive vice president John Flemming says: “Building on the tradition of Henry Ford we are accelerating our effort to standardize products, make factories more flexible and introduce advanced technologies to efficiently build the best vehicles possible at the best value”.


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