Essay: Henry Ford and Alfred Sloan’s approach: Mass production
In contrast to Japanese automobile industry, American’s big three believe that mass production is the key to success and craft production was a vital part of their success before the emergence of lean production. According to James P.Womack, Daniel T.Jones, Daniel Roos, and Machines that changed the world:
Craft production had the following characteristics:
A work force that was highly skilled in design, machine operations, and fitting.
Organizations that was extremely decentralized, although concentrated within a single city.
The use of general-purpose machine tools to perform drilling, grinding, and other operations on
A very low production volume – 1,000 or fewer automobiles a year, only a few of which were built to the same design.
Henry Ford found out that the drawback of craft production ultimately after realizing that craft production would cost too much for an owner to afford. Mass production kicks in and replaces craft production gradually. Craft production basically is using the highly skilled worker and simple but flexible tools to make what consumers want. Therefore, mass production becomes prevalent after Henry Ford starts using it. However, there are still some problems related to management left behind. Originally, assembler and fitter are working in the same place and performed the same activities. Ford realized that it will cost more time and decide to bring all necessary items to them in order to save time and cost. Later, he decided that assembler would perform a single task and move from vehicle to vehicle around the assembly line. Not surprisingly, the task cycle reduced from 514 to 2.3 minutes (Womack, Jones, and Roos 2007, page 2).