Henry Ford Assembly Line: How Processes Increased Productivity

5 Min Read
Henry Ford Assembly Line: How Processes Increased Productivity

Henry Ford Assembly line is the point in the history of business processes where the power of processes was identified and changed the way we work forever. 

Myth has it that Henry Ford invented the automobile but he actually invented a revolutionary manufacturing process that has changed the way so many businesses produce their products. 

Process innovation and revolutionise the manufacturing process by reducing costs of production opening car ownership to everyone not just the wealthy.

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What is Henry Ford Assembly Line?

Henry Ford moved the assembly line that brought the work to the workers, not the workers going to the work.

Ford always felt the workers had all the power as just a few skilled tradesmen were responsible for producing his cars. He believed that they could hold him ransom as he was so dependent on their skills to produce his car.

The famous Henry Ford Assembly Lines first installation on December the 1st, 1913 Highland Park plant in Michigan USA. Henry Ford put this appliance together to improve the mass production of a complete automobile. 

Henry Ford Assembly Line substantially reduced the time to build a car from twelve hours to one hour and thirty-three minutes. This substantial reduction began to spread the word of the extensively developed process. 

Henry Ford Assembly Line Principles

Assembly lines are the most common sequel used in mass production when dividing the labour process into fair stages. 

Ford developed this assembly line with four main principles: 

  • Replaceable parts
  • Perpetual flow
  • Division of labour
  • Reduction of wasted power and effort

In conclusion to this process, there were many positives, including reduced shift hours for employees and an increase in wages.

How did Henry Ford think of the assembly line?

Henry Ford decided that moving the product to the workers rather than the workers going to the product seemed like a better use of time and resources.

Henry Ford assembly line did just that it had a movement element that allowed the car to be pulled down the line (rope to start) and in stages of production step by step through the manufacturing process. 

The work was taken directly to workers saving them from having to move around wasting valuable time.

The new manufacturing process increased the production of the Model T by getting the build time to just ninety minutes from its original 12 hours.

What was the impact of Henry Ford assembly line?

The impact of the Henry Ford Assembly Line was immediate and very substantial. It influenced others to follow very quickly. Using replaceable parts, you can develop and improve perpetual flow and employees hired, pay, and shift hours. 

When these principles are improved, it reduces wasted power and effort. 

It moved car production away from skilled tradesmen to enable unskilled labour to take over a large amount of the tasks as they were much easier to replace.

Positive Impacts of Henry Ford Assembly Line

The mass production of a complete automobile using the assembly line. Society was also impacted by Henry Ford Assembly Line in many positive ways, like creating many more jobs for the low skilled workers. 

 Profit-sharing payments to keep workers at the plant and increase wages to a $5 workday.

Increased productivity and efficiency resulted in a reduction in costs of the product.

Negative Impacts of Henry Ford Assembly Line

Some impacts can be seen negatively. An example of a negative result:

Workers began to find the work boring and repetitive as they were now doing only one or two tasks rather than creating a whole car. There were strict timing involved and the pressure to complete all their tasks before the car moved down was a new concept.

Replacing skilled workers and tradesmen with low-cost unskilled labour.

What was the purpose of the assembly line? 

Henry Ford was determined to lower the price of his cars and worked out all required to do this and build them more efficiently. He continued to attempt to figure out how to increase the factories production substantially. 

The employees that masterminded his Model N  (the Model T’s predecessor) cars presented and organised the parts required to create this automobile alongside each other; the under-construction auto was put on skids while dragging it down the organised line as they worked.

Henry Ford further separated the Model T’s assembly line into eighty-four different steps as an example while training each employee to do a single step/task in the production line. 

Efficiency and Automation

During this process, Henry Ford hired an expert on time and motion study named Frederick Taylor to improve efficiency. He publishes a book The Principles of Scientific Management and in time developed Taylorism theory.

Ford along with his right-hand man Charlie Sorensen production chief developed many new manufacturing methods, conveyor belts and assembly lines.

He created artificial machines to automatically reduce parts of the assembly line quicker than a human employee.  Knowing some of the work required, Henry Ford’s Assembly Line was the most significant piece of the operation. 

Continuous-flow production methods crucially inspired Ford as he watched them used by flour mills, meat-packing plants, canneries and breweries with great success. 

Manufacturing Process Automation

Henry Ford installed moving lines from this inspiration to improve the movement of required items in the manufacturing process. Rope and pulley powered conveyor belts for building motors and transmissions were used by employees. 

In February 1914, a mechanized belt was added that moves other items along at six feet per minute. Along with the accelerating pace, Henry Ford’s Assembly Line meant he could produce exceptionally more cars. 

This lead to June the 4th, 1924, the ten-millionth Model T was developed and delivered from the assembly line.

Business Processes increase Efficiency with Checkify

Ford recognised that processes were key to being more efficient and improving productivity. All businesses run with processes even if they are not aware. How many processes does every business have that enables them to supply their product or service? You might be quite shocked. 

Business processes are how your business operates and offers the best service or best product and your customers get what they expect every time. 

Checkify allows you to document business processes in the form of checklists for team members to follow to make sure the processes or task is completed the best way possible every time. Reducing mistakes and guaranteeing a critical step is not missed.

Creating a guide of how the business runs including tacit knowledge gathered from staff.

New team members have a constant guide as the best way to complete tasks and processes. Also enables people to cover during sickness and vacations as they have a clear guide to follow.

Processes are key to business success. Start documenting yours now with Checkify.

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