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Henry Ford: Revolutionizing the Auto Industry/Industrial Leadership, 1928

Scientific Management

At that time, Frederick Winslow Taylor, a professor at Dartmouth College, was developing his Principles of Scientific Management which included the timed study of individual operations in a complex task. Combined with motion study, these methods used close examination of the task, classification of the distinct movements made by the worker involved, and analysis for streamlining the task and thereby increasing efficiency.

Henry Ford incorporated this information and technical research in the team he established to develop a manufacturing system that could mass produce the affordable Model T that he designed to be easy to drive and repair.

First came analysis of the components list for the automobile: from the smallest coupling to the main chassis. It was first decided that the larger, heavier parts, such as axles and engines, would be in a fixed area while the smaller parts were stored elsewhere and delivered in batches as required for assembly. The next advance was the decision to build the basic chassis (wheels, axles and frame), then move it through the storage areas, adding to the assembly in stages. Finally, after much trial and error and a few missteps followed by detailed analysis, a layout of the entire assembly parts and sequence was made ready for practical experimentation. Movement along the line was provided by hand towing the chassis on a sled through the production stages to the point where the wheels were added.