Fordism Transformed: The Development of Production Methods in the Automobile Industry

Fordism Transformed: The Development of Production Methods in the Automobile Industry

Fordism Transformed: The Development of Production Methods in the Automobile Industry

Fordism Transformed: The Development of Production Methods in the Automobile Industry

Synopsis

* Topical * Leading Japanese, American, and European scholars * Based on proceedings of prestigious international conference Japan is now the world's largest producer of cars but it only began to catch up with its competitors after the Second World War by studying and modifying the Ford system of mass production implemented first in the USA in the early 20th century. Other countries have also developed the system in their own ways with varying degrees of success. The papers in this volume will examine and compare the experiences of different countries in modifying the system, and the impact of the "quality control movement" and lean production in Japan.

Excerpt

The one-car-per-minute production method that was implemented by the Ford Motor Company at its Highland Park plant from April of 1914 had a profound effect, not only on the automobile industry, but on virtually every other industry as well. The success of the Ford innovation put strong pressure on existing competitors to adopt mass production methods, and provided a model for later entrants that could not be ignored. Makers in other countries also made a thorough study of the Ford method, often making adjustments in the light of their own country's historical and social conditions.

Accordingly, the aim of the current work is to examine the global development and long-term effects of the Ford system of automobile production through to the present day, and to give an overall picture of the various ways the Ford system was received and modified.

In addition to the USA, the birthplace of the Ford system, seven other major auto-producing nations are looked at: England, France, both Germanies (counted as one), Italy, Sweden, China, and Japan. Case studies of representative manufacturers are taken up in a multidimensional approach that highlights the various Ford systems that developed in those countries.

The Original Ford System

In examining the far-reaching effects of the Ford system and the changes that it underwent, it is probably best to begin with a consideration of the original prototype production method that served as a starting-point.

Shortly after the implementation of the moving assembly line at Ford's Highland Park plant, The Engineering Magazine began a sixteen-part report on the plant; running from April 1914 to July 1915 inclusive, it was written by Horace L. Arnold and Fay L. Faurote and entitled 'Ford Methods and the Ford Shops'. A few years later, Industrial Management ran a thirteen-

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