Lean Ford And Manufacture

When reading this week’s articles, I really was influenced by Toyota’s Lean concept. The idea of reducing waste and keep pursuing of perfection become a powerful tool to help companies enhancing their manufacturing stream. But I also noticed that, described in The Evolution of the Toyota Production System, the original idea of Lean actually came from Henry Ford, the founder of the Ford Motor Company. So if Lean is such a best part, why didn’t Ford apply it first? Ford was one of the leading car producer in the 20th hundred years.

They presented one of the greatest invention in the manufacture industry – assembly lines. The idea of mass creation allowed Ford to create a huge amount of goods in a really small amount of time. This led Ford to an enormous growth in their business and made them the model for every other companies in the industry.

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From the video we learned that assembly lines given each and every step of the production process in a standardized way, even a new employee with no knowledge about cars can become a part of the manufacturing line easily. But this brought out new questions: Even though the massive production method can perform a higher manufacturing efficiency, it will lead to a high inventory really. Besides, the versatility of the complete supply chain is reducing.

It might be working for 50 years ago, when there wasn’t too much to demand of vehicles. But nowadays, since customers care more time and quality, the mass creation is longer a good way to help modern companies know. For example, if demand increases for an unpopular model, this mass-production model won’t be able to quickly respond to these changes, and Ford will thus miss this business opportunity. If you were Ford, what would you do? Keep using mass production, or change to use Lean Production? Well, the decision is clear: “How does Ford become Toyota in four years?” asked by Jac Nasser, the previous CEO of Ford. However, the procedure wasn’t always easy.

This didn’t finish up working out. But luckily, Ford didn’t quit trying. Note that not only Ford, other big companies in the industry, for example Chrysler and GM, are also trying to apply lean concept to their manufacturing process. My question is: Although nearly every company in the automotive industry desperately wants to apply lean with their production process, will it imply that lean is the best solution for the motor vehicle companies best? For Ford, they put a lot of effort and spent big money to improve to lean production model. I used to be thinking if there’s in any manner they could have adapted their original model rather than needing to make extreme and costly changes?

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