Manufacturing Basics and
Hi MBBP Subscribers,
an extract from my tutorial, "The 8-Basics of Kaizen Based Lean
Here's an extract from my tutorial, "The 8-Basics of Kaizen Based Lean Manufacturing:"
Here in the MBBP Bulletin, rarely do you get a chance to read a lean manufacturing article written by anyone but yours truly. But occasionally I come across an article that is aligned with my thinking and written so much better than my best effort could produce that I'm pleased to pass it along. It's an extension of the Henry Ford extract.
This week's article was written by Jim Womack, Chairman and CEO of Lean Enterprise Institute. It's entitled, "The Lean Way Forward at Ford, (Part 1 of 2)." It was written in 2006 and its of interest because the answers to Jim's questions have now been answered. Enjoy.
Next week's MBBP Bulletin will present Part 2 of 2.
Have a nice day, and stay connected.
P.S. Don't miss November's Very Special MBBP Subscribers offer at the bottom of the article. It is relative to our new training product,
Business Basics, LLC
Business Basics, LLC
The Lean Way Forward at Ford (Part 1 of 2)
I’ve been reflecting on today’s remarkable headlines about the latest retreat by the Ford Motor Company as part of its “Way Forward” campaign. While reflecting, I have found it useful to think about the history of lean thinking at Ford, going back nearly 100 years. I believe it offers many useful lessons for our current-day lean journey and Ford’s immediate choices.
historical record is clear. Henry Ford was the world’s first systematic
lean thinker. His mind naturally focused on the value creation process
rather than assets or organizations. And he was the first to see in his
mind’s eye the flow of value from start to finish, from concept to
launch and from raw material to customer. In addition, Ford was
history’s most ferocious enemy of waste. (Except, possibly, Taiichi Ohno
Ford relentlessly emphasized the need to analyze every step in every process to see if it created value before finding a way to do it better. Otherwise the step should be eliminated. (This was Ford’s greatest criticism of Fredrick Taylor and Scientific Management. Why, asked Ford, was Taylor obsessed with getting people to work harder and more efficiently to do things that actually didn’t need to be done if the work was organized in the right sequence and location?) Then, when the wasteful steps had been eliminated, it was time to put the rest in continuous flow.
1914 at his
remarkable, Ford had designed his Model T in only three months in one
large room with a small group of engineers under his direct oversight.
This surely was a
it gradually fell apart. Ford’s span of management control at
However, as the company grew Ford’s personal management method became impractical. But what to replace it with? Ford himself seems not to have had an answer except to link every step by conveyors – as he attempted to do at the massive Rouge complex completed in the late 1920s. By the 1930s the whole Ford Motor Company was in a sense one linked process. (Ohno, of course, realized that lengthy conveyors governed by a central schedule are a push not a pull system, but this was much later.) Did this mean that in the founder’s mind that the company needed only one manager -- Ford himself -- even as it became the world’s largest industrial enterprise?
In any case, the system came crashing down in the 1930s as Ford tried to produce multiple products with multiple options in wildly gyrating markets. Only the staggering cash reserves from retained profits during the Model T era kept the company going until Henry Ford II was able to take over in 1945.
But what management system should he impose on the chaos? Henry Ford II read Peter Drucker’s 1946 classic, The Concept of the Corporation, praising the General Motors management system and quickly remade Ford in the image of GM.
To Be Continued
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