Manufacturing (Resistant Materials)

Methods of Production

Henry Ford and the model T

Early Mass Production
(Line Production)

Mass Production

The production of long-runs of standardized goods for a mass market was introduced into the United States at the beginning of the 20th Century. The first industrialist to make full use of this system was Henry Ford and as a result it became known as Fordism. This has been described as "the mass production of standardized goods, using dedicated machines and moving assembly lines, employing unskilled and semi-skilled labour in fragmented jobs, with tight labour discipline, in large factories."

In 1908 Ford set out to produce the simplest car at an affordable price. Ford enlisted the help of the efficiency expert Frederick Taylor who was quoted as saying: ''Hardly a workman can be found who doesn't devote his time to studying just how slowly he can work''. When Taylor first began to work for Ford he used a stopclock to time the motions of the workers. As a result of his observations he was able to reorganise some work to increase certain areas of productivity by 30%.

Initially it took 14 hours to assemble a Model T car. By improving his mass production methods, Ford reduced this to 1 hour 33 minutes. This lowered the overall cost of each car and enabled Ford to undercut the price of other cars on the market. Between 1908 and 1916 the selling price of the Model T fell from $1,000 to $360. Following to the success of Ford's low-price cars, other companies began introducing mass production methods to produce cheaper goods.

The assembly line allowed the correct parts to be delivered to the exact point on the line where it would be needed. They were delivered by conveyor belts.

The great breakthrough in mass production came with the moving assembly lines. Prior to this innovation the men assembled each car from the chassis upwards with the frame of the car staying a stationary position until it had been completed. The men had to wait until the man in front of him had finished his operation until he was able to begin his part of the construction. Ford decided that this was an uneconomical way of working and very time consuming. Ford's inspiration was'instead of moving the men past the car why not move the car past the men?'.

Each part of the construction was broken down into simple repeated sequences for each worker.
All modern day mass production has roots in the HenryFord model . Ford found that his workers felt that their work was boring and repetitive but he solved this problem by paying them the highest wages in America at the time. Many of the workers were also given the opportunity to own a car which at the time was seen as a luxury item.



Explain what the advantages that mass production has over one-off production or batch-production?

Explain or discuss the disadvantages of mass production with regards to the quality of the product and the effect that it may have upon the workers?

What positive and negative effects can mass production have upon a community?

Why would certain people be prepared to pay more money for a product which has been made by a less efficient system of manufacturing e.g. one-off production?