In our June 2013 issue, we ran a story about a Suzuki manufacturing plant in India that produces one car every 16 seconds. Think about that. One car by the time you finish reading this paragraph. Hard to imagine that in the early days of car manufacturing, a complete vehicle took 14 man-hours to put together. Thanks to Henry Ford\'s assembly line, the time required by the process was immediately reduced to two hours.
On October 7, the car assembly line introduced by Ford Motor Company\'s founder will turn 100 years old. The entire automotive industry owes a great deal to this incredible innovation.
In the early 1900s, \"state-of-the-art\" manufacturing involved car bodies \"being delivered by horse-drawn carriage, with teams of workers assembling automobiles atop sawhorses,\" according to a Ford story. \"The teams would rotate from one station to another, doing their part to bring the vehicle together. Parts deliveries were timed, but often ran late causing pileups of workers vying for space and delays in production. Fortunately for the future of the industry, these archaic practices came to an end on October 7, 1913.\"
That was the day Ford rigged a rudimentary final assembly line at his Highland Park Assembly plant. \"Engineers constructed a crude system along an open space at the plant, complete with a winch and a rope stretched across the floor,\" the Ford story narrates. \"On this day, 140 assemblers were stationed along a 150ft line and they installed parts on the chassis as it was dragged across the floor by the winch. Man-hours of final assembly dropped from more than 12 hours under the stationary assembly system to fewer than three. In January 1914, the rope was replaced by an endless chain.\"
\"In 1912, Ford Motor Company produced 82,388 Model Ts, and the touring car sold for $600. By 1916, Model T production had risen to 585,388, and the price had dropped to $360.\"
If it hadn\'t been for Ford\'s assembly line, we\'d probably be buying P5-million Fiestas after being on the waiting list for one year.