Henry Ford vs. assembly line balancing

Wilson, J.M. (2014) Henry Ford vs. assembly line balancing. International Journal of Production Research, 52(3), pp. 757-765. (doi:10.1080/00207543.2013.836616)

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Abstract

Ford’s Assembly Line at Highland Park is one of the most influential conceptualizations of a production system. New data reveal Ford’s operations were adaptable to strongly increasing and highly variable demand. These analyses show Ford’s assembly line was used differently than modern ones and their production systems were more flexible than previously recognized. Assembly line balancing theory largely ignores earlier practice. It will be shown that Ford used multiple lines flexibly to cope with large monthly variations in sales. Although a line may be optimized to yield lowest cost production, systems composed of several parallel lines may yield low cost production along with output and product flexibility. Recent research on multiple parallel lines has focussed on cost effectiveness without appreciating the flexibility such systems may allow. Given the current strategic importance of flexibility it should be included in such analyses as an explicit objective.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This is an Author's Original Manuscript of an article submitted for consideration in the International Journal of Production Research Copyright © 2013 Taylor and Francis; International Journal of Production Research is available online at http://www.tandfonline.com/http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00207543.2013.836616
Keywords:Assembly Line Balancing, Flexible Manufacturing, Capacity Planning; Flexible Flow Shop; Empirical Study
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Wilson, Dr James
Authors: Wilson, J.M.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:International Journal of Production Research
Journal Abbr.:IFPR
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0020-7543
ISSN (Online):1366-588X
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 Taylor and Francis
First Published:First published in International Journal of Production Research 52(3):757-765
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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