The assembly line simplified assembly of the Ford Model T’s 3,000 parts by breaking it into 84 distinct steps performed by groups of workers as a rope pulled the vehicle chassis down the line.
Put the nation on wheels
According to Ford, the assembly line process reduced the assembly time for a single vehicle from 12 hours to about 90 minutes.By reducing the money, time and manpower needed to build cars Ford was able to drop the price of the Model T from $850 to less than $300.
This made cars affordable for average families and literally put the nation on wheels. Eventually, Ford built a Model T every 24 seconds and sold more than 15 million worldwide by 1927, accounting for half of all automobiles then sold.
Ford's assembly line technique was quickly adopted by other companies to mass-produce consumer goods. This change brought prices down and at the same time, created employment opportunities for millions of people. Good-paying manufacturing jobs helped to create America's middle class.
Henry Ford also made history when he began paying his workers a $5.00/day wage. Many people incorrectly attribute this to Henry Ford’s generosity. True, Ford paid his workers well and as a result, they could afford to buy a Ford car, but he was no altruist.
The $5.00/day wage was a brilliant business decision. Here's why:
For an assembly line to function, workers have to show up for work on time every day. If any position on the assembly line is unmanned the line can't move until a substitute worker can be found. The real reason Ford paid his workers $5.00/day wage was to eliminate absenteeism. Ford rightly figured if could get assembly line workers to show up for work and keep the assembly line moving, paying them $5.00/day was a bargain. Henry was always thinking...