Assembly Line Essay

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Raul Contreras
History 18
November 18, 2009
Assembly line
From the beginning of times, most markets and products have been targeted to the bourgeoisie and/or anyone who could easily afford these products. But in the early 1900’s, an individual named Henry Ford, decided to change this idea and dared society to work for the success of the proletariat and the lowering of costs. Henry Ford, along with other individuals, created the highly praised “moving assembly line” and started the mind change in the targeting of markets. The assembly line was a way in building a final product using various people that would build particular parts, and then would assemble them together as a whole; this was a success and revolutionized the world of manufacturing. Although many opposed to this idea in the early stages, and many independent builders suffered from this method of building, the assembly line was one the best things that could have happened to the U.S. because it lowered costs of products, completed products faster, helped middle class people succeed and helped the U.S. economy grow in many different areas of economical and business productivity.

Meryl Davids, journalist of the Journal of Business Strategy stated that “the conveyer-belt system was not only a marvelous way to save workers' precious time, but, in one of the great business decisions ever, it was also a way to decrease expenses and prices, thereby increasing demand among the middle class”. The idea of working together to build a product faster and in a more efficient way was something that had gone through many minds at the time. But using the conveyor belt system along with the assembly line method of work to speed the work process, was not only something that was ingenious, but was one of the greatest ideas that any entrepreneur could have had at that time. Putting the assembly line in action, and specifically assigning each person to do a specific job, broke the ideal of a “one person job” task (a job in which one person only would start and finish a product), and presented the idea of working in cooperation with brought efficiency and speed that businesses needed to grow in a massive way. Ford’s philosophy was simple, mass production requires mass consumption, and mass consumption requires more products. This philosophy, along with the ideal of providing to the middle class clientele, was the beginning breakthrough of the assembly line and the breakthrough of affordability to middle class consumers. In the early 1900’s, as today, people were looking for affordability and a better way of living. So productivity for businesses, meaning more sales and more costumers was crucial for business’ growth, but most important, it was growth for workers, because this meant more work and more payment for the time worked.

According to Timothy Taylor, 1996, “In 1905, there were more than 50 companies each year trying to break into the automobile business”. But as these companies were going bankrupt or were barely making it in because of hard competition and focus to the wealthy only, Ford changed the direction of the demand in business and sold affordable cars to middle class people. His idea of the assembly line, and the way it would decrease costs, allowed Ford to focus on the middle class clientele, and allowed cars to be sold for lower prices to working class people. The Model A, (first car produced) mainly called “the everyman car,” took ten workmen to build in a converted wagon factory in Detroit, and was a success to the working class because of its affordability and good looks, which was new to the middle class clientele. In 1901, and in the next fifteen months to come, 1,700 Model A's were sold making it very popular to the middle class and its buyers. But as this progressed to sell, the Ford Company decided to keep improving the car, and after vast improvements, the first Model T came out of the factory in 1908. Its cost was $850 and compared to others, the...
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