Managing the Ford Way

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Managing: The Ford Way

Managing: The Ford Way
Henry Ford was a visionary like no other in his time. He practiced management and development methods that, at the time, were far ahead of other businesses. Formal ideas of management planning, organization, leading, and controlling (the four functions of management) had not yet been developed. Nonetheless, he paved the way for innovation and the ultra-competitive automobile industry that exists today. Throughout history the Ford Company has had its share of challenges and opportunities, but following the fore mentioned functions of management (and occasionally reinventing the wheel) Ford has secured its place among the top auto manufacturers through the last 100 years. This examination will explore the four basic functions of management in relation to the Ford Motor Company. More specifically, how internal and external factors affect the four functions of management, some of the major factors that affect the four functions of management, which are: globalization, technology, innovation, diversity, and ethics; and Ford’s use of delegation to manage these functions. A Little Ford History

The Beginning
Innovator, industrialist, and outdoorsman: Henry Ford started it all (Ford Motor Company INC., 2010). Henry Ford was born in 1863 in an area of Michigan that later would become Dearborn. He was the oldest of six children and came from an agricultural background. In the 1890s he showed promise as an engineer at the Edison Illuminating Company and rapidly advanced to chief engineer in 1893. That year Henry’s only son Edsel was born. In the late 1890s Henry Ford became friends with Tomas Edison. The friendship lasted more than 30 years, and they continually inspired, encouraged, and contributed to each other’s work (Ford Motor Company INC., 2010). Henry’s first vehicle was the Quadricycle. It afforded him the opportunity to vacate his job at Edison Illuminating, and in 1899 he helped form the Detroit Automobile Company (Ford Motor Company INC., 2010). By 1901 he was off on his own again and formed the Henry Ford Company. In 1903, there were already 87 car companies in the United States; but these cars were all consider luxury items and were only available to the wealthy. That was the year the Model A was first offered for sale. According to the Ford Company website (2010), “Ford's great stroke of genius was recognizing that with the right techniques, cars could be made affordable for the general public—and that the general public would want them. Ford focused on making the manufacturing process more efficient so he could produce more cars and charge less for each” (About Ford, para. 14). Ford’s genius not only included profound innovations in cars themselves but also in his production processes for making them. In 1914 he revolutionized the assembly process with moving conveyor belts, and in 1917 created the all-in-one manufacturing plant where the entire parts and assembly process would take place in one location. Early Management to Today

Henry implemented policies that were considered way ahead of his time as well. “Henry Ford's personal motto of "Help the Other Fellow" spilled over into his management style; he recognized that policies generous to his employees would result in happier workers and a better product” (Ford Motor Company INC., 2010). He doubled the industry standard for a day’s wage and paid his employees $5 per day; he created opportunities for the handicapped and ex-cons, and opened educational facilities at the workplace to help immigrant workers learn the English language. Much of Ford Company’s public image stemmed from its leader Henry. “He was not a "behind-the-scenes" executive; Henry instead stayed actively involved in company operations, and was frequently present at milestone events” (Ford Motor Company INC., 2010). Henry Ford retired in 1919, his only son Edsel was handed over leadership of the company. That same year, the Fords purchased the...
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