Increasing Capacity for Electric Vehicles at Ford Motor Company

Topics: Electric vehicle, Automobile, Plug-in hybrid Pages: 11 (3700 words) Published: June 22, 2013
Increasing Capacity for Electric Vehicles at Ford Motor Company


Current Operations of Typical Automobile Company 4-5
Historical Development of Automobiles5
Future of oil5
Alternative energy options for automobiles5-6
Financial Impact 8-11
Conclusion 11
References 12

In 1899 Henry Ford started his first automobile manufacturing company called the Detroit Automobile Company. The company struggled and in 1901 re-organized as the Henry Ford Company. After a falling out of investors, Ford left the company in 1902. In 1903 the Ford Motor Company was incorporated and received their financial support from 12 investors with Henry Ford and a coal dealer named Alexander Malcomson retaining 51% of the new company. Internal frictions with the investors eventually led to a falling out and Henry Ford purchased Malcomson's shares to gain full control and took over as Ford's president in 1906.

During the first few years, the company built a number of vehicle models from the Model A to Model K and the Model S. The process was slow with groups of skilled workers custom building each car individually. The early vehicles were expensive and Ford had a vision to create a vehicle that was affordable and practical for the average man. Ford soon developed and introduced the Model T which was assembled from made to order interchangeable components ordered from other companies. This allowed Ford to speed up production, fewer assembly labor hours, and most importantly a lower cost to the public.

The next big innovation for the Ford Motor Company came with the implementation of the assemble line concept. An assembly line is a series of workers and machines in a factory by which a succession of identical items is progressively assembled. This division of labor theory was first documented in Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations in 1776 and first mechanized in 1797 by Eli Whitney. The concept was introduced to Ford by William Klann who had the idea after visiting the Switch & Company's slaughterhouse in Chicago and particularly the disassembly line were animals were butchered as they moved on a conveyor. As a result, production increased by eight even less man power. What used to take 12 hours and 30 minutes was reduced to 1 hour and 33 minutes. Ford was able to have cars come off the assembly line in 3 minute intervals.

During the years of 1908 to 1915, the assembly line process did involve a lot of trial and error and open areas for further improvement. One of Henry Ford's famous quotes was that "any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black" and this was because a bottleneck was discovered at the painting stage. Only the Japan Black paint dried quickly enough and was the only color utilized until 1926 when Duco lacquer from DuPont produced fast drying colors. Complex safety procedures were also required to reduce or eliminate work place injuries. One of the safety solutions was to assign each worker to a specific location and not allow them to roam around. With the assembly line, labor demand was reduced and unskilled workers could be utilized as each worker only had a small task to repeat over and over. This led to a high turnover of employees which created delays and additional costs for training or slow workers. Ford solved this by increasing pay and decreasing work hours. The term 'Fordism' was used and was the idea of providing higher wages to create higher efficiency.

The assembly line at Ford was a crucial part of American society and providing affordable automobiles. The decreased cost of production allowed the cost of a Model T to fall in the budget levels of the American middle class. The manufacturing process and financial success of...
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