Essay on Ford and Flexible Manufacturing

1093 Words 5 Pages
The automotive industry is a highly competitive market where brand loyalty is only as strong as the latest gizmo and horsepower upgrade. The automotive assembly process, perfected by Henry Ford, was based on the simple principle that “customers can order a Model T in any color they wanted as long as it was black.” After the 1920’s the market witnessed new entrants with unheard of automobile features that ended Ford’s golden age. New automakers such as Buick, Chrysler, and Oldsmobile offered customers varying colors and styles that propelled sales. The automotive industry has grown in the United States from 4192 automobiles on the road in 1900 to 204 million in 2003. In an effort to regain brand loyalty Ford has embarked on an ambitious …show more content…
Corps pieces of equipment such as robotics, painting technologies, and welding systems must work in simultaneously and synchronously. At the Ford motor plant the process of manufacturing a F-150 begins with metal pallets with an RF tag that contains all the specification of the truck. If the machines making the truck detect an error conflicting with the FR tag the assembly process stops and a worker is called to resolve the issue. If the plant manager gets the word to halt production and begin making a different vehicle because of shifting customer demand only 20 percent of the hardware and software have to be replaced.
     One of the unexpected benefits Ford has encountered is a 25 percent drop in fasteners and other components needed to make automobiles. Moreover, Flexible manufacturing has had a major increase in parts stock levels. Suppliers receive six days worth of orders from Ford via satellite to ensure that suppliers know what will be assembled in the near future and they know what sequence order each truck will be made in ensuring the right parts arrive on time. The system is so accurate Ford says 999/1000 trucks started leave the assembly plant in the order they were received.
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