The intersection of technology and leadership

Experimentation and Learning lead to Ford’s production line insight

I find it slightly ironic how the learning and experimenting philosophy so heavily emphasised in the lean world ultimately produced, what is considered the opposite approach inspired by the Ford production line.

“…when Henry Ford and his team developed the production line, they didn’t just sit down and deductively theorize about it on paper. nor did they merely try random experiments. Instead, they used a bit of both. … Armed with a set of deductive hypotheses, Ford began experimenting with different configurations of his plant between 1908 and 1912. After four years of tinkering, in 1913 he struck on the key insight that the car itself should move along the production line rather than the workers…” – From Chapter 12 of the Origins of Wealth by Eric D Beinhocker.

1 Comment

  1. Different contexts, different results. Henry Ford had a very different environment – lower-education workers, less automation, and far less (zero) robotic support.

    The real irony is that this learning and experimenting philosophy got morphed, over time, into a very iron-clad culture – one that still tried to learn and experiment, but in a very restricted context (namely, speeding up the production line)

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