DEARBORN - On October 7, 2013, Ford Motor Company will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the innovation that has had the single largest impact on manufacturing, the auto industry and society as a whole— Henry Ford’s moving assembly line.
Not only did the moving assembly line drastically increase the pace at which Ford vehicles were produced, it also drove down the price of each car, making them even more accessible to the larger population.
Bringing the product to the worker instead of moving various teams of workers to the product became the idea that overhauled the manufacturing industry as a whole. A new standard had taken over making it possible to generate more products and greater income through mass production.
Oakville Assembly is proud to be celebrating 60 years of this tradition as well. We have seen the assembly line adapt and we have witnessed innovations as we continue to automate processes and introduce new technology.
The first vehicle rolled off the Oakville Assembly line on May 11, 1953, and with that began the tradition of building quality vehicles for the local, and now global community.
One of the biggest changes at Oakville Assembly over this time is delivery process and material flow. The managing and tracking of inventory to and from the plant, and onto the line continually evolves. There have been internal improvements made by the facility and the company, as well as changes made by suppliers.
Before introducing just-in-time delivery you would see inventory on hand for up to a week. Today, we have up to 800 transport trucks rolling in and out of the facility, no small feat with the plant located in the middle of the GTA, and two trains running through Body 1 daily. More than 7,000 parts are delivered to our production operators as they need them. Currently parts and supplies are on hand for only 1.3 days—this allows for improved efficiency since we are able to effectively track our inventory and adapt to changes as needed.
Just-in-time delivery of parts has built on Henry Ford’s idea of “bringing the product to the worker.” We are now able to deliver parts to the production operators with more accuracy to help with quality throughput.
The new delivery method also has environmental benefits. Reusable containers are used for the majority of parts and supplies today, saving both cost and waste.
To celebrate the October 7th anniversary, Ford will release several stories, images and videos commemorating the history of the moving assembly line. All will be available via at.ford.com, media.ford.com and/or the company’s social media channels.