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The key for mass production was not the moving assembly line. It was the complete interchangeability of parts and the simplicity of attaching them to each other. These were the innovations that made the assembly line possible. Taken together, they gave Ford tremendous advantage over his competitors.
Ford's first efforts to assemble his cars, beginning in 1903, were to set up assembly stands on which a whole car was built. Each assembler performed many jobs on one car and had to get the necessary parts for it.
The first step Ford took to make this process more efficient was to deliver the parts to each* work station. Now each assembler remained in the same place all day. Later in 1908 Ford decided that each assembler would perform only one task and move around the factory from car to car. In 1913 cars were placed on a moving assembly line. Each assembler performed one task only and remained stationary. This innovation cut cycle time from 2.3 minutes to 1.19 minutes, thus dramatically improving productivity.
Ford's discovery simultaneously reduced the amount of human effort needed to assemble an automobile. What is more, the more vehicles Ford produced, the more the Cost per vehicle fell. In the early 1920s Ford produced 2 million identical vehicles» a year.
Ford's mass production was adopted in almost every industrial
activity in America and Europe. •*
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