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Henry Ford

Henry Ford in 1919 (courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Henry Ford (July 30, 1863 – April 7, 1947) is the man most widely known as the founder of Ford, and as the man who invented the moving assembly line. While the first is true, the second common belief is a bit inaccurate. Ford actually popularized the moving assembly line; he didn’t invent it. There were numerous other examples of moving assembly lines prior to Henry Ford’s 1908 line producing the Model T.

In fact, Henry Ford was not even the first to mass produce automobiles in the US. Ransom Olds (of Oldsmobile) beat him to the punch in that area. Henry Ford was just the more successful, primarily because of his relentless attack on waste.

Henry Ford’s relentless continuous improvement efforts enabled him to produce the Model T at an extremely low price. This affordability changed the automobile from a luxury item for the rich to a purchase attainable by the masses, forever changing the way people worked and lived.

Henry Ford was one of the inspirations for Taiichi Ohno, an early pioneer of the Toyota Production System, and considered by many to be the founder of modern Lean.

References: The image of Henry Ford is public domain, and was obtained from Wikimedia Commons.

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