This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Henry Ford & Frederick W. Taylor: A Comparison of Methods and Principles
Ford’s Early Life Henry Ford was one of eight children of William and Mary Ford. He was born on the family farm near Dearborn, Michigan, then a town eight miles west of Detroit, on July 30, 1863. Abraham Lincoln was president of the 24 states of the Union, and Jefferson Davis was president of the 11 states of the Confederacy. Ford attended a one-room schoolhouse for eight years when he was not helping his father with the harvest. At age 16 he walked to Detroit to find work in its machine shops. After three years, during which he came in contact with the internal-combustion engine for the first time, he returned to the farm, where he worked part-time for the Westinghouse Engine Company and in spare moments tinkered in a little machine shop he set up. Eventually he built a small “farm locomotive,” a tractor that used an old mowing machine for its chassis and a homemade steam engine for power. Ford moved back to Detroit nine years later as a married man. His wife Clara Bryant, had grown up on a farm not far from Ford’s. They were married 1888, and on November 6, 1893, she gave birth to there only child, Edsel Bryant. A month later Ford was made chief Engineer at the main Detroit Edison Company plant with responsibility for maintaining electric service in the city 24 hours a day. Because he was on call at all times, he had no regular hours and could experiment to his heart’s content. He had determined several years before to build a gasoline-powered vehicle, and his first working gasoline
2 engine was completed at the end of 1893. By 1896 he had completed his first horseless carriage, the “Quadricycle,” so called because the chassis of the four-horsepower vehicle was a buggy frame mounted on four bicycle wheels. Unlike many other automotive inventors, including Charles Edgar and J. Frank Duryea, Elwood Hayes, Hiram Percy Maxim, and his Detroit acquaintance Charles Brady King, all of whom had built selfpowered vehicles before Ford but who held on to their creations. Ford sold his to finance work on a second vehicle, and a third, and so on. During the next seven years he had various backers, some of whom, in 1899, formed the Detroit Automobile Company (later the Henry Ford Company), but all eventually abandoned him in exasperation because they wanted a passenger car to put on the market while Ford insisted on improving whatever model he was working on, saying that it was not yet ready for customers. He built several racing cars during these years, including the “999” racer driven by Barney Oldfield, and set several new speed records. In 1902 he left the Henry Ford Company, which subsequently reorganized as the Cadillac Motor Car Company. Finally, in 1903, Ford was ready to market an automobile. The Ford company was incorporated, this time with a mere $28,000 in cash put up by ordinary citizens, for Ford had, in previous dealings with backers, antagonized the wealthiest men in Detroit. Taylor’s Early Life Frederick W. Taylor was born in Philadelphia, PA, March 20, 1856. Taylor was the son of a lawyer. He entered Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire in 1872, Ford's Quadricycle
3 where he led his class scholastically. After passing the entrance examination at Harvard, he was forced to abandon plans for matriculation, as his eyesight had deteriorated from night study. With sight restored in 1875, he was apprenticed to learn the trades of patternmaker and machinist at the Enterprise Hydraulic Works in Philadelphia. Three years later he went to the Midvale Steel Company, where, starting as a machine shop laborer, he became successively shop clerk, machinist, gang boss, foreman, maintenance foreman, head of the drawing office, and chief engineer. In 1881, at 25, he introduced time study at the Midvale plant. The profession of time study was founded on the success of this project, which also formed the basis of Taylor’s subsequent theories of management science. Comparison of Their Early Lives Ford was born into a farm family of the Midwest and Taylor was the son of a Lawyer, born in East. This may be why Ford sort wealth and Taylor seemed more interested in academics, although they accomplished both. Ford had no education other than what he learned in the one room schoolhouse. Taylor attended the Phillips Exeter Academy, where his intelligence was made clear, accepted into Harvard, but was unable to attend. Both Ford and Taylor worked in machine shops and were machinists. Ford was an industrialist and Taylor was a scientist, although Taylor held over forty patents of his own.
1863 1856 Taylor’s life span
Ford’s life span 1915
Ford The Assembly line. Though prototypes of the assembly line can be traced to antiquity, the true ancestor of this industrial technique was the 19th-century meatpacking plant in Cincinnati, Ohio, and in Chicago, where overhead trolleys were connected to convey carcasses from worker to worker. When these trolleys were connected with chains and power was used to move the carcasses past the workers at a steady pace, they formed a true assembly line. Stationary workers concentrated on one task, performing it at a pace dictated by the machine, minimizing unnecessary movement, and dramatically increasing production. Drawing upon observations of the meatpacking industry, Henry Ford designed an assembly line that began operation in 1913. The result was a remarkable reduction of manufacturing time for magneto flywheels from 20 minutes to five minutes. This success stimulated Ford to apply the technique to the chassis assembly. Under the old system, by which parts were carried to a stationary assembly point, 12.5 man-hours were required for each chassis. Using a rope to pull the chassis past stockpiles of components, Ford cut labor time to six man-hours. With improvements—a chain drive to power the assembly line, stationary locations for the workmen, and workstations designed for convenience and comfort—assembly time fell to 93 man-minutes by the end of April 1914. Interchangeable Parts and Machine Tools. The material basis for mass production was laid by the development of the machine-tool Early Assembly Line
5 industry—that is, the making of machines to make machines. Though some basic devices such as the woodworking lathe had existed for centuries, their translation into industrial machine tools cabable of cutting and shaping hard metals to precise tolerances was brought about by a series of 19-century innovators, first in Britain and later in the U.S. With precision equipment, large numbers of identical parts could be produced at a low cost with a small work force. Although Ford did not invent interchangeable parts, he certainly put this method to good use. His automobile manufacturing facilities could not have functioned without it. Could you imagine having to file down each part by hand and fit it to the area in which it applied? Analysis of Operations into Constituent Parts. This was a method of breaking down complex jobs into smaller parts allowing unskilled labor to be able to carry out the job with little training or experience. This also reduced production cost by lowering wages. This allowed the management to replace workers easily. Ford now had the ability to hire almost anyone, including immigrants who spoke little English. This separation of simplified operations was necessary in order to carry out the steps needed to make the assembly line work. Taylor Time and Motion Study. In Taylor’s view, the task of factory management was to determine the way for the worker to do the job, to provide the proper tools and training, and to provide incentives for good performance. Taylor broke down each job into its constituent motions, analyzed these to see which were essential, and timed the workers with a stopwatch. With superfluous motion eliminated, the worker, following a
6 machinelike routine, became much more productive. In some cases, Taylor recommended a further division of labor, delegating some tasks, such as sharpening tools, to specialists. The great precision of the Ford conveyor belt operation was made possible by these time and motion studies pioneered by Taylor. Work at Midvale Steel. Taylor suggested that production efficiency in a shop or factory could be greatly enhanced by close observation of the individual worker and elimination of waste time and motion in his operation. Though the Taylor system provoked resentment and opposition from labor when carried to extremes, its value in rationalizing production was indisputable and its impact on development of massproduction techniques immense. In 1884 Taylor became chief engineer at Midvale and completed the design and construction of a novel machine shop. But soon after he resigned his post at Midvale to become general manager of the Manufacturing Investment Company. Was Ford Using Taylor’s Principles In 1881 Taylor began his time and motion studies at Midvale Steel. Some 33 years later in 1914, the model T began to role out of Ford’s state of the art automobile plant. Much of Taylor’s work can be seen in the operation of the assembly line and many of Ford’s operations. Whether Ford new he was using Taylor’s methods, or would admit it, is unknown. I can not find any references that Taylor was in contact with Ford.
Effects on Upper Management
Ford’s Effect and Treatment of Upper Management The executive structure of the Ford Motor Company was a de facto structure. The lines of command which emanated from Ford’s position were the radii of so many
7 concentric circles. They could be arbitrarily retracted or extended and the rational for either decision as often as not was grounded in Ford’s “philosophy of conflict.” He constantly played man against man. Mr. Ford’s idea was that both men would work much harder because if one man lagged he would soon loose status…He would give one of the men a job to do and at a later date he would give the other man a job along the same lines and before long they would realize they were both working on the same job. Conflict, Ford believed, was the most effective way not only of stimulating competitive effort but of sorting out weak executives who were no use to the company. Ford refused to accept or even to acknowledge the necessities of organization. He didn’t believe in administration. He didn’t believe in a big organization. He wanted to be the whole cheese and everything had to go through his hands first. Ford objected greatly if he wasn’t informed on something. How Scientific Management Effected Upper Management “No one bricklayer, then, can work much faster than the one next to him. Nor has any one workman the authority to make other men cooperate with him to do faster work. It is only through enforced standardization of methods, enforced adoption of the best implements and working conditions, and enforced cooperation that this faster work can be assured. And the duty of enforcing the adoption of standards and of enforcing this cooperation rests with the management alone. The management must supply continually one or more teachers to show each new man the new and simpler motions, and the slower men must be constantly watched and helped until they have risen to their proper speed. All of those who, after proper teaching, either will not or can not work in accordance with the new methods at the higher speed must be discharged by the management. The
8 management must also recognize the broad fact that workman will not submit to this more rigid standardization and will not work extra hard, unless they receive extra pay for doing it. The management must also see that those who prepare bricks and the mortar and adjust the scaffold, etc., for the bricklayers, cooperate with them by doing their work just right and always on time; and must also inform each bricklayer at frequent intervals as to the progress he is making, so that he may not unintentionally fall off in his pace. Thus it will be seen that it is the assumption by the management of new duties and new kinds of work never done by employers in the past that makes this great improvement possible, and that, without this new help from the management, the workman even with full knowledge of the methods and with the best of intentions could not attain these startling results.” (From The Principles of Scientific Management, Taylor, 1911, p.83) Comparison—Contrast It is clear to see from the above sections that Ford liked to run his company as a dictatorship. His managers were not able to make decisions on their own, even if it may have been in the best interest of the company. Running a company as large as the Ford Motor Company in this manner may have been a mistake on Ford’s part, however great an industrialist he may have been. Taylor, on the other hand, believed that management should be committed to the common worker. Taylor believed that his improved methods of work performance would not take place without the marriage of management and worker.
Treatment of Laborers
Five-dollar a Day Pay Rate The five-dollar day had been the keystone of the arch leading to Ford’s ideal factory. From Zanzibar to Peru, men heard of it who knew nothing else of what the Ford Motor Company was doing. They learned that Ford had nearly doubled wages while reducing hours from 9 to 8. But when the world convulsion began, what would happen to wages and hours. Inflation, mild at first, became almost uncontrollable after the United States entered World War I. By the end of 1918 the cost of living index in Detroit stood 78% above the level of early 1914. In other words, the real value of the $5 wage had shrunk to $2.80, little better than the Announcement of $5 day
$2.35 average paid in 1913. Although nearly all elements of society suffered from inflation, middle class salary workers being especially hard hit, and although the government had tried to put a brake on wartime wage increases, the Ford Company saw that it must act. Some groups of employees were worse off than before the celebrated increase. A skilled mechanic in the category which in 1913 was paid $3.42 a day, for example, by the end of 1918 received $5, with a 1914 purchasing power of only $2.80. Indeed, highly trained workers, such as tools-makers became difficult to hire and keep during the war, for they could get better wages elsewhere than in Ford employ.
10 Employee Saving Plan One benefit to the workers in which Ford took great pride was the introduction at the beginning of 1920 of a generous employees’ savings plan. Investment certificates, comparable to non-voting preferred stock in the company, were prepared in denominations of $100. Any employee could buy them as long as he stayed on the payroll. They yielded 6% guaranteed interest, with such additional dividends as company directors might think as warranted. In spite of a provision that they were non-negotiable and non-assignable, they were clearly a desirable investment. Current purchases were limited to 1/3 of an employee’s pay, to which he might add all his bonus, and his interest and dividends. Nobody could withdraw money from bank accounts or other investments to buy certificates. This plan in general form was maintained until September, 1941, and existing accounts were then permitted to draw interest until 1947, when they were all liquidated. It was an unequivocal success. How Taylor’s Time and Motion Study Affected Laborers Taylor regarded his movement as “scientific” because he attempted to apply scientific principles and measurements to the work process. Many previous advances in manufacturing had been made by applying scientific principles to machines in order to make them more efficient, and, through his minute subdivision of labor, Taylor sought to do the same to the work process itself. This scientific approach, however, neglected the human element, so that Taylor in effect converted the work process from a relationship between worker and machine into a relationship between two machines. Scientific management theorists assumed that workers desired to be used efficiently, to perform their work with minimum effort, and to receive more money. They
11 also took for granted that workers would submit without question to standardization of physical movements and though processes. Their systems, however, ignored human feelings and motivations, leaving the worker dissatisfied with the job. Furthermore, some employers omitted the altruistic elements in Taylor’s system and employed time and motion studies to set high norms of production and speed up the production line while still keeping wages down. In the decade after 1910, when the principles of scientific management were being applied wholesale in U.S. industry, union opposition arose. Though the unions approved more efficient production arising form better machinery and management, they condemned the speedup practice and complained in particular that Taylorism deprived workers of a voice in the conditions and functions of their work. Complaints were also made that the system caused irritability and fatigue along with physiological and neurological damage among workers. Misuse of the human element in production was causing both declines in quality and productivity. Industrial engineers then faced the problem of motivating the worker so that the combination of human labor and machine technology would achieve its fullest potential. A partial solution came form the social sciences, and, in the process, industrial psychology emerged.
Ford’s Campaign for U.S. Senate Political feeling, high even during W.W.I, became bitter as the end approached. The republicans in 1918 were determined to wrest control of congress from the Democrats. Party leaders on both sides looked about for the strongest candidates. To President Wilson, bent on
12 achieving American leadership in the league of nations, the Senate was of paramount importance in peace making. Every seat would count. Although Michigan was traditionally Republican, one Wilson man could possible be elected there—Henry Ford. Naturally the president and his friends turned to Ford. Josephus Daniels had been trying to overcome Ford’s reluctance to run. “Bring him over to the White House,” Wilson told Daniels, “and I’ll see what I can do.” When Ford came, the President gave him a hearty handshake. “Mr. Ford,” he said, “we are living in difficult times—times when men must sacrifice themselves for their country. I would give anything on earth if I could lay down this job that I am trying to do, but I must carry on…You are the only man in Michigan who can be elected and help to bring about peace you so much desire. I wish you therefor to overcome your personal feelings and interests and make the race.” Ford had gone to Washington reluctant but open to suasion, for the office tempted him. Next day the newspapers announced his consent, with a statement that he wished to do everything possible to assist the President. After the primaries, Truman Newberry became the Republican candidate, and Ford the Democratic candidate. The race became bitter when Newberry accused Ford of using his influence to keep his son Edsel out of the war. As the party battle rose to a climax, Ford’s friend Harvey Firestone sent a competent attorney, Bernard M. Robinson, into Michigan to help knit the Democratic forces together and put some fight into them. Democratic speakers and editors, meanwhile, denounced Newberry for his excessive primary expenditures, and in mid-September Senator Atlee Pomerene of Ohio gained national attention by a resolution for a Senate investigation. With a dark scandal gathering
13 around Newberry’s name, Democratic advertisements pressed strongly the charge of corruption. On election day, Newberry won by a narrow margin. On the face of the returns, Michigan gave him 220,054 votes against 212,487 for Ford. The heavy Detroit vote for Ford, who carried Wayne County by more than 35,000 votes, had been expected, but his strong showing in the upper peninsula was surprising. Taylor’s Testimony Before the Special House Committee One contemporary study showed by 1912 there were 60 Taylor and 200 Emerson systems in use, that production went up 100 percent at Midvale Steel, 50 to 75 percent at Bethlehem Steel and on the Santa Fe Railroad, 250 percent at Tabor, and 200 percent at Link Belt. All this happened without widespread turmoil or displaced workers and was seen as beneficial by management and labor alike. Nevertheless, organized union opposition mounted. Taylorism became a lightning rod for one of the greatest social struggles of all time. The Watertown strike attracted so much attention that Congress at the end of 1911 ordered an investigation of charges that workers were mistreated under scientific management. Union leaders badgered Taylor mercilessly during his four days as a witness. The pro-union committee chairman refused to let him define what he meant by first-class man, insisting on the implication that only a few exceptional people could ever hold jobs under his system. The panel concluded that there was no evidence that scientific management abused workers. It added that it was too soon to evaluate effects on health, pay, and labor costs. It proposed no legislation. Still, anti-Taylor forces used the hearings as a lever to prohibit the
14 Army or Navy from spending money on systematizing. Thus ending the first attempt, quite successful until then, to make government agencies more efficient.
Ford’s Final Years In 1918 Ford bought a newspaper, The Dearborn independent, and in it published a series of scurrilous attacks on the “International Jew,” a mythical figure he blamed for financing the war; in 1927 he formally retracted his attacks and sold the paper. He gave old-fashioned dances at which capitalists, European royalty, and company executives were introduced to the polka, the Sir Roger de Coverly, the mazurka, the Virginia reel, and the quadrille; he established small village factories; he built one-room schools in which vocational training was emphasized; he experimented with soybeans for food and durable goods; he sponsored a radio hour in which quaint essays were read to “plain folks”; he constructed Greenfield Village, a restored rural town; and he built what was later named the Henry Ford Museum and filled it with American artifacts and antiques from the era of his youth When American society was almost wholly agrarian. In short, he was a man who baffled even those who had the opportunity to observe him close at hand, all except James Couzens, Ford’s business manager from the founding of the company until his resignation in 1915, who always said, “You cannot analyze genius and Ford is a genius.” Ford died at his home on April 7, 1947, exactly 100 years after his father had left Ireland for Michigan. His holdings in Ford stock went to the Ford Foundation, which had been set up in 1936 as a means of retaining family control of the firm and which subsequently became the richest private foundation in the world.
15 Taylor’s Final Years Taylor retired at the age of 45 but continued to devote time and money to promote the principles of scientific management through lectures at universities and professional societies. From 1904 to 1914, with his wife and three adopted children, Taylor lived in Philadelphia. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers elected him president in 1906, the same year he was awarded honorary doctor of science degree at the University of Pennsylvania. Many of his influential publications first appeared in the Transactions of that society, namely, “Notes on Belting” (1894); “A Piece-rate System” (1895); “Shop Management” (1903); and “On The Art of Cutting Metals” (1906). The Principles of Scientific Management was published commercially in 1911. Taylor’s fame increased after his testimony before the Special House Committee. Considering himself a reformer, he continued expounding the ideals and principles of his system of management until his death in 1915. Scientific Management Still Works If the proof is in the pudding, consider New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) in Fremont, CA, a joint venture between General Motors and Toyota. Paul Adler of the University of California School of Business Administration had this to say after a two-year study of the plant. “It has succeeded in employing an innovative form of Taylor’s time-and-motion regimentation on the factory floor not only to create world-class productivity and quality but also to increase worker motivation and satisfaction. What’s more, NUMMI’s intensely Taylorist procedures appear to encourage rather than discourage organizational learningand, therefor, continuous improvement…Yet by far the most striking advantage of standardized work is that it gives continuos improvement a
16 specific base to build on. As one manager put it, ‘You can’t improve a process you don’t understand.’ In this case, standardization is essential precondition for learning…The difference between traditional Taylorism and the learning orientated NUMMI version resembles the difference between computer software designed to be ‘idiot proof’ and the kinds of computer systems that are meant to leverage and enhance their users’ capabilities…The idiot proof system may be easy to use, but it is also static and boring. Leveraging systems make demands on the operator. They take time to learn and require thought and skill to use, but they are immensely flexible, responsive, and satisfying once mastered…Taylorist time-and-motion discipline and formal bureaucratic structures are essential for efficiency and quality in routine operations. But these principles of organizational design need not lead to rigidity and alienation. NUMMI points the way beyond Taylor-as-villain to the design of a truly learning-orientated bureaucracy.”
Don’t Throw Scientific Management Out With the Bathwater, Freeman, Michael G., Quality Progress, April, 1996 Ford: Expansion and Challenge: 1915-1933, Nevins, Allan; Hill, Frank E., 1957 “Henry Ford” Britannica Online, http://www.eb.com:180/cgi-bin/g?DocF=macro/5002/40.html “History of the Organization of Work: Organization of work in the industrial age” Britannica Online, http://www.eb.com:180/cgi-bin/g?DocF=macro/5006/66/5.html “History of the Organization of Work: Organization of work in the industrial age: SOPHISTICATION OF MASS PRODUCTION” Britannica Online,
17 http://www.eb.com:180/cgi-bin/g?DocF=macro/5006/66/7.html “ Industrial Engineering and Production Management: Production systems: MASS PRODUCTION: Pioneers of mass production methods.” Britannica Online, http://www.eb.com:180/cgi-bin/g?DocF=macro/5003/8/5.html “Mass Production” Britannica Online, http://www.eb.com: 180/cgi-bin/g?DocF=micro/379/97.html Productive Workplaces, Weisbord, Marvin R., 1987 Scientific Management, Taylor, Frederick W., 1972 “Taylor, Frederick W.” Britannica Online, http://www.eb.com:180/cgi-bin/g?DocF=micro/584/40.html “Taylorism: (F.W. Taylor & Scientific Management)” Britannica Online, http://www.quality.org/TQM-MSI/taylor.html “Time-and-Motion Study” Britannica Online, http://www.eb.com:180/cgi-bin/g?DocF=micro/594/88.html The First Henry Ford: A Study in Personality and Business Leadership, Jardim, Anne, 1970
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.