When ‘Just-In-Time’ Isn’t
For whatever you’re manufacturing, getting the right part at the right place, just in time is a great idea.
Henry Ford was the first
But Ford was a control-freak in the best sense of the word. He made absolutely everything except tires, and they came from Harvey Firestone, his good friend and camping companion, not all that far away.
Ford’s River Rouge plant is too long a story to tell here, but iron ore, coal and lumber came in by ship at the top, and finished automobiles came out at the bottom. In between was a steel mill that turned out the raw material for engines, transmissions, bodies, and miscellaneous metal parts. Wool fabrics were the end-product of Henry’s sheep farms and it included extensive woodworking and glassmaking facilities.
I had the pleasure of visiting Rouge sometime after I bought my Ford Mustang in 1965. The plant was 1.5 miles (2.4 km) wide by 1 mile (1.6 km) long, including 93 buildings with nearly 16 million square feet (1.5 km2) of factory floor space, a sight…