How Ford's Assembly Line Has Changed Over 100 Years [Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxjZ2VT9lFU]
One hundred years ago this month, the automaker Henry Ford stretched a 150-foot rope down the length of his manufacturing plant, attached it to a winch, and - voila - the moving assembly line was born.
Such an assembly line arose from the basic need to manufacture a product - in Ford's case, automobiles - fast enough to keep up with consumer demand. Up until 1913, the production of a car typically involved a team of skilled machinists who would build the model from the ground up.
The assembly line was innovative because it assigned a single task to each of the workers along the line. The workers repeated their tasks on each car that came down the assembly line. This format meant the worker didn't necessarily have to be a skilled machinist. Because the work often involved simply affixing a part to the body of the car, a worker with fewer skills could be hired.
In turn, more people could get employment and develop their skills on the job. In just a few weeks, the assembly line reduced the time it took to manufacture an automobile to three hours from 12. So why, you ask, am I dusting off this interesting piece of industrial history? Well, we live in the digital age, when bits and bytes of information can travel around global networks in seconds. Yet the moving assembly line, which is a century old, is nevertheless an innovation in progress.