Henry Ford the Father of Lean


Ford is sometimes known as the father of the automobile, but to me his enduring contribution is the fact that he is really the father of continuous flow.  In a sense he could be thought of as the father of Lean.

In my podcast today, I talk again with Mark Thompson covering the fascinating book by Henry Ford, “Today and Tomorrow”.

“Many of the ideas we call “just-in-time” came from the way Henry Ford organized his production process.  In 1926 it took his workers only 81 hours to go from iron ore to finished product.  Imagine it taking only three days and nine hours to produce an automobile.” –  Publisher’s Foreword – Productivity Press Portland, Oregon.

That is an amazing feat even by today’s standards.  Other concepts like parts standardization, continuously improving work methods, doubling workers wages and enlisting their hearts and not just their brawn, are what make this book a seminal work in understanding the history of production in America and the pursuit of Lean. 

Mark Thompson does a great job in bringing these and more topics out in our conversation together.