November 13, 2013
The Modern Assembly Line: 100 Years Later
It has been 100 years since Henry Ford introduced the modern assembly line and forever changed the course of manufacturing. The combination of interchangeable parts and time-efficient processes created a system that eventually sold 15 million Model T Fords and made the automobile one of the centerpieces of American culture.
One hundred years later, the modern assembly line is still the main arm of the global manufacturing industry. Ford’s model has withstood the test of time and is still proving to be an efficient process. But it’s not done evolving yet.
Today, there are still many challenges facing manufacturing executives as they work to optimize the assembly line. The majority of these problems center on the speed and accuracy of production. Manufacturing facilities need to create quality products, and they need to do so in a time efficient manner. In order to keep the manufacturing process strong, executives must constantly innovate to reduce waste, speed up automated processes and ensure that enterprise quality management remains unhindered.
One of the most crucial methods of ensuring enterprise quality management is the ability to receive instant feedback on automated processes. Manufacturing executives cannot wait until a product is packaged and sent out to vendors in order to realize that the quality does not conform to expected standards. Now, using statistical process control software, assembly lines can be shut down in a timely fashion as soon as variation is detected on an assembly line.
Aside from providing instant feedback, today’s assembly line requires necessary technology for meeting the demands of a mobile workforce. Manufacturing executives are constantly on the go, and need access to data in real-time no matter where they are. Whether they are at a conference in Beijing or a manufacturing facility in Chicago, there is no time for latency when it comes to receiving feedback from the production line. With access to mobile technology, executives can receive streamlined information directly to mobile devices such as cell phones or tablets. This way, important decisions can be made using quality metrics in real time.
When it comes down to it, the modern assembly line simply needs more automation. It’s not enough for machines to simply measure processes and collect metrics. Metrics do not have any value unless they are usable by manufacturers—and this is a crucial step in the process. Today’s assembly line requires a catalyst that transforms quality metrics into usable information that can work to ensure product quality during an automated process—instead of finding out about a product’s quality after it is done.
Henry Ford’s assembly line used innovation to bring about change in the global manufacturing industry. If the global manufacturing industry wants to remain a competitive force over the next century, its success will depend heavily on the ability innovate. For more information on how InfinityQS ProFicient software can provide quality innovation in your manufacturing facility, please click here.