A Washington DC Lean Tour: Part 4 — Early Manufacturing
Continuing on the tour (click here for previous stops), we step back into the National Museum of American History, where they had some fantastic displays of early American manufacturing.
One display case featured the rifles from the Harpers Ferry Armory, probably made around 1840.
The production process became famous for the use of “interchangable parts,” a concept we take for granted today. Before this advance, items were manufacturing as “one off” or unique items, with pieces being filed and customized to fit only that particular rifle. With advances in gauges and quality techniques, “identical” rifles could be built, where if there was a problem in battle, parts from one rifle could confidently be used to repair another rifle.
Here is a picture of some of the gauges used by workers at Harpers Ferry, along with a sign explaining more:
Even with the technological advance, the factory had management problems. It seems that the management approach was brought over from the military, a strict command and control structure. The workers, used to being in the “craft” system where individual workmanship was more important and structure and control, rebelled. The writer of new work rules was shot (!!!) and petitions were sent to Washington asking for change.
What work conditions did workers want to maintain? “Setting their own hours, taking frequent holidays, and drinking whiskey on the job.”
More to come…
Click here for the final stop in the tour, Stop #5.
Please check out my main blog page at www.leanblog.org
The RSS feed content you are reading is copyrighted by the author, Mark Graban.
, , , on the author's copyright.
What do you think? Scroll down to comment or share your thoughts and the post on social media. Don't want to miss a post or podcast? Subscribe to get notified about posts via email daily or weekly.
- Damon Baker on Lean, Private Equity, and the Ownership Works Initiative - September 28, 2022
- Reading About Lean at GE in Italy Makes Me Hungry for Pizza, While Savoring Employee Empowerment - September 27, 2022
- Can You SEE Culture in a Workplace? What Do These Artifacts Say to You? - September 27, 2022