Old Model T Production Line Video


    YouTube – Ford Model T – 100 Years Later

    A bit of manufacturing and Lean history here…. since Henry Ford's writings and practices helped influence Toyota and the development of the Toyota Production System. Many of Henry Ford's methods seem “Lean” although the company got away from those practices over time (as Jim Womack mentioned in the BBC audio I posted on Monday).

    In this video, they talk about “mass production” — but you see great flow and production flexibility. Many different body styles, variations of the Model T, are seen coming off the line in apparent “ABCABD” type heijunka sequencing (or the video is just staged that way). Is this Lean? There appeared to be no “batching” of the production (“AAABBBCCDD”).

    You also see video of Henry Ford himself having to give a door a little push as the narrator says “it hadn't gone through final assembly quality control yet” — not Lean! Where was the built-in quality?

    There's also some amazing video of Model T's basically off-roading like a Range Rover! Since roads and driving conditions were horrible in that day, the Model T had to be designed accordingly for those conditions.

    Anyway, it's sort of a neat video:

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    Mark Graban
    Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


    1. The Model T was, indeed, amazing. I likewise noticed the reference to end-line QC. I’m sure some manufacturers today remain in that mind-set.

      Funny how my wife’s 2003 Camry with 50,000 miles is more quiet than my son’s newer Cadillac. Maybe that shows the difference between end-line QC and built in quality. Toyotas are handed down through families and some are still on the road with 300,000 miles on them.

    2. Awesome video! Thanks, Mark. 15 million Model T’s–didn’t know that many were produced. Watching the video gave me renewed admiration for Henry Ford’s achievements, both his impacts on society and advancements in technology.


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