A value chain at work

This old footage (via egmCartTech) of the 1936 production process at Chevrolet’s plant in Flint, Michigan, shows a value chain at work – i.e., a process where value is added in small, repeatable, sequential steps. This is how many people still see companies…

It is notable for many things – the relative imprecision of the production (dents in parts being marked for later fixes), the simple design of the cars (two-box design built on a frame, soon to be overtaken by the monocoque design already introduced with Chryslers’ 1934 Airflow), and the notion of the human as the servant of the machine, doing simple things repetitively and to be attempted replaced by robots in the 70s and 80s as production became increasingly componentized. Toyota eventually introduced the Kan-Ban principle, where each worker is responsible for the quality control of previous work and can stop the process. But no wonder GM had quality problem as designs got more complex…

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