Henry Ford, Biz Hero #1
enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4.biz 10/12 from a Forbes Ariticle
Born 1863 (during Civil War) in Dearborn, Mich, he was even an Inventor as a boy and left home at 16 to work on mechanical equipment.
Creative Beginnings. In his 30’s, he worked his way up to become Thomas Edison’s chief engineer. In his spare time, he worked on his internal combustion Engine for 5 years, before it was ready to test. He didn’t plan well. He had to knock a bigger opening in his garage to get his car out. When Edison heard about Ford’s invention, he heartily praised him.
Racing for Dollars. Ford didn’t have enough money to launch his own car, so he worked at Oldmobile & Cadillac. A Ford Race Car was the way to distinguish his car from the hundreds of auto manufacturers. He built one that won it’s 1st race. This win brought in 12 Investors who helped Henry start Ford Motor Company.
Make it Simple, Sell it Cheap. When his first cars were too expensive to build and sell in quantity, he decided to create a low $$ car “for the common man”. It took him 2 yrs to design & build the (now famous) Model T. It was 50% lighter and easier to repair. He entered them into a NYC to Seattle race and his 2 Model T’s were the only cars to finish. That got attention and demand for his cars. To make the cars cheaper, he build a 62 acre factory that created parts from raw metal – which flowed into his 2 mile long assembly line. This reduced the typical industry assembly time from 12 to 5 hours. He doubled the hourly wages of his workers to reduce burnout and retain workers.
How to beat the competition. Ford could build his cars with 1/5 the workers of other manufacturers. Ford’s first cars sold for $575 (which was 1/5 of the industry average of around $3000). 2 years later $225, and 4 yrs later $99. Ford’s market share went from 10% to 60% during this time.
Camping. Henry Ford used to go camping with Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone (tires) & John Burroughs (Naturalist & Writer) – mostly in Michigan, but also Florida & California. Their typical trip was 4-6 Cars & Pickups and 8-10 Drivers, Cooks, & Fetchers. It was “Comfort Camping”. They even used a Lazy Susan.
Comment: Do you know any interesting Trivia on Henry Ford? Know of any of his Management Principles?