Everyone knows about Henry Ford right? He revolutionised the car manufacturing industry by introducing the assembly line during the early 1900’s.
Now the Ford company is again a trend setter in the car manufacturing world. Speaking to BusinessGreen on the sidelines of the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco, Mike Tinskey, director of vehicle electrification at the Ford, said the firm was planning to “de-risk” the rollout of the new model by using an innovative “build-to-order” similar to that pioneered by PC manufacturer Dell. At the moment only the Electric version of the Ford Focus will be manufactured this way.
At this stage the newly adopted way of manufacturing is more out of need than out of principle, but it’s a start of something that could go a long way. Build-to-order could be the first steps towards a manufacturing process that only produces what we actually need. It could also mean that cars could be manufactured to your specific needs creating cars that are unique. New manufacturing methods like 3D printing could play a big role to aid this way of producing cars.
It would be interesting to see if Ford rolls this out to the rest of its line of cars or that this will be just a short term solution for Electric Vehicle market that the car manufacturers find hard to predict. And if they do take this further, whether other car manufacturers will follow its lead.
Of course, Henry Ford is famous for saying: “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black”. Let’s hope that Ford doesn’t go back to that mentality.