Is Honda Revolutionizing The Assembly Plant?
Honda’s Rethink of Ford’s Assembly Line
When Henry Ford pioneered the assembly line, a key innovation was dividing the work into no more than two tasks per worker.
This was because his employees could work faster if they only had a few tasks to keep track of, rather than multiple.
This made recruiting and training workers much easier, as well.
Honda is about give those age-old assumptions a run for their money, but on their own signature car: the Civic.
The new assembly approach debuted recently in Thailand.
This approach requires workers to handle the tasks of up to five workers at the same time!
Instead of working on every car that makes its way through the line, workers follow the same car all the way down the assembly line.
Honda dubs its new approach an “assembly revolution cell,” or ARC.
Honda says it is cheaper to install, requires less manpower, and operates more efficiently than a conventional line.
Parts and people ride on a disc-shaped platform that carries them around a U-shaped line, and workers get off at various points while riding down the line.
At the end they walk across to the starting point and climb aboard a disc for their next vehicle.
This new approach reduces unnecessary worker movement from line-side parts racks.
It divides the car into quarters for the teams, which as a result assigns one worker for all processes in a certain vehicle area.
This type of line increases efficiency by 10% over a conventional line!
Which makes sense.
Workers are doing work normally done by five people all at the same time.
Also, the workload of handling and transporting parts has been reduced by 10%.
The benefits really are endless.
ARC lines don’t require digging pits in the factory floor or installing car-hanging machinery, and cells can be added and taken away to adjust the line’s length and configuration.
The best part, however, may be that the purpose is not to cut the amount of workers.
By requiring fewer workers in production, more workers can be hired for areas such as product development.
It’s a big change that Henry Ford may not have been in favor of.
But it’s not the era of the Model T anymore.
It’s 2016, and we are all about being fast and efficient. And at Honda of Kenosha, we want what’s best for you, our customer.
If Honda can pull off individual workers handling the normal workload of five without sacrificing anything, and increasing efficiency by 10%, what’s to dislike about that?
Sorry Mr. Ford, but it looks like your time has come and gone.