Ford motors is a household name for people in America and around the world. The man who started it all, Henry Ford, is equally well known. However, the accomplishments and legacy of Ford go far beyond what most know off the top of their head. Every employee today has some function of their job inspired by Henry Ford as he assembled a career built on innovation and independent thinking.
What is important to note is that the pathway to success is often not a straight line. Ford came to know this concept well, as he had experience working within many companies with varying levels of success. What started with a love for the mechanics of steam engines turned into slowly mastering his trade and working his way into bigger rooms. He was even once encouraged to continue his work by none other than Thomas Edison.
It all paid off at the age of 40, in 1903, when the Ford Motor company was incorporated. Ford’s vision to design an inexpensive automobile culminated in 1908 when they finally debuted the infamous Model T. Despite the Model T being designed very differently from previous cars before it, the price and simplicity of the vehicle made it irresistible to the American people. In just ten years, over half the cars in America were Model Ts. It wasn’t long before demand became so large that it inspired Ford to simplify the production process with conveyor belts — sparking the world of modern manufacturing.
This age-old story of automobile genius was accompanied by a knack for company dynamics. Ford pioneered instituting a $5 minimum wage per day ($130 today) for everyone that worked within his company. He even went on to institute the 40-hour, 5-day work week, being one of the first companies to not have people working every day. This concept, known as “welfare capitalism”, was Ford’s bread and butter — as he understood that happy workers were more productive workers. On top of that, Ford also pioneered profit sharing with long-term employees, another common practice today for large companies.
Even into his later years, Ford could not even read a proper blueprint. He wasn't known for his classical training, but rather pure innovation and perseverance in the automobile industry and business beyond. The rest is history for the Ford Motor Company, as they continue to be one of the top car manufacturers in the world. But it all started for the Ford Motor Company and companies beyond with a man who decided to do things differently. There are few people that understand the concept of progress as well as Henry Ford.
Coming together is a beginning; is progress; working together is success. — Henry Ford
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