When you think of assembly lines, what’s the first industry to come to mind? If you know your history, you’ll probably think of the Ford Motor Company, which pioneered and perfected the art of the power-driven assembly line. Before the advent of the assembly line, most items were put together by a single individual or a group of individuals who put together objects one at a time. The assembly line made it possible for hundreds of people to work on a single piece of what would become multiple objects, achieving huge efficiencies in time and labor costs. Over time, machines began to replace workers for the most repetitive tasks.
At the height of Henry Ford’s car production boom, they could get a Model T from the start to the end of the assembly line in just 90 minutes. But today’s assembly lines – especially those which produce cars – have found that not everyone wants the same product in basic black. Consumers want more choices and options that make assembly-line production less efficient than it used to be.
Today, many companies continue to invest in and tweak assembly line production to save costs and improve efficiency. What many have found is that it’s more cost-efficient to replace some of those machines with skilled human workers again. Human workers can make tweaks and add custom options faster than machines, which would all have to be reprogrammed and recalibrated with every new work order. Companies are now looking for ways to make it safer and easier for people and machines to work side-by-side on assembly lines.
Additionally, advances have been made in how assembly lines are situated so that workers can better perform their tasks with reduced risk of injury. This more ergonomic assembly line not only reduces worker injury and downtime, but has also been shown to decrease turnover and absenteeism, two big blows to efficiency in assembly lines. Workers who are able to adjust their work stations to make work more comfortable have also been found to complete work more quickly and effectively.
At Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries, we have always known the value of putting people to work in our communities. There are simply some tasks that are better-performed by human hands. We offer opportunities for veterans and people with disabilities in our communities to take on fulfilling work while delivering quality, cost-effective results for small businesses who need assembly services. Come take a free tour of our facilities to see how Goodwill can work for you.