For example, the piston rod assembly. It was a very
simple operation. The foreman could not understand
why it should take three minutes. He analyzed the motions
with a stop watch. Four hours out of a day were
spent in walking, as the assembler gathered in his materials
and pushed away his finished work. The operation
was split into three parts, a slide was put on the
bench, three men on each side of it and an inspector at
the end. One man then performed only one third of the
operation without shifting his feet. Where twenty-eight
men had turned out 175 assemblies a day, now seven
men turned out 2,600.
Some of the repetitive work was so monotonous that
Ford himself wondered how a man could stick to it.
There was one man who did nothing but dredge small
gears in a vat of oil at the end of a rod and drop them
one at a time in a basket. This required neither intelligence
nor energy, yet he did that and nothing else for
eight years, saved his wages and resisted any attempt
to move him to another job, confirming Ford in the
opinion that "the average worker wants a job in which
he does not have to think."
Things are easier to understand when they are simple.