Browse Definitions :
Definition

assembly line

Contributor(s): Kaitlin Herbert

An assembly line is a production methodology that breaks a process down into discrete steps that are executed in an iterative manner. Assembly line production has its roots in manufacturing and is often associated with Henry Ford and the mass production of automobiles.

Ford’s inspiration for moving to a continuous-flow production methodology likely came from several food-related industries, but is often credited to his observation of how disassembly lines were used in the meatpacking industry at the turn of last century. Ford observed that workers in meat plants remained in a stationary position performing the same small task over and over, while the product – in this case, an animal carcass – did the moving. Because workers were only responsible for one small task, plant managers could hire unskilled workers and when necessary, replace them quite easily.

As a result of what he learned, Henry Ford and his managers changed how Ford automobiles were manufactured and used four guiding principles to reduce manufacturing costs:

  • Create a division of labor
  • Reduce wasted effort
  • Use interchangeable parts
  • Manufacture in a continuous flow

In 1908, the Ford Motor Company introduced the moving assembly line and successfully reduced production time for a single car from over 12 hours to just 93 minutes. The change in manufacturing also process significantly decreased the assembly time per vehicle and increased the profit margin for each car.

Ford's manufacturing principles have been adopted by countless other industries. Today, assembly lines are common methods of assembling complex items such as transportation equipment, household appliances and electronic goods. Assembly lines and the manufacturing industry continue to evolve with technological innovations like labor automation3-D printing and machine learning

This was last updated in February 2017

Continue Reading About assembly line

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

  • compliance as a service (CaaS)

    Compliance as a Service (CaaS) is a cloud service service level agreement (SLA) that specified how a managed service provider (...

  • data protection impact assessment (DPIA)

    A data protection impact assessment (DPIA) is a process designed to help organizations determine how data processing systems, ...

SearchSecurity

  • identity theft

    Identity theft, also known as identity fraud, is a crime in which an imposter obtains key pieces of personally identifiable ...

  • cybercrime

    Cybercrime is any criminal activity that involves a computer, networked device or a network.

  • cybersecurity insurance (cybersecurity liability insurance)

    Cybersecurity insurance, also called cyber liability insurance or cyber insurance, is a contract that an entity can purchase to ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • disaster recovery plan (DRP)

    A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a documented, structured approach that describes how an organization can quickly resume work ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • disaster recovery team

    A disaster recovery team is a group of individuals focused on planning, implementing, maintaining, auditing and testing an ...

SearchStorage

  • logical unit number (LUN)

    A logical unit number (LUN) is a unique identifier for designating an individual or collection of physical or virtual storage ...

  • NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF)

    NVMe over Fabrics, also known as NVMe-oF and non-volatile memory express over fabrics, is a protocol specification designed to ...

  • CIFS (Common Internet File System)

    CIFS (Common Internet File System) is a protocol that gained popularity around the year 2000, as vendors worked to establish an ...

Close