In today’s world, knowledge is power. For the first time in history, that knowledge might be able to predict the future. It’s no wonder that executives are beginning to recognize that people analytics promises to be the fuel that drives an organization’s successful journey into the future.
Ironically, such a discussion about the future takes us back in time, a little over a century ago, when the Industrial Revolution started to shift into high gear. A mechanical engineer named Frederick Winslow Taylor had just published a book entitled The Principles of Scientific Management. One of Taylor’s biggest fans was automobile entrepreneur Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company.
Ford was a brilliant and successful businessman who created a demand for cars almost overnight. To keep pace with that demand, Ford had to come up with ways to manufacture more cars faster while keeping costs down. He hired Taylor, who applied his scientific management principles to the Ford production process. The rest is history.
With Taylor’s help, Ford managed to reduce average production time of a Model T from more than 12 hours to 2 hours and 30 minutes. Total production increased from 10,000 vehicles in one year (1908) to 10,000 vehicles in one day by 1924. He lowered the cost from $850 in 1908 to under $300 in 1925. Between 1913 and 1927, Ford factories produced more than 15 million Model Ts, 40% of all the cars sold in the United States.
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