Who was Hank the "Disrupter"


No, not Vlad the Impaler, but Hank the Disrupter. This too was not his ring name in case you were wondering. The story begins back in 1908, but really gets interesting after 1913.So what did he do? He destroyed his competition by disrupting the accepted dogmatism for car manufacturing. It really does take some doing to wipe out all but three of your main competitors. 

Let’s look at some of the key facts surrounding this time.
What did the car manufacturing landscape look like in 1908?

The facts: 

  • There were over 1400 car manufacturers in the US.
  • They produced approximately 12,907 cars per year at a unit of cost 2000.00., which is about $57,069.73 in today’s money.
  • The average workers wage per day industry wide was $2.30. for a 9 hour day
  • It was considered standard practice to make 3 cars a day. 
  • It took the manpower 2-3 men per car – labour cost are very high.
  • It took 12.5 hours to make one car.
  • Cars were assembled using other manufacturers parts.

And after 1913? What did Hank do?
By adopting a conveyor process learned in the meat packing plants of Chicago he introduced to the world the assembly line. Mass production as we know it was born and this changed every industry since.

The facts:

  • 16.5 million Model T cars were built in 19 years [1908-1927]. That is a staggering 868,421 cars per year or an increase of 6,628%.
  • Produced a car every 24 seconds. That’s massive compared to 1908. The difference from before and after is a staggering 99.95% increase in production. This means labor cost plummet.
  • Hank paid his workers $5.00 and reduced the working day to 8 hours or an pay increase of 142.30%.
  • Reduced the work week to 40 hours
  • Model T cost $950 in 1909 and $290.00 by 1926 a reduction of 69.%. 
  • Made the automobile affordable to the average person
  • By 1927 half of all cars in the US were the Ford Model T
  • All parts for the Model T were built on site

So what can we take away?
Disruption makes you noticed. It makes you a leader whom others want to follow and emulate. Henry [Hank] Ford changed the auto industry like none other. He changed the way a car was manufactured with the introduction of the assembly line. This change did several things. It killed the other 1400 car manufacturers except three. This reduced the competition because people wanted a Hanks Model T. Cars now cost less to produce because of efficiencies...the manpower to produce them was drastically reduced from 750 minutes to just 24 seconds. This reduction in labour cost made the car affordable to the masses. Not a luxury item anymore, but a necessity. It too gave Ford motor workers more money. They went from scrapping by to a handsome wage. This too made Hanks’ worker both wealthy and loyal. The middle class in America was born. This method of manufacturing is then adopted across all industries and emulated.


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