What Modern Supply Chains Can Learn From Henry Ford

Henry Ford was a revolutionary in manufacturing in his time, but the current manufacturing environment is so different that it might be hard to believe that modern supply chains can still learn some lessons from his approach.

In fact, Ford was a supply chain pioneer. He was a strong supporter of innovation as well as an early technology adopter. His company’s basic tenets – namely, providing affordable products designed with customers in mind – remain key business principles to this day.

At the recent annual Kinaxis user and training conference, Ford Motor Company’s Global Capacity Planning Director David Thomas shared some quotes from the famous founder, and 21st Century Supply Chain’s Alexa Cheater put her own supply chain spin on Ford’s words to show just how valuable his lessons remain in 2016.

Ford’s Insight

For example, Ford once said: “Be ready to revise any system, scrap any method, abandon any theory, if the success of the job requires it.” Supply chains can’t avoid failure entirely, so the next best thing is to be able to catch it rapidly and cut your losses early to avoid encountering even bigger issues down the line. Supply chains shouldn’t be scared to try new ideas and different approaches, but they need to be ready to move on quickly if something doesn’t appear to be working.

He also said: “Businesses that grow by development and improvement do not die.” Companies and their supply chains that prefer to maintain the status quo and don’t keep up with the times are doomed to failure, while those that innovate and drive new concepts forward tend to be far more successful. For example, a bimodal supply chain that encourages innovation and efficiency at the same time can help drive success.

This last quote by Ford can apply to the supply chain as well as nearly every aspect of life: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are right!” The mindset of those in the supply chain can determine the outcome. Those that don’t believe in a change will – consciously or subconsciously – work to make it fail, while those who are more optimistic are more likely to see supply chain innovations turn out successfully.

This blog post was based off of an article from 21st Century Supply Chain Blog. View the original here.