The assembly line put the automobile within reach of the masses. Fast and efficient, the?
The assembly line put the automobile within reach of the masses. Fast and efficient, the assembly line enabled the manufacturer to put out a large number of vehicles at prices far below those produced by the workshop method. But there is a problem.
In car factories throughout the world, it is called the "Detroit Blues", after the United States' auto manufacturing city. The cause is the same, performing the same task, hour after hour, day after day, year after year. On the assembly line, boring jobs are done with an almost slave-like obedience to machines. This can sometimes lead to a lack of identity, a sense of insignificance, isolation.
At the Volvo car factory in Gothernburg, Sweden, officials have instituted reforms to change all that. Ten-man teams work together on the assembly and rotate jobs daily. At a nearby truck factory, the teams have some control over their work habits and conditions. They decide the pace needed to fulfil the company's orders. At a new plant that Volvo is building, care will be out together by workshop teams, virtually obviating the need for the old assembly line.