With Father’s Day around the corner, we decided to do a little research to see if there is one father who is credited as “The Father of Manufacturing.” There is not; however, there is a long lineage composed of several fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers, each contributing to its growth and development. So, in honor of Father’s Day, we would like to take a moment to recognize some of the founding fathers of manufacturing and their contributions to modern day technologies.
- Samuel Slater, Father of the American Industrial Revolution: U.S. President Andrew Jackson himself credited Samuel Slater as the Father of the American Industrial Revolution. Slater was born in England in 1768 and began working at a cotton mill at age 10. In 1979 Slater moved to the United States, bringing extensive knowledge of the British cotton mill designs with him and earning the nickname “Slater the Traitor” in Britain. Slater is credited with creating the first successful water-powered roller spinning textile mill in America.
- Henry Ford, Father of the Assembly Line: Henry Ford was born in Greenfield Township, Michigan in 1863. He is widely recognized for his contribution to the modern day assembly line and the introduction of the Model T Automobile. Ford’s contributions to manufacturing lead to the coining of the term “Fordism”: a standardized mass production of affordable goods coupled with high wages.
- Taiichi Ohno, Father of Lean Manufacturing: While Henry Ford planted the seed, it is Taiichi Ohno who is credited with the development of what would later become known as Lean Manufacturing in the United States. As a production engineer at the Toyota Corporation, Taiichi Ohno identified seven areas of potential waste in manufacturing, these are: 1) Defects; 2) Over-Production; 3) Waiting; 4) Transporting; 5) Movement; 6) Inappropriate Processing; and 7) Inventory.
- Dr. W. Edwards Deming, Father of Modern Quality Management: Dr. W. Edwards Deming is most recognized for his influence on the economics of the industrialized world. Dr. Deming was born in Sioux City, Iowa in 1900 and is best known for his four step management method, which applies a statistical approach to the industrial process: the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA), also known as Plan-Do-Study-Adjust (PDSA). President Reagan awarded Dr. Demining the National Medal of Technology in 1987. In 1988, Dr. Deming received the Distinguished Career in Science award from the National Academy of Sciences.
- Fredrick Winslow Taylor, Father of Scientific Management: Fredrick Winslow Taylor is best known for his contributions to improving industrial efficiency. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1856, Taylor became one of the foremost intellectual leaders of the Efficiency Movement, a movement that sought to eliminate waste and develop best practices. Taylor was one of the first management consultants of his time and published “The Principles of Scientific Management” in 1911, a monograph that laid out modern organization and decision theory.
Of course, there are many other fathers (and mothers) who contributed to the development of today’s modern manufacturing facilities, and to all of you we say, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, and a great big THANK YOU!