Keeping up with the pace of change

Author: chris

Christopher Ludwig, Content Director, Ultima Media

The automotive industry used to be thought of as slow moving. Until fairly recently, it was not much of a stretch to say that the motor car, for all its improvements in safety and technology, had not fundamentally changed in a century. Vintage car owners could easily point to hundreds of differences in steering, climate control or braking systems, but vehicles are still mostly driven for personal, often private mobility, still powered by the internal combustion engine and still purchased through dealers.

The same could almost be said inside the factory. While robotics and IT have changed output and labour requirements, and lean management and just-in-time processes have reduced inventory, the principals of mass assembly in the 2000s would not be completely unrecognisable to plant managers from the 1970s or even earlier.

Has logistics changed much more? Yes and no. Henry Ford built his earliest plants in locations that were well served by their multimodal access, considerations that, following decades of focus mainly on hig

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