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You Can Have Any Color As Long As It’s Black

Henry Ford, an American magnate and automobile manufacturer, is known to many by his surname, or rather people know the vehicles bearing his name and of course their maker, the Ford Motor Company. Few people know what good he did to the industrial world and how his company set standards that have been quintessential to manufacturers all over the world for many decades.

Of course, we are not talking now about his political and personal views. It’s despite them, not thanks to them he brought a better life to his workers: he doubled daily pay, introduced 8 hour work week, and made them Blackcontribute to the savings plans. Generally speaking, his policies gave a push to the creation of the modern middle class. Remember, this all was happening at the dawn of the 20th century.

His workers also could afford to have one of the cars they were producing. Not only because they were earning more than others who worked elsewhere, so much so that there were lines of people willing to be employed standing outside of the Ford plants, but also because due to the assembly line technique of mass production developed by Ford and his crew it became possible to produce cars cheaper. One of Ford’s famous quotes is “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black” and it describes the manufacturer’s approach to production and costs: keep costs to the minimum and offer no expensive extras. Even now it brings additional costs to paint cars in different colors, back in 1909 it was even more costly, so for H. Ford it was very important not to interrupt the production line and keep it running to keep the costs down.

Not much has changed since then. Of course, the world moved on, production became more efficient and no company in the world is not trying to take advantage of lean manufacturing. But the basic principle has not changed: it is cheaper to keep the line running and producing the same parts as compared to stopping the line, changing the tools, calibrating equipment, and starting over again. Extra-tooling costs additional money, not to mention the time spent changing and restarting instead of producing final components has to be compensated somehow and normally it adds to the final price of the product for the end-customer. That’s why even in the 21st century we can't cancel the effects of the economy of scale and if our choice is either “to buy a black car” or pay a premium price. The 21st century allows us though to cooperate with each other more efficiently and freely. So, if different people don’t want a black car and are not ready to pay a lot, they can get together on a platform like EoS4U, combine their volume and let the manufacturer produce a bigger batch decreasing the piece price therewith. Isn’t it a win-win for all the parties involved?