We toured the Rouge Ford Complex yesterday, which at one time was the biggest, most competitive, efficient, successful, industrial complex in the world. Henry Ford's innovation was a beacon to other industries and this plant was the stellar example with 100,000 employees in 1934. An amazing place then, and an amazing place, now.
He built and sold cars but he wanted them to be affordable for everyone, rather than the automobile becoming a plaything for the rich. At that time, it took 12 hours to build a car. He disliked having to depend on some company that was behind on his parts, or couldn't deliver product while he had men waiting. He wanted to control the building of his cars from start to finish-his way.
He bought 2000 acres of cheap marshland and had his Rouge Plant built right on the Rouge River where raw materials could be delivered by barge. It was the first plant to make a car from raw materials to finish all in the same plant.
Eventually he got the building of a car down from 12 hours to 93 minutes with his famous innovations in the assembly line and by continually looking for new ways to cut costs.
Jim's friend, Art Lambart, worked at Ford for 25 years after he left the nuclear plant business. He and Sue attended with us and we gave it 8 thumbs up. Don't miss this tour.