Nearly 100 years ago, Henry Ford startled the world with his venture into the unknown and, in the process, established a base line for what has become the standard for industrial manufacturing. The simple Ford assembly line has now become the basis for massive productivity gains around the world.
The major difference is that in today's manufacturing facility, unlike in the facilities of Ford's era, parts to be assembled may come from across the world and are not generally housed in the manufacturing plant. In today's facility, as each product goes down the traditional assembly line, add-ons are queued up via advanced software programs that integrate the desired part in time with the position on the line. Thus, the procurement of the necessary part is a collaborative effort amongst suppliers, vendors, and the manufacturer. It requires warehousing/distribution and logistics coordination that are the heartbeat of the supply chain. Information Technology has become a necessity and advanced enterprise platforms enable a skilled workforce to make huge productivity gains via logistics.