Fordism is a manufacturing technology that serves as the basis of modern economic and social systems in industrialized, standardized mass production and mass consumption. The concept is named after Henry Ford. It is used in social, economic, and management theory about production, working conditions, consumption, and related phenomena, especially regarding the 20th century. It describes an ideology of advanced capitalism centered around the American socioeconomic systems in place in the post-war economic boom.
Fordism is "the eponymous manufacturing system designed to produce standardized, low-cost goods and afford its workers decent enough wages to buy them." It has also been described as "a model of economic expansion and technological progress based on mass production: the manufacture of standardized products in huge volumes using special purpose machinery and unskilled labor." Although Fordism was a method used to improve productivity in the automotive industry, the principle could be applied to any kind of manufacturing process. Major success stemmed from three major principles:
The principles, coupled with a technological revolution during Henry Ford's time, allowed for his revolutionary form of labor to flourish. His assembly line was revolutionary though not original as it had previously been used at slaughterhouses. His most original contribution to the modern world was breaking down complex tasks into simpler ones, with the help of specialised tools. Simpler tasks created interchangeable parts that could be used the same way every time. That allowed for a very adaptable flexibility, creating an assembly line that could change its constituent components to meet the needs of the product being assembled. In reality, the assembly line had existed before Ford, although not in quite the same effectiveness as he would create. His real accomplishment was recognizing the potential by breaking it all down into its components, only to build it back up again in a more effective and productive combination, thereby producing an optimum method for the real world.