The assembly line is a mode of production in economy. This is based on the diversification and separation of the different stages of a production process.
Through the assembly line, a model characterized by the distinction between steps to be followed when creating a specific product has been defined.
In other words, through the separation of productive tasks, it is possible to identify and differentiate the different steps to be carried out. All this, improving the optimization of resources and favoring constant learning.
The evolution of the assembly line concept allowed, in the first half of the 20th century, the exponential development of mass production systems. All this, thanks to the factor of productive specialization. Thus, it was the Ford automobile company, the pioneer in establishing this model in its plants.
Assembly line development
One of the main characteristics of this type of production is that it is highly effective and recommended when it comes to manufacturing replicable and mass-produced goods.
This assumed that each worker was destined to fulfill a specific function, or task, on the overall productive map. In this way, allowing activities to be carried out more quickly and efficiently thanks to repetition. Alternatively, as with labor, there was also progress in terms of machinery, assuming the creation of specific technologies for each production stage.
Also, the chain often involves the separation of the production of the different parts or pieces of a product. In this context, specializing separately their production to, finally, carry out the assembly of these.
Also, the chain is usually conceptually related to Taylorism. Especially thanks to its influence on the industrial growth of the last century.
Advantages of the assembly line
The main points in favor of this model are:
- Avoid queues and production stock, since this is measured with greater precision in each of the points or phases of the chain.
- It facilitates the creation of highly qualified professionals in very specific tasks.
- Minimization of production times and reduction of deadlines.
- All of the above translates into cost reduction for the company and, therefore, greater economic benefit.
Disadvantages of the assembly line
The use of the assembly line model also has some disadvantages:
- It runs the risk of falling into monotony and that the products do not present new features over time, since its redesign is the field of the entire chain.
- The purest specialization in a single task facilitates the existence of very good professional profiles, but difficult to readjust to other professional tasks in situations where this is necessary.
- Over the years and the emergence of new technologies and processes, the most purist assembly line model has become obsolete. Thus, the current model could be called mixed by combining its characteristics with the artisanal production model.