Introduction to the American Manufacturing Culture Story
The modern automotive assembly plant is a wonder; in fact, tours— virtual or real—of assembly plants are popular features of Disney’s Epcot Theme Park and The Henry Ford Museum. Thousands of parts from a vast array of suppliers arrive daily, often in the precise quantity and sequence that will be needed during that day or even that hour. Workers at hundreds of stations wield sophisticated, specialized tools to put those parts into systems and subsystems and integrate them with vehicle underbodies and sheet metal. The metal parts are welded by advanced robots and painted in high-technology booths using cutting-edge chemicals and processes. The final products that emerge are often beautiful and symbolic dream machines, as memorialized in countless songs, but are also increasingly electronic marvels with chips controlling everything from engine performance, to braking, to satellite communications. Despite being produced with a dizzying variety of body styles, models, options, and colors on a single assembly line, vehicle quality is at levels far above a generation ago.
KeywordsCultural Change General Motor National Culture Cultural Transformation Cultural Responsiveness
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