Total cost minimization
Unlike other professions, Engineering is one of the most expansive fields that has continuously advanced over the years with a goal of improving humanity and its way of living. In every sector of the economy, engineers are always present, up and until today, they are still improvising on ways of adjusting any industry’s technical challenges. Nearly all companies have priorities and development targets to achieve within their established timelines. To achieve these targets, the companies have to employ policies and mechanisms to try to minimize their total cost to maximize their expected revenue. That is to intimate that companies have to reduce the gross cost of operation and production in any given opportunity. The total cost minimization is, however, more important and critical in the engineering field especially in high-end economies. Engineers can save money, time and inventory in the company they are working. It is thus the work of engineers to ensure that they develop the most efficient automated systems to minimize the cost of the production processes.
Development of automobile engineering through Ford Motors
The early production process of automobiles was manual driven, and this made it very difficult for the engineers to satisfy the needs of the customers. The automobiles engineers were less effective and were inefficient and thus not friendly to the end users. An example of the early models can be traced to the Ford Motor automobiles when they started their production process in 1903 (Encyclopedia Britannica). The entire production process was largely and entirely dependent on hands-on artistry. On the onset, the challenges were minimal, but the situation would change when the American society began to appreciate the products engineered by Ford and demand began to appreciate to unexpected levels. To overcome these challenges, Henry Ford, the proprietor of the Ford Company, began to embrace automation of the firm’s production process. The production process became easier as the automation of processes matured and materialized. Ford began to produce automobiles at a rate that was much faster and to beat the market demand (Malibu). From the initial Models A and Model Ts developed in the early 20th century to the latest Ford trucks made in the 21st century, the Ford Company has continued to automate its production processes. The cost of production has continuously been minimized, and the automobile changed to heights that Henry could not have imagined when he initiated the Ford Automobile firm.
Facets of automobile engineering in relation to total cost minimization
The economic concerns of yester years that influenced the automobile industry engineering ingenuity vary from what motivates the engineers of today. In the 20th century and especially during the initial stages of the Ford Company monopolized the automobile industry, general production and satisfying the customer’s demands were the main driving forces of the automobile industry. As the demand levels continued to rise, there was a great need for automation. Ford Motors embraced the challenge and managed to establish numerous assembly plants in the United States. Producing a single car at a time became very expensive to the extent that commercializing the same car became a tall order. This was the situation that Ford Motors experienced before the automation process began. In an economic sense, the production of the first Ford cars in the ‘90s was extremely high because the automation was still at its infant stages and nearly all steps of the production process were conducted manually. It is worth noting that the cost incurred in the production process is expressed regarding labor and the company’s overhead which are again distributed against the lowest number of units produced (History Editors). Taking from the Ford Motors, that would mean that the numbers of workers in the company and other demands against the number of cars produced in a stipulated period.
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During the early stages of motor vehicle production, there was limited computer technology, and thus there was no simulation. That would only mean that the manual production processes heavily relied on experience and consistency in the engineering field. This aspect was extremely unsustainable due to the changing demands in the market. At the end of the first production and when the first car was presented to the market, only a few of the elite in the society would manage to acquire it as the cost was extremely high. Today, the use of computer-led technologies and simulation processes has made it possible to reduce the cost of automobile production. However, the increasing prices of oil in the global market among other economic factors across different economic fronts have made the cost the purchasing and sustaining the automobile industry high. Engineers are still however drawing automobile engines that are energy effective meaning that they consume less fuel while still not compromising the performance of the engines (Malibu).
The development of the automobile production has remained consistent over the past decades despite the economic challenges it has faced over time. Fresh entrants into the industry such as the Toyota from General Motors who penetrated the market in the late 1930s boosted the development due to increased competition of cheaper and quality cars in the market. At this point, only the Ford and General Motors had penetrated the market and matured in the engineering field. Toyota brand from General Motors penetrated the market at lightning speed threatening the existence of Ford. The success was attributed to Toyota embracing new engineering technologies that Ford had not achieved. Through this technology and advanced engineering techniques, General Motors managed to produce highly effective and affordable vehicles into the market. The firm concentrated in expanding its automobile engineering thus ended up tilting towards producing low cost yet very efficient cars.
Minimization of total costs in production
Engineers are driven by the spike of crafting technologies that would lead to the minimum cost of production in any of the industry that they are entrusted to steer. High-cost economies aspire to have the benefit of the best engineers and technological advancements to minimize their cost of production and maximize their profits. Minimizing the cost of production demands having an efficient system of workflow which means that the production company would have to eliminate all the non-value-added activities required in completing a task. Again, there is a reduction in human errors in the production process and well as increased levels of accuracy as well as higher volumes of production in reduced production time. In a production firm such as the Ford Motors, saving time is critical as it is one of the big players in minimizing the cost of production as time saved is utilized in other meaningful activities. When time is saved, the daily targets are achieved, and the total units produced are high. Therefore, it is paramount to invoke the services of an engineer to ensure that the production is efficient and time consciousness.
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During the production of Ford’s initial model, the demand was growing high as the days progressed. Despite the company automating part of its production process, meeting the demand remained a scorching factor to the automobile firm. Customers had to wait for several months to wait for their ordered units to be completed. As it stands today, automation has changed several production components leading to low-cost production processes. The production time became less, and more units were produced in the specified time set compared to the initial stages when automobile companies were at its infant stages.
The ability of automobile firms to automate and computerize their production process has enabled manufacturers and engineers to overcome the demand for automobiles in the market. Unlike in the past where the automobile industry was dominated by Ford and Toyota brands, many manufacturers have entered into the market making the competition to rise, improving the ingenuity and encourage more advanced technologies. The automobile market has today been flooded with different and new models that are cost friendly and with efficient engines. Automobile industries have seen skyrocketing sales and eventually have benefited from increased profits. Previously, the dominating brands such as Ford managed to sell their cars at a high cost, but today, they have been tilted by the emerging automobile industries in the market. The high-level competition and an increasing number of customers have are today presented with a variety of options to choose and identify from.
The disadvantages of an automated automobile process
Introduction of the automated and computerized technologies in the automobile industry has seen several benefits to the industry as well as some disadvantages. For instance, the large initial investment capital needed to acquire the automating machines can be a tall order for most emerging automobile firms. Again, by having a system that can handle several tasks at an ago has led to less versatility among the human-oriented workforce. This has, in turn, led to massive job losses leading to increasing in increasing rates of unemployment. In some instances, there is an unpredictable cost that may emerge. For example, there is the cost of research, maintenance cost and the cost of retraining employees. Additionally, the automation may lead to environmental pollution due to chemicals and gases that may be emitted during the automation process.
It is the past engineering technologies that laid the foundation for the current technological advancements in the automobile industry. Despite of the numerous challenges that characterized the automobile industry in terms of cost, meeting the market demand, technology deficiency among others, the current engineering prowess has managed to deal with these challenges. Automobile firms, as well as other companies that have embraced automation and computerization of their production processes, are reaping the benefits of an effective and efficient system. As witnessed in Ford Motors, automation leads to low-cost production units that are easy to penetrate in the market thus there is the surety of high earnings and profits. However, the minimization of cost has led to several disadvantages including mass layoffs of workers who were doing the manual work before automation took place. Despite these challenges, the minimization of the cost incurred in the production process has largely contributed to growth in technology and engineering practices.
- Encyclopedia Britannica. Ford Motor Company. 3 January 2018. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Ford-Motor-Company. 23 January 2019.
- History Editors. Ford’s Assembly Line Starts Rolling. 13 November 2009. https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/fords-assembly-line-starts-rolling. 23 January 2019.
- Malibu, Chevy. He Changed the World. 3 June 2013. http://www.harbinautomotive.com/blog/henry-ford/. 23 January 2018.
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