The key difference between Fordism and Post Fordism is that Fordism refers to mass production, whereas Post Fordism refers to flexible specialized production.
Fordism is the large-scale mass-production methods pioneered by Henry Ford in the early 20th century. In the 1970s, manufacturing underwent a transition from Fordism to Post Fordism. Post Fordism is the theory that states modern industrial production should change from Fordism towards the use of small flexible manufacturing units.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Fordism
3. What is Post Fordism
4. Relationship Between Fordism and Post Fordism
5. Side by Side Comparison – Fordism vs Post Fordism in Tabular Form
What is Fordism?
Fordism refers to a system of production initiated by the American industrialist Henry Ford in the early 20th century. It describes modern economic and social systems of mass production and consumption. The main feature of Fordism is assembly line techniques which help to improve production and efficiency.
Fordism depended on standard mass-production techniques involved in the use of moving assembly line and repetitive performance of tasks, which required little competency. Furthermore, the designed parts could be assembled easily, and in most cases, machines were used for large scale production. As a result, cars were produced more cheaply. Although these were made cheaply, the choice was very limited as most cars were produced in black colour. Since anybody can do this task and there was no specific requirement for extensive training, labour costs were low. Since the capital costs and overheads were also very low, the price for the consumer was relatively low.
What is Post Fordism?
Post Fordism refers to the flexible specialization of production. In the early 1970s, the concept of Fordism switched to flexible specialized production due to globalization and competition from foreign markets. At that period of time, the old system of mass production of identical products, inexpensive products through specialized labour became uncompetitive, and people were seeking for a change.
Most principles of Post Fordism originated in Japan. Later on, other capitalist countries adopted the same as they could see the success of Japanese business. Manufacturers used new technology, particularly computers, to make manufacturing more flexible. Moreover, they produced small batches economically, reducing the cost used for an assembly line. Furthermore, new innovation and technology helped the industry to meet changing demands. Although the prices of specialized products were higher than the identical products from mass production, there was more demand from consumers for specialized products and the demand for mass-produced goods was declining.
Companies require more flexible and skilled workers to adapt to Post Fordism concept in their companies. At the same time, Post Fordism created a drastic change in the organization structures.
What is the Relationship Between Fordism and Post Fordism?
Fordism and Post Fordism are closely related concepts in manufacturing. The concept of Post Fordism originated when the concept of Fordism fell out of use during the 1970s. Although there are significant differences between the two concepts, both help to achieve sustainable economic growth and to cater to consumer needs.
What is the Difference Between Fordism and Post Fordism?
The key difference between Fordism and Post Fordism is that Fordism refers to the large scale production of identical products, whereas Post Fordism refers to the flexible specialization of production in small batches. The concept of Post Fordism originated when the concept of Fordism fell out of use during the 1970s.
In Fordism, comprehensive training and skills were not important, whereas, in Post Fordism, training and skill level of workers are important for production. Moreover, the products in Fordism are identical and cheap, while products in Post Fordism are relatively expensive and specialized. In addition, jobs are more secure under Post Fordism than Fordism as workers need more competency to perform the job.
Summary – Fordism vs Post Fordism
Post Fordism is the theory that modern industrial production should change from Fordism, which is the large-scale mass production methods pioneered by Henry Ford, towards the use of small flexible manufacturing units. So, the key difference between Fordism and Post Fordism is that Fordism refers to large scale production, whereas Post Fordism refers to flexible specialized production.
1. “Airacobra P39 Assembly LOC 02902u” – available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID fsa.8e02902. (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia