5 Textile Production Strategies That Work Today Yet Were Developed 204 YEARS AGO


In reading the following book yesterday I came upon a section that blew my mind, so I have keyed in the net of the passages to share with you. Imagine 5 stunningly innovative managment strategies that made such an enormous diifference 204 YEARS AGO that seem to apply today, right now!

Hey, as Truman said, “there is nothing new in life or in the world except for the history you do not know”. Now you know……..

From:  BEHEMOTH: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World
by Joshua B. Freeman

What made the (1814) Waltham (MA) system different and important? First, the integration of production within a single space and single firm. Raw materials went in and finished product came out. All the processes and costs associated with coordinating and transporting materials in various stages of production to and from different factories or outworkers and ensuring their quality were eliminated.

Second, the Waltham model mills concentrated on making standardized products at high speed…..(they) produced only a single type of cloth…….innovations introduced traded off flexibility for speed.

Third, the Waltham system automated as many procedures as possible to reduce the need for skilled labor……reducing the needed skill of operatives and increasing the number of machines they could monitor.

Fourth, the Boston group, in pioneering the use of the corporate form of manufacturing, linked big capital to goods production……(meant) it could build larger, more efficient factories.

Fifth, the use of a single selling agent rather than multiple jobbers created a close identification between particular products and particular companies, a step toward what would later be called branding……the sales agent rather than the factory felt the pulse of the market.

Finally, the Waltham model mills developed primarily as domestic, not international, enterprises.…..its mills used cotton grown in the US and sold their products primarily within the nation’s borders. In 1840, exports accounted for less than 8% of US cotton cloth production, in 1860 still less than 10%.


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