The History of Manufacturing and Ways It Continues to Impact JBPCo

11th Nov 2020

Blog post

The history of J.B. Poindexter & Co. has been shaped by the history of manufacturing as a whole. We pride ourselves on our ability to adapt and think ahead because the reality of the manufacturing industry is that it is constantly evolving. Big changes in our industry are not uncommon.

From the Industrial Revolution through the present day, these are the moments that have shaped the industry and J.B. Poindexter & Co. as a company.

The Beginning of Manufacturing in the United States

Manufacturing in the United States really took off in the late 18th century when the Industrial Revolution began.

Prior to the Industrial Revolution, more than 90 percent of American workers had jobs in farming.  As the Industrial Revolution began, people stopped making goods by hand and instead relied more and more on machines.

By 1860, the United States had the third-largest manufacturing industry in the world.  But we were still a long ways away from the manufacturing industry as we know it today. Manufacturing jobs during the Industrial Revolution were tough, with workers facing long hours and unsafe conditions for just $8 – $10 dollars a week (the equivalent of about $250.00 – $300.00 in 2020).

The United States was also a ways off from producing the automobiles and electronics it is known for today. Instead, at the start of the Industrial Revolution, textile manufacturing was the most common industry.

The Rise of the Automobile Industry

As automobiles gained popularity in the late 1800s, the need for mass production and quality work was necessary to succeed.

In 1913, Henry Ford created the first conveyor belt assembly line for automobile production. This new invention made the process of manufacturing the car not only more efficient, but quicker for employees. At first, employees did not like the strict timing of the assembly line and were quitting Ford for jobs at other automobile companies. Henry Ford knew that to get them back he would need an incentive, which is why he implemented the $5 workday.  With this strategy, Henry Ford increased wages and decreased hours for his employees. It was during this time when the term “Fordism” was coined to describe the need and want for workers to have shorter shifts and higher wages. Other manufacturers and industries began adopting a similar strategy as workers were empowered to demand fewer hours for more money.

The Growth of Trucking

As motor vehicles gained popularity and became the preferred mode of transportation over horses and railroads, advancements were also made in the transportation of goods and materials.

The United States military was the first to use trucks extensively during World War I.

By 1930, trucking and truck manufacturing had gained a foothold as a solid industry in America, thanks, in part, to paved roads.

With the construction of the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s and 1960s and continued advancements, such as refrigerated trucks, the demand for trucks continued to rise into the 70s and 80s, when it became solidified in American culture thanks to movies like “High Ballin’” (1978) and hit songs like Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again.”

The Development of Lean Manufacturing

Between 1948 and 1975, Toyota developed the production technique known as lean manufacturing, at a time when automobiles were in high demand and manufacturing was booming. This process helped speed up the manufacturing of automobiles and simplified labor for workers. Researchers James Womak and Daniel Jones determined five key principles of lean manufacturing:

  1. Value: Identify the value
  2. Value Stream: Flow map the journey for each product or value
  3. Flow: Ensure the flow is simple and consistent between the steps
  4. Pull: Pull the steps together
  5. Perfection: Reach toward perfection by shortening the steps and making the process as easy as possible

These key components of lean manufacturing have helped shape the history of, not only the United States, but the manufacturing industry as a whole. Thanks to this technique, the manufacturing industry is consistently encouraged and challenged to think strategically and form innovative approaches to create the goods and services that fuel our economy.

At J.B. Poindexter & Co., we employ this technique to improve quality, reduce time, empower our team, and ensure the safety of our employees during manufacturing to constantly improve workflows.

The History of J.B. Poindexter & Co.

The history of J.B. Poindexter & Co. began in 1983 in New York City as a partnership between John B. Poindexter and Kellner, DiLeo & Co. called KD/P Equities. As the company grew, the KD/P partnership evolved from acquiring and reselling businesses for capital gains to buying and operating businesses for long-term growth. With this new strategy, the team formed J.B. Poindexter & Co., LP.

Today, we empower management teams, while concentrating on corporate strategy and financial performance.

J.B. Poindexter & Co. relies on lean manufacturing techniques to keep our businesses moving forward. As a manufacturing company, it’s important to understand the history of the industry and to learn from the past. We continue to grow as the industry changes, even in challenging times. We look ahead to the future and look forward to seeing our business and employees continue to create the innovation that drives us into the future.

Our employees and team members are the change-makers within our company. We are always looking to hire team members with a growth mindset. Learn more about the opportunities at J.B. Poindexter & Co. and discover the ways you can shape the industry.

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