Miles to Date: 1,587
June 2, 2015 – Sunny, 65 degrees
My first rest day! I slept like a baby in Bill Basse’s old bedroom; I am getting very good at a different bed every night. My friend Bob Basse had set up a meeting with the Director of Public Information and the Sustainability Director of the City of Dearborn, where we talked about tomorrow.
Bob and I spent the afternoon on the Rouge Ford Factory Tour, where F150 pick-ups roll off the line every 60 seconds. The plant, built in 2000, is the latest addition to the famous River Rouge Assembly plant that Henry Ford opened in 1924. Whereas 100,000 people worked at River Rouge in the 1920’s, today it takes only 1000 people to assemble an F150. True, many components have been outsourced, but still, the degree of automation is impressive. Surprisingly, the most automated parts of the process as the most precise ones. Windshields are attached without human intervention; the bed is fixed to the cab mechanically; while people still snap in place interior finish panels in place.
I didn’t leave with the impression that we will all be replaced by robots so much as the realization that the amount of planning required to make those 1000 floor workers efficient is phenomenal. The logistics of material flow and coordination of parts is a wonder of this factory that’s not on display.
We got home late afternoon and enjoyed our leftover Middle Eastern food, took a few hours of downtime, and then took along walk through lovely Dearborn, including a stop at the local Middle Eastern supermarket and an incredible macaroon for dessert. I was in bed before nine, recharging to hit the road again.