Biggest business ideas
Some of the most powerful and lasting business methods
were launched during tough times, when companies
needed new ways to manage costs and grow. Here is a
look back at some of the biggest ideas over the past 100
1910, The Assembly Line
With demand soaring for his Model T, Henry Ford took
cues from brewers' conveyor systems and
slaughterhouses' overhead trolleys to build his assembly line, increasing annual production
from 78,000 cars in 1910 to 2 million by the 1920s.
1920, Market Segmentation
General Motors CEO Alfred P. Sloan managed GM's car models through loosely monitored
‗divisions,' which operated as separate companies with Sloan's oversight, laying the
groundwork for today's corporation.
1931, Brand Management
After Procter & Gamble began targeting soap brands to different demographics, it set up
brand management, an organizational structure that makes individual managers responsible
for each brand's success.
1943, Skunk Works
To build a new fighter jet in just 143 days, Lockheed created an organization called Skunk
Works, which used small groups and advance funding to work with little interference from
its corporate parent.
1950s, Lean Manufacturing
After a 1950 strike, Toyota workers were given lifetime employment. Manager Taiichi
Ohno developed ways to up efficiency without cutting jobs, leading to ―pull production‖ in
1954 and ―Total Quality Control‖ in 1961.
1969, Scenario Planning
The practice involves envisioning multiple future events and developing plans for responding
to them. Shell first experimented with scenario planning in 1967, helping it navigate the oil
shock of the 1970s.