Sunday, May 2, 2010

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.

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