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Henry Ford is arguably best known as an American Industrialist, a business magnate, and the founder of the Ford Motor Company. Delving deeper however, one of his more important societal contributions was the creation of the mass production technique. In 1913, when the man was scaling the manufacturing processes surrounding the Ford Model T automobile, he created the first moving assembly line. When first applied to the production of Ford vehicles, these techniques substantially reduced the time required for assembly, an improvement from around 12 hours to 33 minutes, a phenomenal increase in productivity. As a result of this impressive feat of ingenuity, cars quickly became items that the general public could afford, rather than luxury items reserved solely for the extremely wealthy.
More than a century later, mass production has become engrained in the manufacturing processes of an incomprehensible amount of products. Look around you, chances are the key constituents of your home and everyday life have in some way, shape, or form, been touched by the hands of mass production.
Despite mass production radically transforming our species and arguably improving quality of life as a whole, there is something soulless about the items that they create. Luxury goods exist as the antithesis to these developments, rejecting the behaviour patterns of modern industry in favour of processes and techniques that have remained remarkably similar across centuries. Hermès products arguably fit within that category, and are almost embodiments of anti-progress. Nowhere are the stakes higher than the luxury goods market and in order to maintain your footing in this industry you must be authentic to your craftsmanship, to the scarcity of supply, to unique aesthetics, and to your heritage, all phenomena that would be hard-pressed to be replicated by modern manufacturing techniques. Despite that fact, Hermès has still managed to transform itself into one of the most valuable companies in the world, showing that a reluctance to change may in fact be able to create value after all.