Tesla Giga Factory Berlin

Elon Musk wanted the factory in Germany. Why? Great automobile culture. Largest economy in Europe. Central geographic location. And, perhaps most importantly, great engineers. It makes you wonder what Henry Ford would have thought of this.

YouTube comments:

“This might just be the coolest car related video ever made. I can just imagine the person in the production meeting that suggested this and you just know when Elon heard about it he was like ‘Yep that’s sick’.”

“Tesla makes the best car commercials without making car commercials.”

“One of the best process walkthroughs I have ever seen. Amazing footage. Amazing piloting. Amazing process. Well done!”

“I’m a Tesla employee in Berlin and I was there on our ceremonial day. I can say that I saw with my bare eyes the guy who is controlling the drone. He has some amazing skills, so this video is made by him and its not fake. Cheers!”

Bureaucracy

1. Non-elected government officials. Administrative policy-making group. 2. Specialization of functions, adherence to fixed rules, hierarchy of authority. 3.A system of administration marked by officialism, red-tape and proliferation. From French bureaucratie: bureau desk and –cratie a kind of government. (MerriamWebster)

Max Weber – Bureaucracy

Ever heard of Max Weber (1864-1920)? He was a German sociologist, historian, jurist and political economist. Weber is among the most important theorists on the development of modern Western society. he saw himself not as a sociologist, but as an historian. What did Weber write about bureaucracy:

That it constitutes the most efficient and rational way to organize human activity. Bureaucracy means systematic processes and organized hierarchies, which are necessary to: maintain order, maximize efficiency, and eliminate favoritism.

German artisans

Germans believe that processes — how the work is done — is the key to success. Americans, however, favor relationships, or how to gain and retain customers.

By tradition, Germany is more a culture of artisans (Handwerkerkultur) than of traders (Händlerkultur). The Germans have always made things. And they believe that process — how the work is done — is the key to success. Good processes lead to good products, bad processes to bad ones.

One well-known German manager, Klaus-Hardy Mühdeck, the CIO of ThyssenKrupp, is even nicknamed the “process pope” and has changed his title to Chief Process Officer. Because processes govern the internal workings of a company, whoever has the say over process has the say over the company. Process is power. Germans want the power.

Scientific Management

Frederick Taylor was an American engineer from Philadelphia whose studies in the early 20th century had great influence on American industrial processes. His Principles of Scientific Management focused process standardization, systematic training and the definition of roles and responsibilities. It led to the term Taylorism.

Henry Ford’s Assembly Line

One of the few Americans to focus on processes was Henry Ford. Born in Michigan in 1863 Ford began an apprenticeship as a machinist at the age of 16, and in 1891 he was hired as an engineer for the Edison Illuminating Company. Five years later, he constructed his first model of a horseless carriage, which he called the Ford Quadricycle. In 1903, Henry Ford started the Ford Motor Company, and soon began selling the Model A.

But Ford’s legacy was less in automobile design, and more in his manufacturing processes. Between his assembly line, which allowed cars to be assembled quickly with standardized parts, and his decision to add small amounts of vanadium to his steel, which made the steel production process much easier (not to mention resulted in stronger and more durable steel), Ford revolutionized the way that cars were produced, allowing them to be produced quickly and cheaply – which in turn allowed them to be sold in large numbers at a low price.

Check out the Tesla Giga Factory in Berlin.

Optimum pairings

In one episode of the American television show Community, when eight people have to divide into partners, they first divide without considering any variables or long-term consequences. Shortly afterwards, however, they are so annoyed with their imperfectly chosen lab partners, that they decide to find a way to be in their optimum pairings.

This leads to them spending all night, and most of the following day, trying to decide what those optimum pairings are. They try several different systems to find new partners, including dividing by hair-color/gender/race, old/young, highest/lowest GPAs, and finally by rating each other then pairing the most popular with the least popular, etc.

After a failed attempt to implement the rating system, the 8 people succumb to fighting, angry at each other for the rankings they received. Finally, more than 12 hours after beginning the optimization process, the characters realize that their class is about to start, but none of them have done their work. 

They go to class, and the teacher is so angry with them for not doing their work, and not even knowing who their partners are, that he forces 7 out of the 8 “partners” to all share one set of lab equipment, while the rest of the class no longer has to share.

Skinning cats and Westward Ho!

There is a popular American phrase which states “there is more than one way to skin a cat.” This phrase is used to express that there are multiple processes which produce the same result, and that as long as the result is achieved, the approach taken does not matter how. 

It was first used in 1840 by American humorist Seba Smith in The Money Diggers, in which Smith wrote: “There are more ways than one to skin a cat, so are there more ways than one of digging for money.”

This phrase was (and still is) so popular that it inspired many variations. In 1855, Charles Kingsley’s Westward Ho! used the phrase “There are more ways of killing a cat than choking it with cream.” Many other popular variations include killing cats (and sometimes dogs) by hanging, choking with butter, and choking with pudding.

The phrase has also appeared in many American books, including Mark Twain’s 1889 book A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, in which the author wrote “she was wise, subtle, and knew more than one way to skin a cat.”