Business History Events
Two events that occurred at opposite ends of the twentieth century have had significant effects on business today. The first of these was the modern production line as envisioned by Henry Ford; the second event was the opening of the World Wide Web in 1991.
The modern production line made possible mass production of standardized parts. Not only did this make it possible for standardized goods to be sold in bulk, it also meant that goods could be manufactured anywhere. Because the process was standardized, training could be standardized as well and it became possible for goods to be manufactured in locations where labor was relatively cheap and the finished goods shipped around the world. Ford’s assembly line process was thus an important component of globalization (Rupert & Solomon, 2005).
The World Wide Web changed communication on the same scale as the telephone or television. The Web made it possible for businesses to communicate with consumers on an “interactive” level, and for individuals to communicate with one another. The Web made it possible for even the smallest retailer to reach customers around the world 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Payment processing, investments, shopping, distribution of news and even the way that research is conducted all changed with the widespread implementation of the World Wide Web (Schifferes, 2006).
Rupert, M., & Solomon, M. S. (2005). Globalization and International Political Economy. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Schifferes, S. (2006, August 3). How the internet transformed business. BBC News. Retrieved 18 January 2009: