How to be right and wrong at the same time, Ernest Kanzler’s memo to Henry Ford

How to be right and wrong at the same time, Ernest Kanzler’s memo to Henry Ford


Ernest Kanzler was married to Eleanor Clay Ford, who was the sister of Edsel Ford, the son of Henry Ford. Kanzler married Eleanor in 1916.

He was hired to work with Charles Sorensen at the Dearborn Tractor Plant in 1916, handling scheduling and shipment. Kanzler played a key role in streamlining incoming parts, assembly, and shipments to increase efficiency. In 1920, he was made Production Manager at Highland Park. In this role, he lowered the price of the Model T, minimized standing inventory, and cut inventory float. When William Knudsen left the company in 1921, Kanzler took over the assembly branch plant program, adding 31 branch factories. Also in 1921, he became a director of Ford of Canada. In 1923, he was named a Vice President of Ford Motor Company and its subsidies, Vice President of Lincoln, and a Director of the Detroit Toledo & Ironton Railroad. From 1923-1925, Kanzler managed manufacturing directly under Edsel Ford during which time Model T production rose to more than 2 million annually and production costs and prices hit their lowest ever

In the early 1920s, the Model T Ford, which was introduced in 1908, had become immensely successful and was a symbol of American automobile manufacturing. However, by the early 1920s, it faced increasing competition from other automakers who were introducing more modern and advanced models.

In January 1926, Ernest Kanzler wrote this eight-page memorandum (summary above) to Henry Ford. In it Kanzler detailed his reasoning for replacing the aging Model T. While many other executives, including Ford’s son, Edsel, secretly agreed, Henry resisted.

Kanzler was forced out — although the following year the last Model T rolled off the assembly line and was replaced with the new, modern Model A.

So Kanzler was right but wrong when not reading the room where Henry was concerned.

Source The Henry Ford

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