Overheard: Word of the Day

Apr 21 2009   2:25PM GMT

Overheard – The wit and wisdom of Walter Chrysler

Margaret Rouse Margaret Rouse Profile: Margaret Rouse

“Whenever there is a hard job to be done I assign it to a lazy man; he is sure to find an easy way of doing it.”

Walter Chrysler

Today’s WhatIs.com word of the day is finite capacity scheduling. It’s one of several new definitions we’ve been posting for our newest sister site, SearchManufacturingERP.com.

Right now I’m reading about Walter Chrysler.  He was truly an amazing man whose management skills are just as relevant now as they were during the Great Depression.   Like his IT counterparts Admiral Grace Hopper and Steve Wozniak, Chrysler learned best by doing.  After borrowing a hefty chunk of money to buy his first automobile,  he didn’t drive it around town and show it off.  He parked it in the barn and took it apart. (His wife was not thrilled.)

Chrysler started out in the railroads and then in 1919 became production chief at Buick, where he was known for his ability to cut costs and still produce a better product.  With Chrysler in charge, daily production numbers moved from 40 cars per day to 550 cars per day.  Six years later, he took what he learned at Buick and went on to found the Chrysler Corporation.

The thing that strikes me most about Walter Chrysler — besides his flamboyant, enthusiastic personality — was that at heart, he was an artist. In some ways, he reminds me of Paul Jr. from Orange County Choppers. If you look at the Chrysler building in New York, there are automotive architectural details over the place. The eagle gargoyles are modeled after hood ornaments. The crown of the building is a layer cake made out of hubcaps.

If you’re looking for a good read — one that will surprise and delight you — pick up a used copy of
Chrysler: The Life and Times of an Automotive Genius.  You don’t need to know anything about cars. You don’t even have to like them. You just need to like technology, art, people, a peek into the mind of a management genius — and a good story.

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