American Industrialist, Founded Chrysler Corporation
Walter Chrysler, fully Walter Percy Chrysler
American Industrialist, Founded Chrysler Corporation
A few hundred yards ahead, I saw a cow emerging from behind an osage hedge that bordered a lane. She was headed for the road. I bulbed the horn until it had made its gooselike cry four or five times, but the cow, a poor rack of bones draped with yellow hide, kept right on her course and never changed her pace; nor did I change the pace of the automobile. I could not; all that I could do was to grip the wheel and steer, biting on my cigar until my teeth met inside of it. Well, I missed the cow, though I was close enough to touch her? [On driving his first car for the first time]
Hopelessly infatuated with the car I twisted logic and mustered feeble facts to buttress my case? [On buying his first car]
I knew three things about him: He was honest; he was loyal; he had ability. That is all I ask from any man. I don't care how raw the ability is; that can be developed through experience. But unless a man is loyal and honest, I don't want him associated with me.
Just ask yourself what this country will be like when every individual has his private car and is able to travel anywhere. Some day?
The Chrysler car? Nobody had heard about a Chrysler car. But we had dreamed about it until, as if we had been its lovers, it was work to think of anything else.
To me it was the transportation of the future and as such I wanted to be a part of it. That was where I saw opportunity.
A sculptor trying to release in marble some shape of beauty that is captive in his mind can give no more loving care and craftsmanship to what he does than was done by me as I created that locomotive model.
How strange it is that most of us pass through some of our years thinking that youth is a handicap.
I never want to get to the place where I so dominate the job that no one under me dares to make suggestions.
Men should look forward, and progress stops when they refuse to listen to other people?s opinions, although they should make their own decisions. I never want to get to the place where I so dominate the job that no one under me dares to make suggestions.
The Chrysler Corporation as of 1937 has no debts.
We could not sell Chrysler cars unless we made them.
All my training, instincts and aptitudes have combined to make me want to penetrate the workings of any machines I see.
I always want to know how things work. Had I been Aladdin, I am certain that after just one wish or two, I?d have taken that old lamp apart to see if I could make another, better lamp.
I proceed to get the organization into shape by cutting out every unnecessary expense and wasteful practice the minute I discover it. Some forms of non-productive effort are necessary in every organization, because all forms of service ware not productive in themselves; even though they contribute to the general plan; but to allow wasteful practices to continue after they have been analyzed and proved wasteful is to sap the energy of your organization at its source.
Most automobiles were costing too much money. I soon began to find out why; the industry had grown up in a series of booms. Money was being spent recklessly by some; it was being wasted by others simply because they did not know how to curb waste. The great pressure on almost everyone in the business was time. If a company wanted a new plant of any kind, someone with authority was pretty sure to ask that the plant be produced quickly.
The first thing I do when I start to look into the affairs of a failing company is to study the personnel of the organization and the individuality of the men. I am concerned first of all with executives, because if their principles are not right it is useless to look for results from the men. When I have measured up in my own mind the capacity of the executives, I get out into the operation of the plant and watch the men. I look around to see how many of them are standing still and how many of them are moving around the plant. Highly paid workmen should be busy with accomplishment, not useless motion. If there is a lot of movement I know the plant is being badly operated.
We have our statisticians set up the amount necessary for administrative purposes, which is based on a conservative quota. The items cover the capacity of the plant, productive labor, non-productive labor, productive materials, non-productive materials, all fixed charges, depreciations, sales administration, and executive administration. These are all counted in on the cost per car.
All territories are operated on a quota basis, the quotas being set at the home office. We base the establishment of the quota on the actual volume of automobile sales of all makes in the past in that territory, and then figure our percentage to the total sales. Quotas are often unfair, for they are not set on actual conditions. Past sales are a reality and you are not unfair to a man when you ask him to sell a share of what is being sold. We feel this system is just, because if general business in a given territory falls off we are not expecting unreasonable things of our representatives. Often an injustice is very apparent to the men, whereas the organization is perfectly ignorant that it is expecting any more of them than it should. Where sales fall off in a given territory we send our sales expert there immediately and he gives the dealer the benefit of his expert advice.
I am a machinist. Trained from my boyhood to penetrate the workings of machines. I find myself now excited by the thought of exploring my own mechanism, for it is in keeping with my character that I should seek to discover what makes me, this man I am, tick and go. I always want to know how things work. Had I been Aladdin, I am certain that after just one wish or two, I?d have taken that old lamp apart to see if I could make another, better lamp.
I put the car in the barn, and it stayed in there so long that she despaired of ever getting a ride. Sometimes she sat in it when I cranked up and let the engine run. Night after night, I worked in the barn until it was time to go to bed, and some nights I did not leave the automobile until it was long past my bedtime. Saturday afternoons and all day on Sundays I worked on that car. I read automobile catalogues, I studied sketches and made still other sketches of my own. Most of the time, the innards were spread upon newspapers on the barn floor. There was no single function I did not study over and over. Finally, I proved to myself that I knew and understood it, because I had put it all together, had the engine tuned so that it was running like a watch?
Next we estimate our inventory turnover per year and our turnover of sight drafts from shipping the cars, so that we can see the rapidity of cash returns. They average about fifteen days. Cash requirements for credits and operating expenses are also carefully figured. Retail sales are followed closely, and production is increased or decreased in proportion to sales.
The fun I had experienced in making things as a boy was magnified a hundredfold when I began making things as a man.
We kept on reaching out for better ways, for better things, until evolutionary changes were occurring in the steel industry, in the machine-tool trade, in the cotton fields down South, everywhere raw materials came from. We were insistent?imperiously sometimes.
Although we were not in the show, we stole it! From morning until late at night a crowd was densely packed around us?