The Whiz Kids

Case Solution

Tom Nicholas, David Chen
Harvard Business School ()

In October 1945, at his Ford Motor Company office in Dearborn, Michigan, Henry Ford II received a telegram from Charles “Tex” Thornton, a colonel in the United States Air Force. The telegram gave Ford the opportunity to employ a statistical control system that had been developed and successfully applied in the management of the Army Air Forces. Henry Ford II had recently taken control of his grandfather’s troubled automotive empire and was looking for skilled men in the auto industry to help him restore Ford to a dominant name. Thornton had no experience in the industry, but seemed convinced that his ideas were applicable to Ford’s company. Perhaps the Ford Motor Company could use the injection of new ideas. Hiring Thornton and his men might be Ford’s most inspiring move. Or his most catastrophic of his.

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