Blue Ocean Idea: Interchangeable Standardized Parts

How a lost-to-history Frenchman's idea became the basis for modern manufacturing

Check out a new video we made about Interchangeable Standardized Parts, the idea that machines should be made from identical parts that can be exchanged. Widely known now as the American Manufacturing Method it was actually invented by Frenchman Honoré Le Blanc and brought to the US by Thomas Jefferson.

Interchangeable Standardized Parts is a good example of where eliminating and reducing counterintuitive creates enormous value. Why counterintuitively? Because, at first blush, the method appears to reduce jobs for artisans. In fact, fellow musket makers were so unenthusiastic about his ideas that they locked Le Blanc in a dungeon. In reality, his standardized parts theory ultimately created far more jobs than it destroyed if it destroyed any at all. Of course, for people in the as-is market change can be scary and it’s not uncommon individuals invested in things the way they are will do their best to block new ideas.