[...] starting in the 1940s, the US auto industry gave up on the system of “flexible production,” originally installed by Henry Ford, in order to implement a new production system that aimed to defeat the unions and assure management’s dictatorship over the labor process. Flexible production had not ceased to deliver record rates of profit and increases in productivity, but it had become unbearable to the Big Three employers because of the leverage it provided workers. It depended for an important part of its productive efficiency on locating factories close to one another in order to facilitate coordination between them, relied on a single source (“mother plant”) to provide key components for the whole system, and employed just-in-time methods of delivering inventories, all of which made for pressure points that workers could attack in order to disrupt production.
The new system of “dispersed production,” according to Murray and Schwartz, sought to shift the balance of power by depriving workers of precisely these pressure points, opening the way for managers to step up class struggle to intensify labor and hold down wages. The Big Three accomplished this by dispersing factories over wide geographical areas, building redundant plants that duplicated one another’s output, and dismantling just-in-time delivery. They therefore chose to step up control over the labor process and directly assault workers rather than enhance labor-management collaboration to create a faster-growing “pie” that could simultaneously support higher profits and better compensation to workers.
he challenges their portrayal of the Toyotism alternative as "collaborative" later on (he says it's really more about extracting more surplus value) but this is a useful summary