Case Study of Ford

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Ford's Product Information System has reduced the wear and tear on design team members, eliminating much travel that would otherwise be required to coordinate design efforts. More significantly, it has allowed Ford to capitalize on the expertise that in the past were concentrated on specific development centers and in different corners of the world.

I. INTRODUCTION

Ford Motor Company launched its globalization program in January 1994, called Ford 2000, to centralize the development of global product categories, which would then be customized to meet the demands of local markets. This is in essence the creation of intra-organizational electronic commerce, using CSGW as a base. Central to this globalization is the need to coordinate disparate product development activities. This called for flexible information systems and an application for managing and transmitting design documents across various Ford Centers around the world. Installing such systems quickly meant a move to more agile packaged client-server software and platforms. This move was met with strong resistance from the company's IS department and led to the reassignment of CIO responsibilities to the company's chief of reengineering in early 1996.

To support the coordination of design activities worldwide, Ford installed Metaphase, a product document management system (PDM) from Structural Dynamics Resource Corporation. The PDM organizes the storage and access of design documents generated by the company's existing Computer Assisted Design (CAD) applications, as well as information on specifications and availability of various components of those designs. The documents are viewed and marked-up using Netscape browser software running on networked personal computers and workstations worldwide.

Expert Systems provide design guidelines and advisories that help designers stay within the limits of Ford's manufacturing infrastructure and parts inventory. The PDM/browser system essentially forms a Product Information Systems component to the corporate intranet through which product development teams throughout the globe can coordinate changes and information. The system also serves as extranet, providing product design information to major suppliers developing vehicle sub-systems for the company.

II. BACKGROUND

STRENGTH

* Researching and implementing Google Enterprise Search to make Ford's 300 million internal documents easily accessible * Creating iPhone-compatible designs for Ford customer websites * Managing the deployment of new CAD/CAE software to design studios across the world * Deploying Ford’s first web service application to monitor manufacturing facilities productivity, machine maintenance and quality * Implementing virtual machines on servers to reduce the number of global corporate data centers * Developing new features for Ford and Microsoft's cutting edge in-vehicle technology, SYNC

WEAKNESSES

* Excessive inventories
* Push system of production
* Delay new vehicle delivery 45 to 60 days

OPPURTUNITIES

* Reduction of manufacturing cost
* Total quality management
* Pull production method
* Lean manufacturing concept
* Decrease new vehicle delivery for 15 days
* Create the retail Ford network
* Creation of a collaborative and cooperative work environment * Facilitate virtual workplaces irrespective of geographic proximity

THREATS

* Rising raw material prices
* Increasing competition
* Rising manpower cost
* US economic slowdown discouraging people in buying cars

III. RECOMMENDATION

The Ford Motor Company must use their strengths to take the advantage of the opportunities in developing new types of cars (family cars and electronic cars), developing new markets in Asia, investing money for marketing in raising markets. Ford may use their strengths in avoiding the threats by continuing control cost, remaining relationship with...
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