In early 1999, Ford announced an integrated e-commerce strategy, with the objective of creating an interface among customers, dealers, vendors and even competitors. The SWOT analysis was studied for the development the strategy, as well as the chances of success of such strategy. With Ford's desire to shift from dealer-centric' selling to consumer-centric' selling, we looked at the typical characteristics of online customers and how dealers could reinvent themselves to remain relevant in the changing automotive industry. The quest of Ford's goal to become the world's leading consumer company that provides automotive products and services has compelled Ford into integrated e-commerce strategy in connecting with consumers through multiple touchpoints namely those Ford's automotive-related services. (ie. Hertz, Ford Credit and Kwik Fit) Ford has also reviewed her competitive advantage against her challengers to remain on course of her vision: "To become the world's leading consumer company for automotive products and services".
With the rapidly advancing technologies that are occurring in modern business, organisations are required to be ready, and able to adapt within their ever-changing environment. It is true across all diverse industries that in order to stay competitive, organisations must be able to utilise the various tools that technology has to offer. Technological factors have been of growing importance, particularly in recent years. A major factor involved in these technology issues is the use of the Internet as a major issue to modern organisations. The Internet has been rapidly growing since its inception and is now commonly used in all sectors of societies, in all corners of the globe. The Internet has quickly become one of the most valuable assets in modern technology, and as such, is developing as an integral part of modern commerce.
FORD'S e-COMMERCE STRATEGY
In early 1999, Ford announced an integrated e-commerce strategy, with the objective of creating an interface among customers, dealers, vendors and even competitors. The strategy was expected to improve its supply chain management practices (through the creation of a B2B integrated supplier exchange), develop long-lasting employee relations to offering features customized according to the needs of the customers, online. (similar to Dell Computer's model) Hence the main objectives were to bring speed, convenience and information to customers. This initiative made Ford one of the first auto manufacturers to do business through the Internet.
SWOT Analysis of FORD
A SWOT analysis identifies a company's internal strengths and weaknesses and possible external opportunities and threats. Hence with this information, Ford began to formulate, and possibly implement, competitive strategies to deal with its future.
Size/global exposure - Largest trucks manufacturer in the world.
Diverse range of products/business - world number two manufacturer of cars, auto-rental business with Hertz, conducts business with it subsidiary, Ford Credit and Kwik-Fit holdings, which provides car financing and repairs respectively.
Loss of market share - Due to foreign competitors, such as Toyota Motor, increasing their market share in the US.
Struggling European operations - Increased competition from both European and Asian brands, and a negative outlook on net vehicle pricing in Europe has implemented dramatic cost cutting measures.
Pensions contributions - Faces rising pension and health-care obligations for its large retiree base.
Asian automotive market - Ford Motors has formed strong links in the Asian market with stakes with Mazda.
Global industry exposure - Auto & Truck Manufacturers Industry has seen a dramatic slowdown over recent years. This is due to the world economy, increased taxes, petrol prices and general running costs may reduce public demand...
References: 1. Ford 's E-Business Strategy, by Vivek Gupta & D Sirisha of ICFAI Center for Management Research (ICMR), Hyderabad, India
2. Ford 's e-Business Strategy, UVA-BC-0145, 5 May 00, Edward, W.D., and B.R. Allen
3. Getting Ford into High Cyber Gear, Brian Kelley, BW e.biz—2/2/00—Movers & Shakers
4. ChannelNet Drives Customers to Ford 's Online Dealerships, By Jon Hewett
5. Ford Connecting to Consumers Via E-Business, DEARBORN, MI USA 09/15/1999
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