Ford Motors: an Internet Story

Business Re-engineering

In the area of organization’s re-engineering process innovation is the set of activities that achieve substantial business improvements. Companies seeking to benefit from process innovation go through the regime of identifying the processes, the factors for change, developing the vision, understanding the current process, and building a prototype for the new organization. History shows that organizations who define their processes properly will not have problems managing the issues and developing the change factors [9]. When introducing technology, business redesign is necessary. The industrial fields have been using Information Technology to remodel processes, control production, and manage material for generations. However, it is only recently that companies recognized that the fusion of IT and business would go beyond automation to fundamentally reshaping how business processes are undertaken [10].

When foreign companies were allowed to compete in the U.S. market, Ford understood that to succeed in business in a competitive arena it needed to implement strategies that competitors find difficult to imitate [11]. As a result, Ford bought Sweden Volvo to enter the European market, and partially owned Mazda to have a competitive edge with Japanese cars1 [12]. To achieve that it re-engineered its production development activities and global corporate organization and processes for dramatic cost reduction. Furthermore, it understood that expansion requires collaboration and alignment, and thus planned to establish the IT infrastructure through a WAN that connected all the offices. In the process of innovation and re-engineering, Ford has set policies to manage the cost of establishing the network, built models for continuous implementation, and organized global meetings to align all parties with the process. Adding to that, when it came to managing the website, Ford facilitated an awareness campaign for all the branches to understand that Ford is using the web to collaborate and research and adapting information technology as a way to maximize its business value. The goal for Ford was to maintain its leadership in the market and to do that in the most efficient and cost effective method that is there.

Supply chain management

Supply chain management (SCM) is about coordinating between suppliers, manufactures, distributors, retailers, and customers [13]. The basic idea that SCM applications revolve around is providing information to all those who are involved in making decisions about the product or goods to manage delivery from the supplier to the consumer [14]. Studies show that reducing errors in supply chain distribution, increases revenue, enhances productivity, and reduces the order-to-fulfilment period [15].

Ford often compared its supply chain process to that of Dell’s, in an attempt to close the gaps in its own process and reach the level of success Dell has reached. The difference in the distribution model between Dell and Ford lies in the middle link of using retail shops. Since Ford cannot skip retail as a focal distribution point, it worked on establishing a network of retail shops that it owned. Ford made sure shops are not affecting each other in terms of sales, and gave them all a standard look and feel to establish itself in the consumer’s market as a prestigious cars sales retail company. Furthermore, extensive re-engineering initiatives were undertaken to enhance Ford external network by eliminating the correlation with smaller suppliers. In that way, Ford made sure that key suppliers have access to forecasting data from customers’ purchasing trends and production information to enable a faster order-to-delivery cycle. Ford vision was to create a model that allowed flexibility, predicable processes and delivered the product at the right time to the right consumer.

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