By Tim Chappell, Lincoln-Mercury Public Affairs
Originally published in the Third Quarter 1994 issue of Continental Comments (Issue # 199).
Ford Motor Company Thinks Global and Acts Local
Detroit, July 29—The business world today finds itself in a global marketplace in which information can travel the globe in a matter of seconds, and the actions of a person in Australia can immediately influence the decisions of a person in Texas.
So how do businesses adapt to these global changes? According to Ed Hagenlocker, newly appointed president of Ford Automotive Operations, “businesses must adapt by thinking global, but acting local.”
For the past year and a half, Ford has had a series of study teams evaluating the operation of the company’s worldwide automotive business as a single profit center using common engineering, design and manufacturing processes. This movement to a global operation, which internally is called “Ford 2000”, will be implemented starting January 1, 1995.”
One of the principal goals of ‘Ford 2000’ is to eliminate duplication of design and engineering efforts and product investments in our operations,” said Hagenlocker. “We also want to become quicker in our response time to customers, our concept-to-market cycle times and in all our decision making processes.”
Initially, “Ford 2000” will merge the company’s American and European operations with the eventual goal of incorporating the company’s Asian, Latin American and Australian operations as well.
The movement to global operations will create five Vehicle Centers that will have cradle to grave responsibility for the design, manufacture and sales of vehicle lines assigned to the centers. Four Vehicle Centers will be located in Dearborn, Michigan and one will be located in Europe.
The Vehicle Centers located in Dearborn will be responsible for 1) large front wheel drive (FWD) vehicles, 2) rear wheel drive cars, 3) light trucks and 4) commercial trucks. The European Vehicle Center will be responsible for small to medium size FWD vehicles. Through the use of satellites, teleconferencing, computer aided design and computer aided manufacturing and other state of the art technology, any Vehicle Center will be able to share information, design and processes with any other Vehicle Center.
Simply put, “Ford 2000” will ensure that Ford’s worldwide resources and inputs are fully capitalized in the product development process and will build on the lessons learned from the global development of the Mercury Mystique, Ford Contour and the European Ford Mondeo.
Although the structure of Lincoln-Mercury generally will not change as a result of “Ford 2000,” from a customer’s perspective there will be differences. “Ford 2000” will result in faster response times to changes in customers’ preferences and demands as well as the production of more high quality, world-class vehicles—which will be good for the customer, the dealer organization and Lincoln-Mercury.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For those of you who may not know, Wixom, Michigan has been the Lincoln assembly plant since 1958.