Analysis of Ford Motor Company
Lean manufacturing or “Lean” involves the utilization of resources only to achieve a goal that is customer oriented, avoiding waste and targeting elimination of seemingly unimportant practices (Feld, 2000).
Ford Motor Company has taken the Lean approach by outsourcing most of its jobs to foreigners. This eliminates costs in the home base, giving the company an opportunity to focus on areas that will satisfy customers’ needs and specializing in areas that need special focus. As a result of the Lean approach the company has been able to drastically reduce its expenditures from and initial $80 million to $60 million. This is what has enabled it to maintain its jobs in the United States. Ford also sold it Volvo brand to a Chinese company as part of the Lean operations.
Ford Motor Company has also been more customer-oriented, offering exactly what is required by customers. This can be seen through its collaboration with Microsoft to implement the Microsoft Holm System in the Ford Focus’s electronic version that is a hit in the market. The company has also been innovative in virtual ergonomics, delivering technologies that range from motion capture to human modeling software. These are incentives suited for the modern market.
Ford Motor Company has undoubtedly applied the elements of Lean manufacturing, which are short cycles, technology, total focus on quality, improved systems, continuous improvement as with the latest model of Ford Focus, and encouraging better people participation in the manufacturing process.
Six Sigma involves the improvement of the quality of output process by identifying and eliminating the sources of defects or errors in manufacturing. This also entails minimizing variability in the manufacturing and business processes. The model employs a variety of quality management techniques, including statistical applications, and develops a specialized infrastructure of the staff within organizations (such a Black belts and Green belts) who are experienced in using the said methods. Every Sigma method that is carried out follows a particular sequence with quantified targets (Pande & Holpp, 2002).
Ford Motor Company has been consistent in its operations. It is considered the safest automobile brand the world over and this goes with its long history. Its brands have been consistent in spite of the rush by other automakers to vary their brands as a perceived customer attraction factor. Its safety level can be seen in the latest Volvo model it produced before selling the brand to a Chinese company. Additionally, the company is in a good position to capitalize on the recalls that affected Toyota on its Lexus, Prius, Camry and Corolla models. It can capture this by stressing the point that it was the first to introduce the safety canopy in 2002, and this level of consistency prevails even as other automakers falter in safety standards. Ford Motor Company was also the first automaker to install a standard trunk release system in 1999 and this presents a benchmark to be followed by other automakers. It means that the company’s experienced staff have remained ambitious in delivering to the customer in spite of the tumultuous times experienced by the company.
Feld, W. M.(2000). Manufacturing: tools, techniques, and how to use them, Volume 2000. New York: CRC Press.
Pande, P. S & Holpp, L. (2002). What is six sigma? New York: McGraw-Hill Professional.
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