Ford's Brave New Supplier Chain

When it announced the One Ford strategy a few years ago, American manufacturer Ford had no idea that the plan would take it, unscathed, through the roughest year in the automotive industry and bring it to new heights of success after that.

That strategy, although mainly aimed at the financial aspects of the business, also included a plan for the products, a plan which spawned a unified set of platforms and shared parts across the range of its models.

This simple concept of sharing has made it possible for Ford to become a global player today probably more than ever. And it is to the same concept that Ford owes the new supply chain for the models it produces.

According to Reuters, citing Ford insiders, the new Ford Focus, for instance, will be assembled using parts from no less than 310 suppliers in 22 countries. Sharing the same platform, regardless of the fact that it is made in Europe, Asia or elsewhere, the new Focus will use 80 percent common parts and 75 percent of the same supply base.

"This whole thing is about economies of scale," said Tony Brown, head of global Ford global purchasing, in an interview with Reuters.

The plan Ford has to simplify the production process, supply included, will grow in proportions in the years to come. With possibly new models to be built on the Focus platform, for instance, the technology would account for 2.2 million units of Ford's total number of cars sold by 2013. For the customer, sharing platforms and parts will mean less money paid when purchasing a new Ford.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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