Ford deploying single manufacturing operating system that to support global expansion with improved efficiencies, better capacity utilization
Ford Motor Company is rolling out a single manufacturing operating system intended to deliver improved efficiencies, increase capacity utilization and make the company an industry leader in lowest total cost production, said John Fleming, Ford executive vice president, Global Manufacturing, at the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars In Traverse City, Michigan, today.
Ford is adding capacity around the world, including a broad expansion in Asia Pacific Africa (APA), where the company is adding nine new plants. The facilities will increase APA’s capacity to produce 2.9 million vehicles a year, part of a global plan to meet Ford’s goal of selling 8 million vehicles per year by mid-decade.
As Ford brings on new facilities, it is expanding the use of common manufacturing processes and standard systems for tracking material, delivery, maintenance and environmental costs so that new and existing plants are aligned in how they operate. Ford is also making broader use of virtual tools that reduce the cost of new plants and improve the efficiencies of new model changeovers.
It is critical that all of our assembly operations, wherever they are located, speak the same language when it comes to producing high-quality vehicles in a safe and efficient way.—John Fleming
Ford’s One Manufacturing system includes:
Improved flexibility: Last year, 55% of Ford’s operations had flexible body shops, a figure that will increase to 65% in 2012. As the company launches new plants, each one will have a flexible body shop.
Additionally, the number of vehicle derivatives that can be assembled at a single factory is increasing. By 2015, Ford will be able to produce 25% more derivatives per plant from 2011. Some new plants in APA will be capable of producing six and seven vehicles from a single facility.
Process/quality improvement: Ford is expanding the use of virtual tools that simulate how cars are assembled. By studying the best way for operators to install a seat, for example, Ford can design assembly lines that reduce injuries and accidents while improving quality. Since 2006, Ford has reduced the number of manufacturing build issues when a vehicle is first produced by more than 90%.
Investment efficiency: Virtual tools have already reduced the investment it takes to assemble a vehicle by more than 20% since 2009. In addition, the company has reduced the investment to produce a vehicle derivative by 60%. Going forward, expanding the use of virtual tools and standard processes will reduce total vehicle investment by 8% per year.
Capacity utilization: As Ford launches new plants, it is also reducing the number of platforms from which vehicles are developed. When combined with improved flexibility and more efficiencies, Ford will be able to take advantage of global economies of scale and significantly improve capacity utilization. By 2016, Ford’s global capacity utilization on a two-shift basis will increase 27% compared to 2011.