To-date, Ford Motor Company has gone from 27 different vehicle platforms down to just nine since the initiative started in 2007. The global automaker ultimately plans to reduce that to eight in the near future.
Yet despite this sweeping consolidation, “global sales volumes are higher than 2007,” said Ford VP of Global Purchasing Hau Thai-Tang. “This is a huge source of efficiency for us.”
The One Ford intiative was instituted by CEO Mark Fields’ predecessor, Alan Mulally. Beside consolidating vehicle platforms, the One Ford plan is also taking a hard look at how to maximize economies of scale with regard to parts. Wherever Ford Motor Company can use a shared component in multiple markets, the automaker does so. But even when different markets demand differing components, oftentimes Ford is able to work with parts suppliers to create parts which can be manufactured at the same facility, but which look and perform differently.
Since the start of the One Ford program, the automaker has learned that vehicles destined for different markets “don’t necessarily have to have the same part, the same part number,” but can still be ordered from the same supplier, “[allowing] them to operate at a high level of efficiency,” said Mr. Thai-Tang. Taking such a thorough, critical look at how the automaker can meet the needs of a maximum number of markets with the fewest necessary differentiations means bigger profits, increased capacity, and in the end, a more competitive, streamlined global automaker.