Ford Adopts ‘One Manufacturing’ System to Reduce Production Costs, Improve Flexibility
Workers at Ford's Louisville Assembly Plant assemble the all-new Escape after an employee celebration to mark the $600 million transformation of the facility. Ford added 1,800 jobs for a second shift at the plant earlier this year, and will be adding another 1,300 to a third shift starting in the third quarter. Photo by: Sam VarnHagen/Ford Motor Co.
TRAVERSE CITY, MI – Ford Motor Co. announced it implemented a new manufacturing operating system, called “One Manufacturing,” that will help the company improve efficiency, increase manufacturing capacity utilization, and reduce overall production costs.
This new manufacturing system largely involves the use of common manufacturing processes and standard systems for tracking material, delivery, maintenance, and environmental costs. It also involves more use of virtual tools that allow Ford to reduce the cost of new plants and improve model changeover efficiencies.
Ford reported that last year, 55% of its operations had flexible body shops. This figure will increase to 65% in 2012, and that as the automaker opens new plants, each one will have a flexible body shop. By 2015, Ford will be able to produce 25% more derivatives of existing vehicles per plant than in 2011.
Next, these process improvements will allow Ford to take advantage of global economies of scale and improve its capacity utilization. By 2016, Ford’s global capacity utilization on a two-shift basis will increase 27% when compared with 2011.
Virtual tools allow Ford to simulate how vehicles can be assembled in order to design assembly lines that reduce the potential for injuries and accidents while improving quality. Since 2006, the automaker reported it has reduced the number of manufacturing build issues when it first produces a vehicle by more than 90%. In addition, virtual tools have reduced the investment required to assemble a vehicle by more than 20% since 2009, and the company has reduced the investment to produce a vehicle derivative by 60%. Ford said that greater use of virtual tools and standard processes will reduce total vehicle investment costs by 8% per year going forward.
The company noted it is expanding in its Asia Pacific Africa (APA) region, adding nine new plants in countries in that region. Ford stated this will increase APA’s capacity to produce 2.9 million vehicles a year. All of these changes are in line with the company's "One Ford" plan to streamline production leverage the company's global manufacturing capabilities.
“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,” said John Fleming, Ford executive vice president, Global Manufacturing.