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by Tim Beissmann

Ford Motor Company is supporting its largest global expansion in half a century by introducing a single manufacturing process designed to make the company an industry leader in lowest total cost production.

Ford global manufacturing vice president John Fleming says the ‘One Manufacturing’ system will lead to improved efficiencies and increased plant capacity utilisation.

“The global One Ford plan is making it possible for us to deploy One Manufacturing, a single Ford production system that will pay tremendous dividends through standard processes, greater flexibility and improved investment efficiency,” Fleming said.

“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.”

Ford is boosting its production capacity around the world, particularly in our Asia Pacific Africa (APA) region, where it is adding nine new plants. The new facilities will boost Ford APA’s capacity to 2.9 million vehicles per year, as Ford targets eight million global sales per year by the middle of this decade.

Under the One Manufacturing system, some plants will be capable of producing up to seven different models, and each of the new factories will get its own flexible body shop.

Ford Australia’s Sinead Phipps told CarAdvice the manufacturer’s local operations have been involved with the development of the One Manufacturing system, at times taking a lead role in some of the projects.

“In terms of global manufacturing processes, we’re a part of any of those discussions and any of those processes that they roll out globally,” Phipps said.

“If there are any applicable ones for us we implement them in line with the rest of the world as well.

“Particularly in this region – because we are a mature plant, our staff have been working in manufacturing for quite a long time – we test out some of those processes in this region. We’re sometimes the lead plant depending on what it is.”

The One Ford/One Manufacturing strategy dictates that as the company opens new plants it will reduce the number of platforms that vehicles are developed on.

Asked whether the strategy was bad news for Ford Australia – which so far this year has sold just 19,920 Falcon sedans and utes and Territory SUVs, all of which are produced on a platform that is unique in the Ford world – Phipps said the plan to reduce the number of vehicle platforms was not news to it.

“That’s been Ford’s global position for a number of years now with One Ford. It’s about reducing the number of platforms that we produce.

“With Focus, for example, we used to have two different Focuses in different parts of the world, now we have one global Focus. We have one global Fiesta, we’ve got the global Ranger, which was obviously developed here.

“Ford’s global One Ford policy has looked at B-cars, C-cars, C/D-cars with the Mondeo and Fusion, and they’re looking at what’s next with that. That’s what we’ve concentrated on at this stage.”




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