DEARBORN - Last week, @Ford Online had the opportunity to speak with Ford Global Purchasing Group Vice President Tony Brown about how his organization goes further each day for the company and working with suppliers. Below is an excerpt from that discussion.
Q. In what ways do you believe the brand promise reflects the way you and your team have been working day to day so far?
A. From a day-to-day standpoint, there are two really good examples. About this time a year ago, we had the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant meltdowns in Japan. But when that occurred there was a coming together of the Ford Motor Company's cross-functional team with our suppliers. As a result of this coming together and figuring out how to solve a problem, which didn’t seem to have a solution, was a clear example of the Ford family – of One Ford with our suppliers and our stakeholders – going further.
A little later in the year, we had a situation in Thailand where we had 50-year floods. It was something that you couldn’t possibly imagine. And again, that same team of people across the company with our suppliers came together. We were doing things like having Navy divers, diving down into the river pulling tools out. Ford Motor Company people helping them row the boats in and then pull the boats out, take the tools off the boat, clean the tools up, get them ready and back into production in a way that would allow us not to have a significant impact on our business. That’s an example from an organizational perspective of us going further.
Q. Any additional examples you would like to share on how your team has already gone further to deliver on the One Ford plan?
A. Another example of how Ford and our stakeholders have gone further is that as the industry started ramping back up, volumes came up a lot faster than any of us were expecting. So again, here’s an example where the cross-functional Ford team, including all of the key functions, came together, and recognized that there was not sufficient capacity in the supply base to support the sales levels that we could achieve. Working internally and collaboratively with our suppliers, we got together and figured out, what were the issues? What are the bottlenecks that exist that prevent us from taking advantage of those growth opportunities and let’s figure out how to solve them. And collectively we worked through that – a problem again that looked as though it didn’t ave a solution – a true example of going further together.
Q. What does the brand promise mean to you personally?
A. Personally, I have a lot of family members who purchase vehicles. And our company is not just about the vehicle transaction. When I put a family member in a Ford vehicle it’s about something more. Ford is about something special – its history, the impact that we’ve had on society, our view that it’s not just about the bottom line it’s about making the world a better place – and so from a personal level that’s what it means to me. We’re about something broader than the bottom line from a financial perspective.
Q. In what ways do you feel that Go Further contributes to Ford’s transformation plan?
A. I think it’s an embodiment of One Ford, a coming together as one organization focused in on a set of strategies and plans to deliver on our product plans and our business enterprise plans to ultimately make the world a better place.
Q. Have you had an opportunity yet to discuss the brand promise with any of your suppliers?
A. It’s fairly new, but interestingly enough because our suppliers play such an important part in the design and development of our vehicles, it’s important that they also understand what Ford Motor Company is about. So in collaboration with our Product Development colleagues we do something that we call EBTRs, which are Executive Business Technology Reviews. In those dialogues, the suppliers also have to understand what Ford is about in order for them to help us to design products that deliver for our customers the ability for them to go further.
Q. As you think about the brand promise is there anything else that comes to your mind in terms of a message to employees?
A. Continune to exemplify the company's Go Further global brand promise. Keep doing what you’re doing. We’ve got a wonderful company here. We’ve got great people. We’re about something bigger than ourselves. And that’s why Go Further is an appropriate way to think about how we interface with our customers and deliver our brand promise.