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John Fleming on Go Further

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 Global Manufacturing and Labor Affairs Executive Vice President Talks Going Further for the Customer

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​DEARBORN - @Ford Online recently shared time with John Fleming, Ford Global Manufacturing and Labor Affairs executive vice president to discuss the role the Manfacturing community plays in making the Go Further brand promise come to life.  Below is an excerpt from that interview which took place at the company's Dearborn Truck Plant.

Q. How do you describe the Go Further brand promise to your Manufacturing team?
A. The way I’ve described it is it really is a promise.  It’s a commitment.  It’s not a sales and marketing tagline.  It’s actually something which is very real based on what I think we’ve done for many, many years.  We always go further.  We take any issue, any opportunity, any problem – we look for a solution.  But we never stop there. We always look for the next step, the next opportunity.  I describe it really as us being able to talk about that which we’ve done inside Ford Motor Company for many, many years.

Q. What kind of reaction have you had from employees regarding Go Further?
A. It’s been very positive.  People get it.  People understand it.  They know that the heart of the Ford Production System (FPS) is continuous improvement.  And in reality, continuous improvement and Go Further are very much the same thing.  So they really understand it and they’re very positive about it.  
Q. What does Go Further mean to you personally?
A. I believe that it’s a promise, that it’s a commitment that we really make to each other. It’s about looking at everything we do and always going the extra mile, always looking for the next opportunity.  That’s what it really means to me.  And I think that’s what it means to the whole team.

Q. In what ways does the Go Further brand promise reflect how you and your team work from day to day?
A. If you take a look at where we are today for this discussion, we’re at the Dearborn Truck Plant.  We make the iconic F-Series here.  Fourteen or 15 years ago, we were looking at putting the remodeled F-Series here at Dearborn and there were a lot of ways that we could have done it. 
What we did was look back at the Rouge as a 20th century icon of the industrial era and asked ourselves the question, "How would we move it to something that is 21st century" and be "An iconic, sustainable industrial center."

And when you look at what we’ve done, we’ve put a flexible system in place, which is world class. But we’ve also put it into a heritage center that takes the very best of state-of-the-art sustainability and we’ve put it all in one here in the Dearborn Truck Plant. 

Now we didn’t have to do that. No one forced us to do that.  But as a company we said this is the way that we go further.  We hadn’t thought of go further then, but it’s a real demonstration of what Manufacturing and the company recognize as so important.  We go so much further.

Q. Can you give a couple of examples of how your team has gone further to demonstrate the One Ford plan in action?
A. One example is the Michigan Assembly Plant.  We transformed an assembly plant for trucks, recognizing that the most likely thing that would happen is that we will downsize from trucks to cars. We made a truck plant into an car assembly plant. And we didn't just stop there.

We’ve implemented what is best from an efficiency perspective.  We have installed the very best and latest technology for flexibility. And we’ve even gone as far as looking at power usage and put solar cells outside to capture solar energy. There are so many examples of where and how the Manufacturing team has gone further in their day to day functions. 

Q. How are you going further for the customer?
A. Within FPS, the customer – especially delivery to the customer – is critical.  And when you look at the quality and you also look at the cost. You bring those things together and the team is continually working on refining the process, improving the process and delivering the absolute best that we know how to do as a Manufacturing team to the customer. 

Q. How do you think Go Further distinguishes Ford from its competitors?
A. In my opinion, it’s not the words “Go Further” that will distinguish us with our competition.  It’s really the process of how we work together to continually go beyond, to not only meet the aspirations of the customer, but to go beyond that to do better, to do things that they are not really expecting us to do.  That’s a very real example.

I think if you look at the total plan – the One Ford plan – you look at One Team, One Goal, One Plan.  You look at delivering profitable growth for all.  Nobody else can deliver that – only us at Ford Motor Company.  

Q. In what ways do you believe Go Further contributes to the transformation of Ford Motor Company?
A. I believe Go Further helps us transform the company because it really brings everything together. It brings the One Ford strategy as well as the brand pillars.  It brings our production system, our Product Development system.  It brings everything together into one promise, which is Go Further. 

Q. Do you foresee any change in the way your team will operate since the establishment of the Go Further brand promise?
A. No.  I don’t think it will change the way that we do business.  The way we’ll change to do business is through FPS. By doing that we’ll be able to live up to the brand promise.

I don’t believe the brand promise is anything more than a recognition and commitment that everything that we do every day is aimed to make sure that we deliver what Ford Motor Company commits. 




2/23/2012 8:30 AM