In May this year the „Registry“ was added to the official Quality IT-Portfolio of Ford Motor Company after a complex development period.
The Registry is an indexing tool for all corporate documents i.e. procedures or directives. An extensive search function and a continuous maintenance ensure that users find fast and easily the current versions of the needed documents.
The Registry provides also each department the possibility to create its own Master Document List (MDL), one of the five pillars of the quality management system. A MDL includes all documents employees of a specific department have to comply with during their daily business. The creation is mandatory for all departments. During ISO 9001 or GAO audits the MDL might be checked regarding missing or out of date entries.
Today in 2014 nearly 5000 documents are registered in the Registry and 341 departments at Ford use the tool. But all started very small in the department Vehicle Operations Manufacturing Engineering (VOME) in 2000.
Bernd Peter was ISO Coordinator and responsible for the execution of internal ISO 9001 audits and the review of the documentation. At that time all departments had several ring binders with procedures or directives in hard copy. This solution ensured neither an easy accessibility of the documents to all employees nor a guaranteed up to date accuracy. Based on these facts Bernd Peter came up with the idea of centralising and digitalising the document management. The first version of the Registry was programed by an external agency whereas the original name was VOPISO (Vehicle Operations ISO). But at that time the functionality and the technical realisation was not yet matured.
Figure 1: Functionality Registry
In 2004 Timo Schuenemann, Technical Specialist in Stamping Engineering, came into touch with the Registry and realised that there was much room for improvement. He decided to take the improvement of the Registry in his own hands. Because of his affinity for IT and previous acquired knowledge in programming it was easier for Timo moving forward. He implemented extensive search- and filter options and additional features to ensure the user-friendliness of the Registry.
His self-initiative and efforts paid off. The number of departments who use the tool increased consistently. With his optimizations the Registry became a helpful tool which supports employees during their daily business. But although the Registry became more and more popular, it still remained a so called “Shadow It-Software”, this means it is software that is not recognised within the official IT-Portfolio of Ford Motor Company.
At the end of 2011 Dr. Werner Klein, Quality Excellence Manager at Ford Europe, addressed the challenge to convince the IT-Team of the benefit of the Registry. He got support from David Bridge, who was involved from IT as a IT Business coordinator and project manager.
It was a tedious project, because a lot of people were involved. Due to Quality and IT priorities it took more than two years from the initial formal request to migrate the application into the Quality Portfolio until all open issues were resolved and the technical migration was complete.
IT did not make any changes to the functionality of the Registry. The program code, which was developed by Timo over the years, was copied across to new supported servers with only minor code revisions to address IT Security, IT standards and technical refresh aspects. IT implemented new servers (Dev/QA/Prod) and upgraded the versions for Oracle and PHP-versions.
In May 2014 the project team reached the final stage: the launch. It was a special moment for the whole project team, especially for Timo Schuenemann, when the status of the Registry was changed from “Shadow IT-Software” to “Production-IT”.
The successful launch proves that “Go Further” really works at Ford. It started with a simple idea nearly twenty years ago. With the commitment of Timo Schuenemann and the support of Dr. Werner Klein and David Bridge, a tool was developed out of this idea which is now officially available for all Ford-employees worldwide.
Could this article arouse your curiosity? Are you interested to learn how to use the Registry? Then please take a look at the FAQs