DEARBORN - The first thing that usually comes to mind when we think of Information Technology (IT) is the computer that one sits in front of all day long and the programs needed for that computer to function. What’s not typically top of mind is IT as the means to get customers behind the wheel of a new Ford Motor Company product.
Before a new product rolls off the line and into the driveway of a Ford customer, IT plays an important role in the company’s manufacturing efforts.
“IT is a key enabler,” said Gail Mattice, director, Global IT and Manufacturing Systems. “Think about any place you see information flow — where you need information, create or transfer information, there is an IT infrastructure supporting it.”
From something as small as the wiring of light fixtures, to instructions for an operator on which part to select, to larger tasks such as ensuring a facility is directed as to what operation is required on a vehicle based on its complexity, the IT team has played role that ensures the infrastructure and systems in the facility are in place and operating effectively.
“Making sure we’re aligned and have an appropriate Manufacturing IT portfolio strategy that drives innovation and delivers innovative technologies where it’s relevant helps move the business forward,” said Mattice.
When considering the global pace at which Ford is growing, all skill teams, including IT, are challenged to have the resources, both internal and external, as well as subject matter experts necessary to support the company’s extensive manufacturing facilities and many product launches.
So how is the IT team collectively broadening their shoulders to accept the growth that is happening all over the world and supporting the needs of Ford’s manufacturing community?
“So far we’ve been able to keep pace and I’m proud to say that IT has delivered on our commitments,” said Mattice. “Manufacturing, like every skill team, has to get better every day. Whether it’s our ability to be able to produce more units by opening new plants, support product change overs or driving efficiencies that are in the business plan we can help by delivering new and innovative technologies and solutions.”