The Power of One at Ford
December 23, 2010 ‐ 1 comment
At the risk of broadcasting old news to those of our faithful readers who are current on their cover-to-cover perusals of The Economist, we offer the story of Ford Motor Company: an organization that understands the inextricable links between culture, operations and brand. The short of it is this: Alan Mulally stepped into the role of CEO in September 2006 and found that the company operated as a collection of independent fiefdoms, owned a hodge-podge of unrelated brands and built 97 different models of automobile. In terms of operations, his solution is the "One Ford" vehicle policy, whereby the company is not only reducing the number of models it produces (36 and decreasing), but streamlining manufacturing with fewer platforms that are globally consistent. "One Ford" is just as good a moniker for the cultural changes Mr. Mulally is instituting among the leadership team as well. Competition among managers was once the order of the day. Now, it is cooperation that earns executive plaudits – and that is credited with one of the most impressive corporate turnarounds of recent times. In its marketing too, Ford seeks to rationalize its efforts (having previously deployed as many as 28 separate campaigns for a single vehicle). The multiple taglines of a recent television and web campaign even borrow the word 'One' from this organizing corporate principle: Ford appears to get not just the importance of culture, but also its symbiotic relationship with operations and with the brand. Business leaders of the world: we wish you a happy holiday season, all the best in the new year and the same level of organizational perspicacity as the redoubtable Mr. Mulally. Read the full article from the 12/18 issue of The Economist here.
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