Ford CEO “Data will set you free.”
Alan Mulally CEO has said that Ford Motor Company was like a sinking ship when he first arrived in 2007.
Since then Mulally’s “Data will set you free” quote has become the company’s mantra. Now Ford Managers wouldn’t go to a meeting without bearing the truth of the business.
John Ginder who has been with Ford for 22 years said previous to Alan’s arrival no one dreamed of sharing any bad news. He said that Alan has brought a mindset of hard facts only apply to the company. Today the company is all about having a data-driven perspective.
At Ford data analytics devises every business move that they make, from forecasting the price of commodities to figuring out what consumers want, where it should source parts and how to power its line-up of motor vehicles.
Crunching data behind the scenes are some 200 big data and analytics experts from a broad spectrum of disciplines. They work in what Ford calls analytics centers of excellence, which are found in various units of the $134bn company from marketing to credit services and others.
The experts in data have made making all the operational decisions more accurate and smarter. Knowing which brands and models to discontinue, where to procure parts and materials, and how to enable dealers to tweak their inventories to improve their sales. In 2008 Ford posted a record loss of $4.6 billion, a year later Ford posted a profit for the first time in four years. That same year, it launched 25 new vehicle lines and sold 2.3 million cars and trucks in the U.S. they became the first brand to top the 2 million mark in U.S sales since 2007. In 2017 they reported their 17th consecutive quarter with a profit margin.
Ford is heavily focusing it’s analytics efforts on customer preferences an area where they are ahead of their competitors. According to Ginder Ford created a sense of urgency within the company that drove their employees to think outside the box. Ginder said the crisis of 2007/2008 was what became a major turning point for the company and the role analytics can play, “With that combination of crisis, new management and a new perspective, we were emboldened and empowered to look at things quite differently."
Like all automakers, Ford wants to make the best choices when picking the next new vehicle and fuel technologies. Its future depends on it. Data analytics is playing a central role in that process. Big data is only going to get bigger at Ford, which has clearly tied its future to the power of analytics.
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