Ford Processes

Skip to transcript

Here everything is made and you just assemble it, you just screw everything together and bolt it. Production work – the way it’s been designed, you don’t have to know anything. They just show you one part and as long as you know your part and you do it to the best of your ability everything fits together and by the end you turn the key and the vehicle starts.

Nobody is a mechanic but it works. It’s amazing how it, you know, the whole concept how it works is great. Everyone has a process and they follow their process. And at the end of it you build a vehicle and nobody knows how they did it. [laughs]

Roy A

I was doing the Superintendent’s job, Material Planning and Logistics. And we looked after – from when the orders come into the plant, so what’s known as the segmentation where the stuff’s put into buildable chunks to the supply chain were looked after. So obviously our suppliers were from all round the world.

We also looked after all the forklifts that would take all the parts to the line and we’d unload all the lorries to the receiving bays. So literally it would be from when the parts were ordered through to getting the parts right up to line side.

Then we also ran the software that controlled the plant, so from producing the image of the vehicle, what colour it wants to be sprayed, what trim it takes, so the whole coordination of the parts supply basically.

Deborah B

The Transit is a very difficult vehicle to build. I think someone once told me there are something like 10 million variants of Transit. Every vehicle that comes down the assembly line could be different.

Richard G

Sequencing of parts where a signal will go from a point on the production line to suppliers outside of the factory to start building a particular type of component and delivering it on time to match the vehicle. Now there is a lot of work and a lot of calculations went into that.

But one of the things is that a very important part of that is when the vehicle drops onto the production line and that’s the point when you send the signal. You couldn’t take that vehicle out of sequence. So once it was set, that was it, it was fixed right through until it came off the production line right at the end. It has to stay in that order.

We have to fix the order or sequencing will not work. So it really improved the efficiency of the line. The people on the line spent more time building and less time walking, rather than the other way round. Because now with the sequencing they came to one point on the production and it was just a matter of selecting it from one pallet.

Patrick M

The company was starting to try new methodology in the early 2000s – 2002 , 2003. I joined the FPS Team. That’s the Ford Production System. It was about making processes more efficient. And there was a lot of people, the guys on the shop floor didn’t agree with it, nor did the union. But Ford had to do something.

And as we rolled it out we were having to provided ideas to make things more efficient in the plant, which also meant reducing the head count. This was part of the process planning, I suppose. We created what I call off-line jobs.

For instance, things like head lamps were being fitted in and wing mirrors used to be – the operators used to go to – they used to have their work station but they’d have their boxes all down the line and sides of the line and they’d be walking all over the place, picking up different parts, because you had different colours. So they would spend most of their job walking around picking parts up, which the company called non-value-added.

So you take that out of the equation. They then took those – all those boxes off the line and put them into another area and got a contractor to pick those parts and put them into like pigeon holes. So that that bloke on the line saved maybe a minute of his time now, but then you had the next job along and they did exactly the same with that. So you’d lost one of those people. So you end up with one person – and then they’re paying a contractor fifty percent less just to pick the parts.

David H

Sometimes you had sub-assembly areas, so rather than construct suspensions on line or whatever, you might have a sub-assembly area where you’d put the springs together or any type of module that you’d need assembling that you didn’t want to do online you’d do it offline. So that when the part got to the line you’d just clip it on or screw it on or stick it in or whatever. So we’d have sub-assembly areas and that involves kitting and other bits and bobs you do on the computer set up.

Deborah B