Ford Motor Company (Australia) Win Australia's Best Platinum Award for the Launch of the FG Falcon

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The popular series of industry-specific magazines entitled Australia's Best have officially launched their much-impressive Manufacturing magazine which contains an exclusive interview with Sam Casabene, Ford's Vice President of Purchasing. Sam Casabene accepted the prestigious Platinum award from Bean Media Group, publishers of 'Australia's Best' and gave an in-depth interview to the Sydney-based media company on the importance of suppliers to Ford and the launch of the FG Falcon.

External supplier content can account for up to 70% of our product so it goes without saying that our suppliers are key and critical partners in order for us to deliver our objectives. As mentioned above, we refer to suppliers in the broadest sense- facilities, materials and service suppliers are all critical to the achievement of our aims.

The launch of the FG Falcon in Australia was a big project undertaken by Ford and viewed by many as a complete success. Part of this success must come in the form of 'Australia's Best Manufacturing' Magazine, that carried an exclusive interview with Ford's Head of Purchasing, Sam Casabene.

The popular series of publications entitled 'Australia's Best' were happy to present Mr.Casabene with the Platinum Profile Award. Sam Casabene, Vice President of Purchasing of Ford gives Australia's Best some important insight into why supply chain management is vital to Ford.

Why is efficient supply chain management essential to Ford?

"The manufacturing of motor vehicles is a highly complex business involving thousands of parts and many buildable combinations."

"With the need to build what customers want, when they want it and to have a responsive order to delivery process, an efficient supply chain is required to quickly adapt to these changing requirements. Examples of this are the ability to accommodate changes in colour preferences, trim colours and types, wheel and tyre options, audio options and the like. We need competent supply chains which include key suppliers in raw material supplies, component suppliers, transport and logistics providers, and a wide range of service providers to deliver the end result. These are all integral factors in our supply chain and without all of them working to achieve excellence we cannot capably produce high-quality motor vehicles."

How important do you consider your suppliers to be in achieving Ford's primary company targets?

"Our suppliers play a very critical role in supporting our goals and objectives. Their ability to quickly respond and have their sub-suppliers respond in the upstream supply chain is vital to our ability to meet the changing needs of our customers at the other end of the supply chain."

"External supplier content can account for up to 70% of our product so it goes without saying that our suppliers are key and critical partners in order for us to deliver our objectives. As mentioned above, we refer to suppliers in the broadest sense- facilities, materials and service suppliers are all critical to the achievement of our aims."

What are some of the important aspects you consider when assessing suppliers?

"Our suppliers must have a high probability of complying with our global Q1 Quality standards. Quality is first and foremost - a fundamental ticket to entry given the level of content our suppliers have in the finished product. In what is arguably one of the most open and competitive markets in the world, we must have quality components and services in order to build world class quality vehicles. Beyond this, we need our suppliers to offer us the best and most innovative technologies or at least have access to the best global technologies from both a product design and manufacturing perspective. They must be globally competitive with their costs and financially sound because if they are not competitive, we can't have a competitive offering in the market place. The other important factor is their ability to deliver on time and line with our requirements. This could mean different things for different suppliers depending on their location and their commodities or service offerings. More and more, we need lean and responsive value chains that can either provide frequent deliveries in small batches or deliveries that are sequenced and synchronized with Ford's vehicle build, where in many cases their components and modules are built concurrent with the vehicle they are destined to be fitted to. And last, but not least, we need suppliers with whom we can build strong business relationships and work closely with in a continuous improvement mindset in everything that they do! Again, whilst these comments often refer to component suppliers, they equally apply to our service providers who are all integral to the end result. For example, we cannot have rapid design techniques without the support of best in class, computer hardware and software systems to do the entire computer design and advanced computer aided engineering simulation and testing. It is no use if our component suppliers make their parts on time if we don't have efficient and reliable logistics providers with real time delivery information."

How have Ford's suppliers helped in the launch of the Ford FG Falcon and its development?

"Our key suppliers were involved in the early development stages of the FG Falcon as far back as 2003. One of our key strategies is to get our suppliers on board with our designers and engineers so that their key inputs can be incorporated in the base design and integrated with other vehicle systems to provide the best outcome for the final customer. Our philosophy has always been to work closely with our strategic suppliers and develop a business relationship where we are their customer of choice with access to the latest and best-in-class technologies. This has particularly been the case with the FG Falcon which is full of new safety, suspension, powertrain, interior and electronic features and technologies that give our customers a world class result in our fantastic range of vehicles. Close co-operation with our suppliers right through the development phases, prototype and pre-production build phases has been crucial in getting the Ford Falcon FG to market. This is not to say that from time to time we don't have issues which need patience and co-operation to resolve. However, it is the commitment to working together, striving to deliver the best components and in turn finished vehicles for our customers, that makes working in this challenging industry with our supplier partners such a rewarding experience. You just have to look at and drive the FG Falcon to see what Ford, in combination with its supplier partners, has been able to achieve."

Numerous suppliers to Ford were involved the exclusive editorial feature produced by Bean Media Group. These suppliers included Ai Automotive, Delphi, AI Thermal Systems, Continental, Futuris Automotive, South Pacific Tyres, Autoliv, ZF Australia, Motherson Elastomers, MTM, Bosch Automotive, Mackay Consolidated, Trico Products, Ceva Logistics, APA Manufacturing, Arvin Meritor, Marand Precision, TI Automotive and Walker Australia.

The specific supplier advertisement that were involved in the Ford feature can be found here.

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CHRIS DUTTON
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