The automotive industry is one of the largest sectors in the global economy, with the cumulative worth of companies within the sector running into thousands of pounds. Notably, human activities in different areas require the services provided by products from the sector, which in turns explain the necessity for attention on its input and an improvement in its efficiency. Ultimately, success within any sector depends on how much the players within the said industry perform in conserving their resources and appropriately locating their services to serve the interests of the consumers and stakeholders working within the said environment. In line with the necessity for appropriate resource management, the lean management system, adopted by other companies in different sectors of the world economy, evolved from the need to improve resource use and management in the motor vehicle industry.
In essence, management of operations and logistics within the motor vehicle industry is one of the critical ways through which the management could achieve efficient and appropriate use of resources. Attention towards the management of operations and logistics in the production process would increase the chances of production of high-quality products, enough to keep the firm competitive in the global market. Considering the level of globalization of the motor vehicle industry, the research essay herein delves into the significance of operations and logistics management in helping the Ford Company maintain its position in the global market by ensuring high quality and competitive products are made in the different manufacturing and assembly part across the world. In particular, the company's competitive position in UK has been a result of the focus on the welfare of consumers within the market.
The business operation strategies within any organization change according to the management and economic conditions of the market in question. Ford has experienced significant variations in its operations strategies, effectively influencing the development of the company. For instance, in its early years in the business, the 1900s management team employed a live production system that sought to reduce the cost of production as much as possible, thereby making the car units affordable enough for the UK market. Ultimately, the plan was effective as sit aided the company develops a positive reputation in the European market, which has informed its success over the years in which it has been in business. However, the modem production approach involves moving assembly lines in which case employees wait for the vehicle units to come to them. It increases efficiency in labour performance.
Ford needs to compete with other globally renowned motor companies such as Toyota, which has significantly made an impact in the Ford territory. Despite being a Japanese company, Toyota has experienced significant success in the UK and across the Europe, particularly from having an established a production unit in the UK, primarily focused on units for the European market. Consequently, Ford ought to improve its production processes well enough to appeal to a market that could potentially view Toyota products as a better option. Its production processes, including product design and quality management, need to be efficient enough in meeting the consumer expectation lest the company falls further down the pecking order in the vehicle manufacturing industry.
Product Design Issue
Ford vehicle units have undergone significant changes in design, such as increased need for safety in the 1980s leading to introduction of safety belts, across the century in which the company has been in operation. The changes in design have been a result of internal aesthetics, in addition to growing necessities from the market. According to Mayyas, Qattawi, Omar & Shan (2012), additional concerns over sustainability in the production process, the life cycle of the vehicle unit, and the end of life analysis often provide a basis for the intervention made in relation to the different vehicle designs. Similarly, Ford Company in the 1900s was the primary supplier of the vehicle units in the European market. Therefore, the company's main concern was the price of the units, as it needed to keep them low enough to influence sales positively. However, the situation has since changed in the twenty-first century, with the automotive industry having to deal with concerns over the environmental impact of the companies' products.
In essence, product design at Ford has moved from quantity-oriented production in the company's early years in the industry, to quality-oriented production in the contemporary society, all of which have included an improvement to advance the company's position in the market, with potential improvement in market share. Consequently, it has always been necessary for the Ford Company to improve on its designs, which would ultimately imply a greater concern for the carbon footprint made by the vehicle units. Additionally, changes in consumer taste and competition levels within the industry always make up some of the most critical issues that the company needs to address for success within the industry. Lack of concern for the environmental aspects of the vehicle units would have the company risk losing consumer goodwill and the market share if the product design failed to meet consumer expectations and quality levels expected from the vehicle manufacturing companies.
The success of contemporary manufacturing industries lies in their relationship with governments, which is often highly concerned about the environmental implications of the production process. Consequently, environmental sustainability is often a critical issue, and firms need to develop various ways to assess the implications of their units in their environments, and ultimately make appropriate changes to match society's expectations. Developing solutions to environmental concerns ends up saving the company some of the marketing budget, largely due to the significant appeal of vehicle units with the ability to save the environment. The demand for such products is largely insatiable in the modern market.
The product life cycle analysis is one important tool used in product design development in manufacturing companies, as it helps determine the potential implications of the manufactured goods (Heijungs, Huppes, & Guinee, 2010). Ford Company's approach to using the product lifecycle analysis would include the ability to recycle parts of the units for use on newer models in addition to addressing contemporary challenges, particularly related to climate change. The approach to analysis using the product life cycle is based on the potential to increase the service time of a product by increasing the quality based on assessments made (Slack, Brandon-Jones, & Johnston, 2013). At Ford, the outcome of a focus in the product life cycle analysis has been an improvement in the quality of units by determining potential issues before the units leave the production plant.
In practice, the product lifecycle has been effective in determining the future of companies in the motor vehicle industry and has grown in importance with the increased attention on the environmental impact of production processes. Consequently, companies in the manufacturing sector often consider the life cycle of their products and the potential for recycling in their production processes. Where recycling may be a challenge, an effort to guarantee the longevity of the goods helps ensure that there could be the development in technology that would allow the reuse of material used in the production process. For instance, the bodywork of vehicle units could be used in the production process of new units, as long as the manufacturer receives the older unit for him to work with.
Notably, the primary challenge that contemporary vehicle manufacturers have to deal with has been the reduction wastage in production processes which in turns ensures efficiency in the use of natural resources. One of the most significant developments from the vehicle manufacturing companies has been the lean management system, intent on reducing wastage in production process (Emiliani, 2006, 171). Developed by Toyota, the lean management system guarantees that sourcing materials for production are done with a market for the products at hand. Therefore, there will be limited time spent by the finished goods on the company's shelves, which could end up affecting the turnover rates of the business, in addition to providing an opportunity for further development in technology with limited concern over the previously produced goods losing their appeal to the market.
In essence, the lean production approach is essential for development in product design for the Ford Company. At the current rates of development in technology, companies in the manufacturing industry need to improve continuously their units in line with the development in the sector, for them to continuously appeal to the market However, this does not imply disregard for the appropriate standards in the production process. Therefore, it would be critical for the companies to have appropriate quality assessment channels that ensure high-quality production irrespective of efforts to minimize wastage in the production process.
Quality Issue with Manufacturing
Quality principles in production processes could significantly influence the cost incurred in the assessment and potential marketing efforts of the vehicle units at Ford. According to Alexander (2013, 2), total quality management principles involve adherence and observing quality principles in all functions of the production process, from the acquisition of raw materials necessary for production, to the delivery of the finished product to the consumer. Every consumer seeks to receive highest quality of goods from a particular supplier. Therefore, suppliers who make an effort to meet such quality expectations would include assessment of the production process in the various production stage. Otherwise, it would be more expensive for the firm to invest in quality assessment in the final stage of production. Such could necessitate a constant re-evaluation of the production process to ascertain the possible sources of mishaps in the event that some of the products made are deemed to be substandard. For instance, if different vehicle units in the production line appear to have a problem with airbag deployment, it would be easier to determine the problem in the early stages of production
The production process at Ford has experienced a myriad of issues in the recent past that sparked a negative perception for the company's products. There have been recent cases involving poor functionality of different parts of the vehicle units including poor touch screen response on the dashboard, lack of airbag deployment on impact, and in other cases ineffective engine cooling systems (Marzili, 2015). Consequently, such issues could reduce consumer confidence in the company if they are not appropriately addressed. Poor performance in airbag deployment would be a security risk for the customers in case of accidents, while lack of proper responsiveness on the touch screen implies that the company may not have invested sufficient research into the technolog...
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