Ford Case

Read the Ford Motor Co. case that you will be reporting on this week. “Fixing” the automotive supply chain has been a sort of holy grail for supply chain people for decades, so that should be some sort of clue that there are no simple answers. The concepts of modularization and postponement are critical here, hence the readings for the week. The Swaminathan article is a tough read, but Simchi-Levi does a decent job of translating it in the textbook. Based on the readings, I am expecting a more insightful report than you will typically find online. To help you with that, I can supply some background on the auto industry. The case material is rather simplistic and out-of-date even at the time of writing (late 90’s). As I indicate in the syllabus, I have spent about 25 years as part of Ford’s supply chain with various Tier 1 suppliers. As a result I know more about the supply side of the business than I do about the distribution side, but I do know some things about the latter. Both sides are likely to have a role in any solution. The Holweg article is good background and is pretty accurate although some of the terminology may be foreign to you.

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