Ford Company

The Ford KM application is in product verification ( within Ford product development ), where the corporate strategy dictated the need to Re-Use prior verification information and to rigorously follow the systems’ engineering principles, in order to reduce verification costs and improve product quality.   This necessitated the creation of a KM process and a system to implement the verification strategy.   It is the contention of the authors that such a top-down approach is critical to the success of KM projects, since the success of the corporate strategy depends on the success of KM.

The paper describes the details of the development of the KM process at Ford, its tangible and intangible benefits, the technology interface and some of the lessons learned.

3.0       Product Development at Ford

Product Development at Ford involves three major stages, leading up to the manufacture of the vehicle:

                Plan à Design à Verify   àà Make (Manufacture)
Planning is the first stage of product development, where customer/market wants & program scope are identified, timing plans developed and engineering team is named.   The engineering team develops the target cascade and the initial design / verification plans.   The design stage involves the designing of the components, systems and vehicle to meet the pre-determined requirements.   The Verification process makes assessment on the designs and verifies/documents that they meet or exceed the requirements.   Making the product involves manufacture of the components and assembling the vehicle.  

Ford annually spends over $4B on product development [1], as shown in Figure 2, 43% of which ($1.78B) goes towards product verification ( detailed cost breakdown of which is also shown in Figure 2).