3D Printing Among Advanced Technologies Newly Appointed Ford President & CEO Looks to for Motor Giant’s Future

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Do you remember your first car? Mine was a little green Ford Contour, which I adored and named Baby. My parents purchased the secondhand car when I was 18, and I drove Baby until it couldn’t drive anymore, may it rest in peace. It was a great car, which is to be expected from the Ford Motor Company. The global automotive and mobility company, headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, designs, manufactures, markets, finances, and services the full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, and electrified vehicles, along with Lincoln luxury vehicles. The company runs 62 plants worldwide, and the brand name is instantly recognizable. The company is a fan of 3D printing, and sees the technology as a major part of the future of car design, and for manufacturing end-use vehicle components.

Announced and effective as of this morning, Ford now has a new president and CEO in place, along with several other important leadership changes. These changes were designed and rolled out to help the company shore up its automotive business, and also get the ball rolling for what the company’s press release calls a “strategic shift to capitalize on emerging opportunities.”

Jim Hackett

62-year-old Jim Hackett, the new Ford president and CEO, succeeds Mark Fields, who’s retiring after 28 years with the company. Hackett, who was previously the CEO of Steelcase, was a Ford board member from 2013 to 2016, and has served as the executive chairman of Ford Smart Mobility LLC for the past year, will report to Executive Chairman Bill Ford and lead the company’s global operations and 202,000 employees.

“I am so excited to work with Bill Ford and the entire team to create an even more dynamic and vibrant Ford that improves people’s lives around the world, and creates value for all of our stakeholders,” said Hackett. “I have developed a deep appreciation for Ford’s people, values and heritage during the past four years as part of the company and look forward to working together with everyone tied to Ford during this transformative period.”

Hackett has plenty of experience with innovation and business success, and looks to be a good choice to help the company strengthen its operations and continue to transform for the future.

Ford said, “We’re moving from a position of strength to transform Ford for the future. Jim Hackett is the right CEO to lead Ford during this transformative period for the auto industry and the broader mobility space. He’s a true visionary who brings a unique, human-centered leadership approach to our culture, products and services that will unlock the potential of our people and our business.”

Key goals outlined for Hackett’s tenure leading the company include:

  • Sharpening operational execution
  • Modernizing Ford’s business
  • Transforming the company to meet future challenges

In addition to making sure that the company has the right talent, culture, and strategic processes to succeed going into the future and boosting the operational execution for the global business, Hacket and Ford will be making the continuing modernization of Ford’s business a major priority. The two will be working to use innovative new tools and techniques to improve the company’s efficiency and speed up decision making across the board, “increasingly leveraging big data, artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, 3D printing and more.”

Ford fits right in with the current Industry 4.0 trend of utilizing automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. The company is already well-versed in using innovative technology like 3D printing, from launching an online 3D printed model car shop and using Carbon’s CLIP technology in its additive manufacturing research program to using 3D printed prototypes to enhance the design of the 2017 Ford GT, using 3D imaging and LIDAR to test its autonomous cars in blizzard-like conditions, and teaming up with PieceMaker to sell customizable, 3D printed, on-demand replicas of the Ford F-150 and Mustang.

Perhaps most significant is Ford’s recent involvement with Stratasys, and its Infinite Build 3D Demonstrators, which were showcased at IMTS 2016. Ford is the first automotive industry company to test the technology, which offers unlimited part size production capabilities due to printing on a vertical plane, and has been working with Stratasys to develop the system, offering feedback along the way. The company hopes to eventually use the system to produce vehicles in its Ford Performance line, and to personalize car parts for owners.

Stratasys 3D printing technology in use at Ford’s Dearborn, MI plant

Back in August, Mike Whitens, director, Vehicle Enterprise Sciences, Ford Research & Advanced Engineering, said, “3D printing holds the promise of changing automotive design and manufacturing because it opens up new ways to innovate and create efficiencies in production. Our vision at Ford is to make high-speed, high-quality printing of automotive-grade parts a reality. We are excited about the future opportunities that the scalable and versatile Infinite-Build concept can unlock, and look forward to collaborating with Stratasys to help achieve our goals.”

In addition to naming Hackett as Ford’s new CEO, the company announced a new operations structure and appointed several new company leaders:

  • Jim Farley, new executive vice president and president, Global Markets
  • Joe Hinrichs, new executive vice president and president, Global Operations
  • Marcy Klevorn, new executive vice president and president, Mobility
  • Mark Truby, succeeding Ray Day as vice president, Communications
  • Paul Ballew, vice president and Global Chief Data and Analytics Officer

Farley, Hinrichs, and Klevorn will all report to Hackett and assist with the company’s day-to-day operations, as well as helping him drive cost efficiency and innovation to continue building Ford’s brand and capitalizing on new opportunities. Discuss in the Ford forum at 3DPB.com.

 

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