By Duncan Lawrence, President and CEO
As a Company who develops strong partnerships with our clients, sometimes we are brought “behind the curtain” on their strategic direction. This was the case in early September as Ford invited Morpace to its Top Diverse Supplier meeting.
I heard directly from some of the key leaders at Ford, what they are doing and, more importantly, why they are doing it. This included several highly strategic discussions:
- Overall, the organization is targeting success through: accelerating One Ford, delivering product excellence and driving innovation
- Minority buyers are being targeted, as we heard how the African American purchase process differs from the overall market
- Lincoln has optimism in achieving very aggressive growth plans and is taking major steps forward to embrace the Luxury experience; this includes some impressive new dealerships in China who focus on personalized luxury sales experience.
- The marketplace is changing rapidly, with many highly disruptive innovations that are just beginning to be understood. This includes considerable discussion on how the autonomous vehicle may change many aspects of the vehicle ownership experience in a relatively short time.
- The purchasing process is undergoing review to not only bring costs down, but in a more collaborative approach. Ford realizes it can play a more supportive role by giving more information up front to its suppliers, as well as bundled sourcing.
One of the things that struck me was how much marketing research was driving decisions. We ARE a valuable member of the decision process and Ford’s leaders are using the information in both tactical and strategic ways that are impressive.
As I reflected on the day, it wasn’t necessarily the information that was shared that made me feel special, as much of it is available in the press, it was more about feeling like a partner -being treated in actions, not just words, like a valued member of the team. I came away more energized and have some new ideas on how Morpace can better support Ford’s vision and will be a stronger partner in the years ahead.
And while Mark Fields and I aren’t any better friends than before the meeting, it was nice that he took time to shake my hand!