For Ford Motor Co., a long-standing symbol of American manufacturing prowess, the past decade's descent into billion-dollar losses--$8.67bn in the most recent quarter--has looked like a terminal spiral to some outsiders.
From inside the storied gates, however, each day presents the same challenges that issued during more auspicious times: Make better vehicles and try to spend less money doing so.
Only today the dynamics are much different. As assembly plants and other production facilities work to pass the Ford name on to future generations, each now casts a wary eye on its fellow plants--comrades in arms, but also competitors. Witness this past summer, when Ford cut back on production of F150 pickup trucks to placate a truck-averse consumer. When production must slim down, redundancy becomes the kiss of death, so each of the various plants involved in F150 production--and every worker therein--felt the noose tighten. Workers sought every efficiency possible, every nip and tuck that might make theirs the most attractive facility and ensure its survival.
Source: Managing Automation
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