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The Ford Motor Company Issues Case Study

Essay by   •  July 11, 2011  •  Case Study  •  613 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,587 Views

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THE FORD MOTOR COMPANY

Intraorganisational electronic commerce (which is much concerned with Intranets and their application to BPR.) is arguably the hottest electronic commerce application today; many companies are using and creating intranets as a launching ramp onto the information superhighway and the emerging digital economy.

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Traditionally, the sharing of information within organisations has been quite problematic. The coordination of multiple platforms, data formats, interfaces, and protocols, mitigated against the sharing and exploitation of knowledge within an organisation, and in turn created islands of information which were, more often than not, redundant and under-utilised. Using Internet protocols internally can help to overcome the main compatibility problems at a stroke.

The Problem

Ford Motor Company launched its globalisation program in January 1994, called Ford 2000, to centralise the development of global product categories, which would then be customised to meet the demands of local markets. This is in essence the creation of intra-organisational electronic commerce, using CSGW as a base. Central to this globalisation is the need to coordinate disparate product development activities. This called for flexible information systems and an application for managing and transmitting design documents across various Ford Centers around the world. Installing such systems quickly meant a move to more agile packaged client-server software and platforms. This move was met with strong resistance from the company's IS department and led to the reassignment of CIO responsibilities to the company's chief of reengineering in early 1996.

To support the coordination of design activities worldwide, Ford installed Metaphase, a product document management system (PDM) from Structural Dynamics Resource Corporation. The PDM organises the storage and access of design documents generated by the company's existing Computer Assisted Design (CAD) applications, as well as information on specifications and availability of various components of those designs. The documents are viewed and marked-up using Netscape browser software running on networked personal computers and workstations worldwide.

Expert Systems provide design guidelines and advisories that help designers stay within the limits of Ford's manufacturing infrastructure and parts inventory. The PDM/browser system essentially forms a Product Information Systems component to the corporate intranet through which product development teams throughout the globe can coordinate changes and information. The system also serves as an extranet, providing product design information to major suppliers developing vehicle sub-systems

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