At Mazda, Fields began an employee-education course. It started with the white-collar crowd but eventually involved everyone. They learned about the impact of exchange rates, capacity utilization and so on. It was Business 101.
The author states that at Mazda, the employees weren't aware of how bad the situation was. I tend not to believe that in this case. What with all the press hounding FoMoCo and Employee forums and other internet chatter, I think only employees that have been living in a box could be oblivious to the situation. The author also says that employees once appraised of the situaion, accepted the realities and did not squalk when plant closings were necessary. Now I think it's the reporter that's living in a box, if he thinks the UAW and employees will give silent ascent and take one for the team.
Define the brandFields insisted that Mazda's product planners and the whole company know what the Mazda brand stood for.
Easier said than done, especially if you compare Ford to Mazda. Mazda is a smaller company, with fewere expectations from the market. Ford is expected as the "#2" domestic automaker to have a broader market presence, especially when you consider multiple brands such as Mercury and Lincoln. But the point is somewhat valid, in that Ford needs to have a clearer identity for each of it's brands.
Ford needs the same treatment. What does Ford stand for? Lincoln? Mercury?
Ford stands for value and performance, Lincoln for luxury and Mercury for... Well hell Mercury stands for Ford but a little pimped out.
Here's an idea. Cull the work force for the most skilled workers, set them up in a low-investment factory and have them hand-build or customize limited-edition cars. Replace them on the line with folks who have been playing cards at the Jobs Bank.
Nice idea, but what vehicles is the reporter talking about? The GT is dead, and Ford doesn't stand for "Hand Built." This doesn't seem like an answer for Ford, it sounds more like Jaguar.
Mark Fields better be one hell of a "Wonder Boy" if he's going to do all of this in a few short years.