Ford has brought many innovations to both the auto industry and business in general. Back in 1913, Henry Ford was the first to develop the concept for a large-scale vehicle assembly plant. This concept came to be known as “Fordism” and within just a year, his idea spread all over the world. While many of the original ideas for this type of assembly plant are still used today, Ford has created another innovative concept, the “flexible” assembly plant. The adoption of Ford’s “flexible” assembly plant concept will help them to build more vehicles more efficiently.
Over 100 years after Henry Ford first came up with the idea of a vehicle assembly line, Ford has come up with a way to improve it greatly. The first “flexible” assembly plant is Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant (MAP) in Wayne, Michigan. The plant was formerly known as the Michigan Truck Assembly plant but has since been changed over to use the “flexible” concept to build Ford cars. A “flexible” assembly plant is a plant capable of producing more than a single vehicle component at one time. A typical assembly plant only builds one component or vehicle at a time and in order to change the item they are producing, the plant must be shut down for a short period of time. The shutdown allows them to change equipment, reprogram computers and add or subtract the number of workers needed for a project. The “flexible” assembly plants eliminate the needs for the shutdowns and allow multiple components to be produced at one time.
As Ford is continually increasing the number of its vehicles in the over 40 MPG club, including adding more alternative fuel vehicles, the MAP facility will be able to supply powertrains for a majority of them. They are currently able to build five different powertrains that are the heart of the C-MAX Energi and Hybrid, the Focus Electric, ST and SE with the Super Fuel Economy (SFE) package. Ford has also set a new standard with the C-MAX Energi being named the most fuel-efficient and affordable plug-in hybrid. With one of the major blocks to most people interested in hybrids is the price, Ford is trying to price them to be comparable with their gasoline-powered counterparts. The Focus Electric, although only available at EV-certified Ford dealers, is a peek at the future of many vehicles Ford builds. The success of the EcoBoost engines has also allowed Ford to offer the same power as a larger V6 or V8 in a much more fuel-efficient turbocharged four-cylinder or six-cylinder. The new SFE package is currently available only on the Focus SE, but you can expect that to be an option on many more of Ford’s vehicles in the future.
Ford’s Manufacturing and Development teams originally designed the concept for a “flexible” assembly plant in 2008, but it has taken four years to bring it to a point it can be put in place. This helped the MAP facility create over 1,200 new jobs for the Wayne, Michigan area, which were much needed. While this is the only plant of its kind like this in operation currently, expect Ford to transform other plants in the near future allowing them to build more vehicles more efficiently and help boost the local economy with jobs. You can see Ford’s full-line of fuel-efficient and alternate fuel vehicles by visiting www.PermianFord.com. While you are browsing if you have any questions, simply click the chat button and you will be connected to one of Permian Ford’s qualified team members. With the future of Ford shifting towards a bigger variety of highly fuel-efficient vehicles, they will continue to set new standards in vehicle production and quality.