Alan Mulally: The man behind ONE Ford strategy

Tuesday 24 December 2013, 11:48 AM by

Strategical planning is a critical component that plays an important role in the success of an automobile manufacturing firm. Over the years, the best companies in this business have done well due to the expertise that goes into the devising of strategies. Also, top companies in the global automobile industry, quite understandably, have seen several ups and downs. During bad times, change in perspective has been critical in taking companies out of trouble. One company that completely embodies these facts is American giant Ford, one of the oldest names in the history of the car business.

Alan Mulally: The man behind ONE Ford strategy |
Alan Mulally: The man behind ONE Ford strategy

The past four to five years have been critical for the American entity as it has transformed itself completely, overcoming a severe crisis and avoiding bankruptcy. One man has been present at the helm of all this and has, literally, re-shaped the way Ford thinks as a company. Appointed as the Chief Executive Officer in 2006, Alan Mulally presented before this firm a comprehensive strategy with a simple name, ONE Ford. It might be a two-word phrase, too short to name a business philosophy for a company as big as Ford, but has redefined everything. When Mulally took over the reins at this company, he had a huge task at hand as the firm was staring at a loss figure in excess of a colossal $12 billion. He restructured the company culture and most importantly, brought into picture the ONE Ford business strategy.

Aimed at achieve global success, ONE Ford is a four-point business plan that has a completely holistic approach towards things. This strategy targets to “aggressively restructure to operate profitably at the current demand and changing model mix, accelerate development of new products our customers want and value, finance plan and improve our balance sheet and work together effectively as one team.” According to ONE Ford, the company has a singular approach towards work, irrespective of the country it is operating in. Having this sort of attitude has helped Ford to deliver a similar level of quality everywhere, thereby defining its class all around the world. It has also ensured that all employees of Ford, at every level from operational to managerial, are on the same page and work for a common goal. To guarantee that this happens from the side of all members of the team, behavioural guidelines have been defined which are mandatory to follow.

The best apart about this business framework is that it works towards the benefit of everyone, which includes customers, partners, employees, investors, suppliers and operational regions. Essentially, there are three components of this strategy, Great Products, Strong Business and Better World, which have combined to form a formidable growth plan for Ford. All these factors have come together nicely to deliver set output targets. Experts around the world have marvelled at how Alan Mullaly has channelized things at Ford and brought them on terms with things happening around the globe. The incredible work done by this module is clearly reflected in the company's reports and statistics. From the outset, Alan Mullaly has led from the front, inspiring his team to achieve great heights and results are there for everyone to see.

In a recent interview to McKinsey & Company, Mullaly spoke extensively about his leadership principles. He explained how things have changed at Ford and things that have led to success in recent years. Most importantly, Mullaly talked about the firm's vision and the ONE Ford plan. “At the heart of our culture is the One Ford plan, which is essentially our vision for the organization and its mission. And at the heart of the One Ford plan is the phrase “One Team.” Those are more than just words. We really expect our colleagues to model certain behaviours. People here really are committed to the enterprise and to each other. They are working for more than themselves. We are a global company, so we really have to stay focused on the work. There are so many people around the world involved in our daily operations that it has to be about more than a single person—it truly has to be about the business. Some prefer to work in a different way. Ultimately, they will either adopt the Ford culture, or they will leave,” he said. These words truly define the kind of stature possessed by this man and his resolve to turnaround a major catastrophe for a truly legendary firm.

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