Strategies for leadership
A Ford case study

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Page 2: Process manufacturing

Ford 2 Image 2The manufacture of motor cars involves a number of simultaneous processes. As an example, the same time as sheet metal is being stamped into body panels, seats are being trimmed, engine blocks cast, gearboxes built and instrument clusters assembled. The synchronisation of these operations and the subsequent distribution of sub-assemblies and components to various stages of the assembly line is highly complex and difficult to manage logistically. In its simplest terms car manufacture involves:

  • molten metal, produced in cupolas being transferred to holding furnaces and then to ladles;
  • rough castings are fettled before they are machined to accurate dimensions;
  • starting with the cylinder block, engine assembly includes fitting cylinder heads, moving parts and ancillary components;
  • giant presses stamp body panels from rolls of sheet steel;
  • robots weld the body panels together to form a complete shell;
  • the bodies are phosphate coated and immersed in a giant trough containing electro-static primer;
  • a bodyshell is mated to the engine and transmission;
  • assembly includes the fitting of wheels, glass, trim, electric’s and other equipment;
  • final checks are made on a rolling road before the completed car leaves the factory.

All but the first three phases in this process take place at Dagenham.

Ford | Strategies for leadership