Thursday, September 13, 2018

Ford vs Tesla

Daily Kanban:

Automakers like Ford are rightly frustrated by the public and market’s readiness to believe Tesla’s narrative about disrupting automotive manufacturing, but there’s reason to believe that the wildly different standards to which Tesla and other automakers are held actually hurts the would-be upstart. After all, one of the main reasons that KTP [Kentucky Truck Plant] operates so efficiently and with such high quality is that it has no choice. Whereas Tesla has been able to count on investors and analysts to forgive its “production hell” fiascoes, KTP is the beating heart of Ford’s business, building some of the most high-margin and in-demand vehicles Ford has ever made.

With the new Expedition and Navigator flying off lots, the vehicles made at KTP are absolutely critical to the financial performance that markets demand. Since every minute of downtime means that at least one margin-padding truck or SUV won’t be delivered on time, the people of KTP know that the company’s financial performance depends on their perfect execution and attention to detail. Were Ford able to raise capital from the markets whenever its financial performance fell short, it’s easy to imagine a plant like KTP cutting corners or making excuses about “production hell.” But because Ford isn’t coddled like the self-described “disruptors,” workers here at KTP know that downtime and poor quality simply aren’t an option.


CP said...

We will go to Toyota’s Kamigo engine plant, and visit its “super skill” line where senior (and sometimes very senior) Toyota technicians assemble choice Lexus LC engines entirely by hand. The idea is not just to build and engines – that could be done quicker and cheaper on an automated line. The idea is to hone the skills of already highly skilled people, to a degree that they literally can build the engine with their eyes closed.

We then will see a highly interesting “TPS basic learning line,” where Toyota engineers and managers learn to get their hands dirty – a boot camp, or make that dojo, for future executives.

Midwest Pete said...

You going?

Looks like a once-in-a-lifetime trip, and, unlike Elon's dreams, will actually be delivered after you pay for it.