Managing Communication, Information and Knowledge
Ford was established in 1903 by Henry Ford and 11 other associates. The company launched its T-model in 1908. The company began producing truck and tractors in 1917. During 1925, Ford acquired the Lincoln Motor Company, branding out into luxury cars. In 1956, Ford went public. The global expansion of Ford continued through this era and the company made several acquisitions. Ford Motor Company is now one of the largest automotive manufacturers in the world.
The company manufactures and distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. The company’s core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mazda and Volvo. It is headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan and employs 283,000 people. The Company operates in two business divisions: Automotive and Financial services The Automotive business division consists of the design, development, manufacture, sale and service of cars, truck and service parts.
Through this segment, Ford produces a wide range of vehicles including cars for the small, medium, large and premium segments. In addition to producing and selling cars and trucks, Ford also provides retail customers with a range of after sales services and products through its dealer network. The financial services division operates through the company subsidiary, Ford Motor Credit
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Ford Credit’s primary financial products fall into the three categories: retail financing, wholesale financing and other financing. In retail financing, Ford engages in purchasing retail installment sales contracts and retail lease contracts from dealers. In wholesale financing, Ford offers loans to dealers to finance the purchase of vehicle inventory. In other financing, Ford offers loans to dealers for working capital, improvements for dealership facilities, and acquiring and refinancing real estate.
Ford Motor Company has now earned the status as a worldwide industrial icon. The company already has a proud history from which to gain perspective and inspiration and many hopeful developments to build on. Ford Motor Company had record sales in China and India in 2006. While challenges are being faced, Ford is making continuous improvements to their plan in order to capitalize on opportunities to create and sell more products and save more costs. Priorities combined with a sense of urgency, will continue to transform Ford Motor Company.
Decision making is the study of identifying and choosing alternatives based on the values and preferences of the decision maker. It can also be regarded as a problem solving activity which is terminated when a satisfactory solution is found. Therefore, decision making is a reasoning or emotional process which can be rational or irrational, can be based on explicit assumptions or tacit assumptions. The Decision Making Process At Ford, decision making is achieved through ‘Group’ approach.
The group shares ideas and analyses and agrees upon a decision to implement. Studies show that the group often has values, feelings and reactions quite different from those the manager supposes they have. No one knows the group and its tastes and preferences as well as the group itself. Although it is possible to identify types of decisions group leaders might take, it is another to determine how those decisions are taken. In determining what decisions to take, the group leaders rely upon their knowledge and experience (tacit knowledge).
Direct questioning of group leaders makes them unable to directly express their knowledge. Therefore, a methodology can be used to illustrate the decision making process at Ford. The methodology first aims to elicit information on the group leaders’ decision making strategies and then to look for ways to improve their decision making. The most significant step in any decision making process is describing why a decision is called for and identifying the most desired outcome(s) of the decision making process.
One way of deciding if a problem exists is to couch the problem in terms of what is required or expected and the actual situation. In this way a problem is defined as the difference between expected and/or desired outcomes and actual outcomes. For instance, in a simple maintenance scheduling problem where there are 2 actions, which are not mutually exclusive and 2 engineers who can be asked to act if available. Each of them has 2 alternative decision options: the action can either be taken or not taken; the engineers can either be asked to act or not to act.