Ford Motor Going Online: Benefit and Risk Ford Motor Company saw the importance of the Internet technology in building and maintaining a strong relationship between the company and its potential/actual customers. In the late 1990s, Ford Motor’s CEO named Jac Nasser had devised an ingenuous, if not ambitious, plan in incorporating the advanced technology of the time into the culture of the company. It must be remembered that the 1990s was the time-period of the emergence of the so-called Internet superhighway. Thence, Nasser had predicted the vital role and the benefits offered by the growth of the software technology.
In relation to the World Wide Web, he positioned the Ford Motor in such a way that the company attains the “vision we have for this new technology” (as cited in Greenhalgh, 2000, p. 46). Internally speaking, the Internet technology has provided a leeway for the members of the Ford Motor to have an open dialogue or exchange of ideas with respect to the customer and the product. For instance, the Dealer Web Hub permits the dealers of the Ford car/truck products to communicate among themselves (“e-Business at Ford, ” n. d.).
Conversely, what Nasser called “Internet inside, ” the new technology served not only as a business-to-customer application but also as a business-to-business application (as cited in Greenhalgh, 2000, p. 46). Externally, Ford had made an agreement with other car manufacturers such as DaimlerChrysler in integrating the “supplier exchange” which is accessible to a single Web portal (“e-Business at Ford, ” n. d.). In the year 2000, the Ford Motor Company had pursued a “Build to Order” model which is similar to Dell Computer model (“Ford’s e-Business, ” 2002).
That is, the model allows Ford’s customers to customize the car based from their individual choice or taste. In browsing the FordDirect site, for example, the customer can select and price the car that he or she desires (“e-Business at Ford, ” n. d.). Prior to configuring the selected car design, the customer is asked of his or her zip code in order to determine his or her specific location. Afterwards, he or she can explore and re/configure the car of his or her liking. Ford has several web sites, each of which caters certain customer type.
In Ford. ca, for instance, the customers are mainly from Canada such as Hamilton and Carleton. Comparing Ford. ca and FordDirect, the two online sites are relatively the same in relation to the car products viewed for the Internet users. How they are arranged, in the visual sense, makes them different. Perhaps each site is operated and maintained by particular Ford Motor branch/network. Meaning to say, Ford. ca is managed by Ford Motor based in Canada while other sites are operated/monitored by those who are geographically proximate relative to the location of the intended customer. To my mind, Ford’s project on going online was very risky.
In the late 1990s, the World Wide Web was not as broad and expansive as it is today. Of course, technology per se is advantageous to organizations such as Ford. However, potential car customers were hardly familiar to the realm of the Internet-- let alone had the capacity to access it. Perhaps Jurgen Hubbert, one of DaimlerChrysler’s management board, was right -- in the context of time -- in saying that there is no need to “jump into this sort of business when nobody makes money” (as cited in “Ford’s e-Business, ” 2002). References E-business at Ford Motor Company.
(n. d.). Retrieved from http: //media. ford. com/article_download. cfm? article_id=6598 Ford’s e-business strategy. (2002). Retrieved from http: //www. icmrindia. org/casestudies/catalogue/IT%20and%20Systems/Fords%20e-Business%20Strategy-IT%20and%20Systems. htm Greenhalgh, L. (2000). Ford Motor Company’s CEO Jac Nasser on transformational change, e-business, and environmental responsibility. Academy of Management Executive, 14 (3), 46+.