Ford Zigging to International Scale

September 12th, 2011 by Rich Christiansen

Ford Motor Company is a household name in the United States—one that everyone automatically links to the automotive industry. It is no wonder since Ford has produced some of the most popular cars of the century, including the Model T, which sold more than 15 million cars in less than 20 years. Now, Ford is gearing up for another huge, international zig zag with a $1 billion manufacturing and engineering complex in India.

Though Ford has been zigzagging since its inception in 1903, the people there know that it takes more than one zigzag to win in business. All three zig zags for businesses to follow—(1) drive to profitability, (2) add processes and resources, and (3) scale—are repeatable steps. Once Ford went through the three phases, it repeated, and repeated and repeated them.

Now, Ford has reached a measure of profitability and refined its processes. After achieving scale in its home country, Ford repeated the process in other parts of the nation and the world. In India, it is adding additional resources through these building plans (not to mention adding 5,000 employees), and will be able to produce 240,000 vehicles and 270,000 engines a year—talk about scale!

So what are the benefits of adding these resources and scaling the business? Not only will Ford be able to make and sell more cars without burdening or overworking domestic plants, but as Ford India president Michael Boneham said, “[Ford will be able] to aggressively grow the Ford brand in India,” further increasing profitability.

As soon as Ford has got the scale zig down, it’ll be back to zig number 1, driving to profitability once again. It’s a process you will routinely see in many businesses, especially large ones looking for new markets to claim. But for your own business, never forget that these steps are repeatable even though your business may not be the same size as Ford or expanding internationally. These steps are intended to keep a business growing and succeeding, all at a manageable, steady pace, no matter the size.

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