Innovation A Critical Driving Force Behind Ford’s CX

Innovation is a critical driving force directly related to Ford’s customer experience efforts.

Ford employees are driving innovation in every part of the business at a record pace. Consider that, through August, more than 4,500 Ford employees have already submitted invention disclosures, with nearly 1,700 of them first-time inventors. Since the beginning of 2015, more than 3,500 first-time inventors have submitted innovations.

What’s more, three recent Ford innovations include a prototype car that collects condensation from vehicle air conditioners, then filters and pumps it inside the cabin; a passenger-centric, remote-controlled SYNC® system that could give ride-sharing passengers control of the infotainment screen; and a transportable robotic device that can move people and objects short distances where cars aren’t accessible.

“The significant increase in first-time inventors is a result of our push to drive innovation in all parts of our business,” said Raj Nair, Ford’s Executive Vice President, Product Development, and Chief Technical Officer. “At the same time, we’ve ramped up global innovation challenges, where we seek new ideas company-wide and then – coupled with input from employees – see how we can further those ideas.”

During Ford’s Sept. 14 Investor Day Conference, president and CEO Mark Fields talked about the company’s progress.

“Over the past six years, we’ve had very strong and consistent performance on our profitability, our pretax profit and our cash flow and that resulted in an all-time record for 2015 and pretax profits and also the first half of this year,” he said. “Now, back in 2014 at the investor day, we said that we were going to improve our financial performance in 2015 and we did. We said we were going to take our all aluminum approach to our next-generation Super Duty and we have. We said we were going to implement our blueprint for connectivity and improve our in-car communications, technology, as well as automatic driver technology and we have. And we said we were going to reduce our platforms from 15 to nine by the end of this year and we are bang on track with that.”

What’s more, Fields acknowledged the impact of the One Ford strategy.

“It has really served us well and it is very foundational for the company,” he added. “It has become part of who we are in terms of working together and running a global enterprise and operating as a global enterprise. But at the same time as we look at changing consumer attitudes, we look at technology, we look at lot of the emerging business models, it is really moving us to evolve our strategy and to change our thinking. And the way we think about it, we have the strong core business, designing, developing, manufacturing, and marketing great cars, utilities, and trucks and financing them and servicing them. And we love that business and we’re going to continue to transform it and improve it. But at the same time, again, based on the changing consumer attitude and technology, it’s given rise to an emerging set of opportunities around mobility or the usage of our products.”

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