Putting Out The Fire For Ford’s F-150 Supply Chain

Putting Out The Fire For Ford’s F-150 Supply Chain

A fire at Meridian Magnesium Products of America plant in Eaton Rapids, Mich revealed just how fragile supply chains can be. It stopped production of Ford’s F-150 due to a lack of critical parts from this supplier.

The F-150 is Ford’s most popular and most profitable model.  In addition to Ford, other auto manufacturers have been impacted as well, including BMW, Chrysler, GM, and Mercedes-Benz.

At first, Ford believed the factory fire would stop production for weeks or longer. With Meridian’s help, and the rescue of specialized tooling that wasn’t damaged in the fire, Ford cobbled together a new worldwide supply chain for the affected parts on its F-150.

At the time of the May 18th article from Detroit Free Press, Ford expected to re-start production within a few days.

This post is based on the Detroit Free Press article, From panic to triumph: Behind the scenes of Ford’s epic F-150 restart, by Phoebe Wall Howard, May 18, 2018, and the NPR.org article, Ford Halts Production of F-150s After Fire At Supplier’s Facility, by Camila Domonoske, May 10, 2018. Image source: Iconotec/Glowimages.

Discussion Questions:

1. Why did a fire at one supplier force Ford to temporarily halt Continue reading

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Domino’s Expands Use of Virtual Ordering

Domino’s Expands Use of Virtual Ordering

Domino’s is trying out an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system to take phone orders.

Domino’s ordering assistant, “Dom”, has been available on smartphone apps since 2014, and has been very successful as part of the phone app, allowing customers to place voice orders.  Using voice commands provides a hands-free methods of placing an order.

Dom also exists as a chatbot on Facebook and on Domino’s webpage.  Now, Domino’s is moving this technology to phone orders with a limited test introduction.

This post is based on the Chain Storage article, Pizza chain’s virtual ordering assistant takes on a new task, by Deena M. Amato-McCoy, April 23, 2018. Image source: Shutterstock / Ljupco Smokovski.

Discussion Questions:

1. Why would Domino’s want to use this technology?

Guidance: The biggest reasons are related to cost.  The workers at the store can now concentrate on filling the orders rather than taking the phone calls, or tracking orders.  This should result in labor savings.

2. What problems might Domino’s encounter with the use of Dom for phone orders.

Guidance: Previous uses of Dom, including voice ordering through the smartphone app, have been well received.  Domino’s use of humor Continue reading

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Walmart: Check It Out

Walmart: Check It Out

May 17, 2018

Consumers can check out Walmart’s “Check out with me” technology to pay for their Lawn & Garden Center purchases at 350 stores across the country.

Walmart associates, toting cellular devices and Bluetooth printers, scan heavy items like bags of mulch while it’s still on the shelf, saving customers the hassle of loading it into carts and pushing it back into the store to fixed checkout stations.  The technology will also assist customers outdoors in the live plant and potting soil areas.

The system is being tested in Lawn & Garden Centers, because that is where it is most needed to improve the customer check out experience.  However, eventually it could be used elsewhere in the store as well.  If successful, the system could be implemented at Walmart’s 4700 U.S. locations.

Walmart may also have checkout-free technology in the works to battle Amazon’s Whole Foods or the new Amazon Go stores, where customers can just pick up their items and leave while cameras, sensors, and AI technology track and charge them for their purchases.

This post is based on the Retail Leader article, Walmart makes more digital moves, by Gina Acosta, April 23, 2018; and on the Continue reading

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