Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences recognizes Ford efforts to use data to run a smarter business and build better products
Ford has been using business analytics and data-driven decision making for more than 60 years
Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) today received the 2013 INFORMS Prize from the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. The award recognizes Ford's long-running, company-wide effort to use data science and predictive analytics to improve overall operations and performance. Applying rigorous analytics, including machine learning, operations research, data mining and big data throughout the business has played a key role in the resurgence of Ford in the past seven years. When chief executive officer Alan Mulally came to Ford in 2006, he helped to expand and institutionalize data-driven decision making throughout all aspects of the company. "Analytics and operations research was a major enabler of our turnaround and our ongoing success as a data-driven company," said Bob Shanks, Ford Motor Company executive vice president and chief financial officer. "Receiving the INFORMS Prize is recognition of the significant role and impact of analytics at Ford." A long history of dataOperations research and statistical control have a long history at Ford, dating back to just after World War II when Henry Ford II hired 10 young veterans of the U.S. Army Air Force's Statistical Control Command. The group became known as the "Whiz Kids" and included Charles "Tex" Thornton, who founded Litton Industries; Robert McNamara, who rose to president of Ford before serving as U.S. Secretary of Defense under President John F. Kennedy; and J. "Ed" Lundy, who eventually became Ford's chief financial officer. The team brought the lessons of organizing wartime logistics for the United States military to the problems of running a huge manufacturing enterprise. In the early 1980s Ford again took a leadership position in American industry as one of the first U.S. companies to implement statistical process control methods pioneered by W. Edwards Deming. "We continue to build on our history of data-driven decision making," said John Ginder, manager, systems analytics and environmental sciences in Ford's Research and Innovation group. "Throughout the company, we're using data science to create smarter business strategies, make better product decisions, assist dealers to be more successful, and improve customer satisfaction." Centers of excellenceAnalytics is used widely in diverse applications at Ford, including research, product development, manufacturing, supply chain, marketing and sales, finance, purchasing, information technology, and human resources. Ford Motor Credit Company, the financing subsidiary of Ford, houses a major center of excellence in analytics. The Global Analytics team, established 20 years ago, developed proprietary scorecards to facilitate consumer and dealer lending and effective account management, and provides sophisticated analysis to support other areas of the business.