DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. is putting an 'E' in front of almost everything, a push for electronic commerce led by President Jac Nasser's desire to find new ways to reach consumers.
'From the top down, we've really embraced e-commerce,' said Mark Baughman, Ford's manager of supplier e-commerce. 'We put an `E' in front of everything in our company now.'
Baughman laid out Ford's strategy to a packed room at Auto-Tech 99, the Automotive Industry Action Group's annual conference here. He described Ford's use of the Internet and the Automotive Network Exchange contacts as examples. Baughman also reiterated the company's commitment to the recently revamped Ford Supplier Network, which lets suppliers communicate with Ford via the Internet about everything from contract bids to accounts receivable.
Ford may expand that system's capabilities, he noted.
Ford also is setting up a purchasing system for nonproduction items such as paper, pencils and janitorial supplies.
The company has a Web site that lets suppliers post their entire sales catalog online. Ford's purchasing agents can browse the catalogs electronically, choose suppliers according to quantity and price, and place orders automatically.
For Ford, the electronic service cuts a monumental paperwork load. For suppliers, it levels the playing field by allowing their product lines to compete directly.
Baughman urged all suppliers to sign up for the Automotive Network Exchange service, to sign onto the Ford Supplier Network and to build their own extranet portals to reach their own suppliers.
'We're looking to extend the capabilities of our extranet all the way through the supply chain,' Baughman said.
The electronic network ultimately will let Ford respond rapidly to car buyers and their needs, he said.
'We are really focused on the consumer. Everything we do at Ford is focused on the consumer, and their touch-points with Ford.'