SHANGHAI -- During his Army career, Randy Creel took courses in strategic planning at the Combined Arms Services Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Little did he know that he would be applying those lessons to sourcing aftermarket parts from China.
Creel is director of service parts purchasing for Ford Motor China. He recently placed his first orders with Chinese suppliers.
"The companies are geographically dispersed; some from the west, some down in Guangzhou, some in Shanghai," he says with military precision.
Ford has touted ambitious plans to source production parts from China. But Creel's efforts to source aftermarket parts have been quietly moving forward, too - and that will have a more immediate impact on Ford's U.S. dealers and customers.
In January, the company opened an aftermarket parts sourcing office in Shanghai. This first batch of China-made components should be at U.S. dealers by next summer, Creel says.
Sourcing from China "should lower the overall cost of ownership of the vehicle," he says.