Ford & Google collaborate to accelerate auto innovation
Forming a unique strategic partnership, multinational technology company - Google - has partnered with Ford to accelerate the automotive manufacturer’s transformation, reinvent the connected vehicle experience, and has named Google as its preferred cloud provider.
“As Ford continues the most profound transformation in our history with electrification, connectivity and self-driving, Google and Ford coming together establishes an innovation powerhouse truly able to deliver a superior experience for our customers and modernize our business,” commented Jim Farley, President and CEO of Ford.
A six year partnership
As part of Ford and Google’s six year partnership, Ford will leverage Google’s expertise in data, data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML). In doing so, Ford will accelerate its digital transformation, modernise its operations, and power its connected vehicles with Google’s “trusted, secure and reliable cloud.”
Sharing a vision to bring enjoyable, safer and more efficient connected vehicle experiences to minimise driver distractions and provide real-time information updates, the two organisations starting in 2023 will begin powering millions of future Ford and Lincoln vehicles with Android.
“We are obsessed with creating must-have, distinctively Ford products and services. This integration will unleash our teams to innovate for Ford and Lincoln customers while seamlessly providing access to Google’s world-class apps and services,” added Farley.
Did you know? In , Ford announced a landmark road safety data sharing agreement to provide drivers of connected vehicles, across multiple brands, with advance warning capabilities for potential dangerous driving conditions on the roads.
Ford and Google: driving innovation
Driving their commitment to ongoing innovation, Ford and Google will also establish a new collaborative group to be known as ‘Team Upshift’.
By leveraging the talent and assets of both companies, it is said that Team Upshift will “push the boundaries of Ford’s transformation, unlock personalised consumer experiences, and drive disruptive, data-driven opportunities.”
Projects carried out by Team Upshift will include the likes of developing retail experiences and creating new ownership offers based on data.
“From the first moving assembly line to the latest driver-assist technology, Ford has set the pace of innovation for the automotive industry for nearly 120 years. We’re proud to partner to apply the best of Google’s AI, data analytics, compute and cloud platforms to help transform Ford's business and build automotive technologies that keep people safe and connected on the road,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet.
Gartner: Leaders Lack Skilled Smart Manufacturing Workers
With organisations rapidly adopting industry 4.0 capabilities to increase productivity, efficiency, transparency, and quality as well as reduce cost, manufacturers “are under pressure to bring their workforce into the 21st century,” says Gartner.
While more connected factory workers are leveraging digital tools and data management techniques to improve decision accuracy, increase knowledge and lessen variability, 57% of manufacturing leaders feel that their organisations lack the skilled workers needed to support their smart manufacturing digitalisation plans.
“Our survey revealed that manufacturers are currently going through a difficult phase in their digitisation journey toward smart manufacturing,” said Simon Jacobson, Vice President analyst, Gartner Supply Chain practice.
“They accept that changing from a break-fix mentality and culture to a data-driven workforce is a must. However, intuition, efficiency and engagement cannot be sacrificed. New workers might be tech-savvy but lack access to best practices and know-how — and tenured workers might have the knowledge, but not the digital skills. A truly connected factory worker in a smart manufacturing environment needs both.”
Surveying 439 respondents from North America, Western Europe and APAC, Gartner found that “organisational complexity, integration and process reengineering are the most prevalent challenges for executing smart manufacturing initiatives.” Combined they represent “the largest change management obstacle [for manufacturers],” adds Gartner.
“It’s interesting to see that leadership commitment is frequently cited as not being a challenge. Across all respondents, 83% agree that their leadership understands and accepts the need to invest in smart manufacturing. However, it does not reflect whether or not the majority of leaders understand the magnitude of change in front of them – regarding technology, as well as talent,” added Jacobson.
Technology and People
While the value and opportunities smart manufacturing can provide an organisation is being recognised, introducing technology alone isn’t enough. Gartner emphasises the importance of evolving factory workers alongside the technology, ensuring that they are on board in order for the change to be successful.
“The most immediate action is for organisations to realize that this is more than digitisation. It requires synchronising activities for capability building, capability enablement and empowering people. Taking a ‘how to improve a day in the life’ approach will increase engagement, continuous learning and ultimately foster a pull-based approach that will attract tenured workers. They are the best points of contact to identify the best starting points for automation and the required data and digital tools for better decision-making,” said Jacobson.
Long term, “it is important to establish a data-driven culture in manufacturing operations that is rooted in governance and training - without stifling employee creativity and ingenuity,” concluded Gartner.