Critical infrastructure key to manufacturing sector: Alan Mulally
|| March 13, 2010||
Mulally attributes Ford's resilience during the economic slowdown to the vision to become a stronger profitably-growing company by serving customers worldwide with the very best cars and trucks.
Ford moved aggressively to restructure aligning costs and capacity to the real demand and changing model mix. It accelerated the development of new products customers really want and value. Importantly, it developed a plan to finance these activities. As a result, Ford pledged everything as security for a $23 billion line of credit to fund the transformation of Ford. That strategy, said Mulally, saw Ford Motors through the darkest days of the economic crisis, it allowed Ford to quicken product development and R&D efforts.
"Over the years with Boeing, and now with Ford, I have witnessed India's development and growth and I have been so proud and pleased to contribute to that progress. As a nation, India has generated tremendous forward momentum… creating endless potential for our future," said Mulally.
The answer to the question on whether there is a future in manufacturing and can we be globally competitive lies in building a competitive edge, points out Mulally. Ford, which has invested $500 million in the modernization of its Chennai plant, feels the manufacturing workforce needs to have as much competitive pirit as a cricket team. The manufacturers need access to global markets and competitive capital, legal and regulatory processes must be stable, efficient and transparent and taxation must be globally competitive.
To create a competitive playing field for manufacturing, governments also need to invest wisely in critical infrastructure - physical, social and digital. The government needs to be involved in building the roads and ports and power grids infrastructure that manufacturers rely on but cannot build themselves. Mulally thinks a key component of being competitive in manufacturing is public investment in education.
"It is easy to see that India gets a great return on its investment in education. Since 1965, Indian engineers have made huge contributions to our company. A skilled and motivated team of talented professionals put on a level, predictable and competitive playing field with access to global markets can bring substantial advantage for India in the auto industry," said Mulally.
This would help Ford India to be a major automotive exporter and further contribute to economic development. The Ford Figo was launched last week in India, the first in a series of new cars to be built in India for sales both here and abroad.
Ford has ramped up its presence in India with more than 6,000 employees. "Not only is India an important market for Ford, it is also a global centre of excellence for our IT and Accounting operations. By giving the Ford India team the means to leverage the global talents and resources of our company we have the opportunity to serve new customers here in India with world-class products they will really want and value," said Mulally.
"We have laid out a specific roadmap that will allow us to make the biggest impact on our collective goals of reducing emissions and fossil fuel use in the near term… while ensuring we are ready with new technologies as they mature in the mid- and long-term. Making our petrol vehicles more fuel efficient is the first step toward this future."
What really intrigues and amazes Mulally is the potential of young people. He sees an incredible wave of young talent on India's horizon and is keen to open doors for them at Ford.
from the chairman
After a rocky start to thelooks forward to the promise that
new millennium, the world
the new decade brings - resurgent
economic growth in Asia, a new
security architecture to fight terror,
a fresh wave of technological
innovations, action on climate
change and less conflict.
More than ever before,
this decade holds
for India and the
Aroon Purie, Chairman
The India Today Group