In October 2016, Ford Australia permanently ended local manufacturing in Australia which consequently terminated the employment of 580 workers. Ford had been manufacturing locally for 91 years prior to this decision.
In 2017, following from this decision, Ford transformed what was previously the Australian head office into the Asia Pacific Product and Development Centre. This newly created facility is the central hub for research and development, driving the innovation of products and mobility solutions, and producing state-of-the-art virtual design and engineering capabilities. Ford calls the new facility its most advanced automotive development campus yet.The company’s new innovation headquarters, created approximately 2000 employment opportunities within engineering, design and technical divisions. This creation of employment signified the impact a well-executed R&D project has and how crucial R&D is to employment and business opportunities.
In light of the company’s ambitious endeavours, Ford has established a promising direction for future R&D opportunities and initiatives in the Australian automotive industry. The company has recognised that the future of advanced manufacturing lies in value-adding activities stemming from R&D initiatives. Ford is therefore determined to continue investing heavily in R&D and has increased its investment by 50 per cent to $450 million in 2017, with the goal to make their customers’ lives better and exceed expectations.
Ford is a prime example of how strategic investment in innovation and advancement could quite possibly be the future of company and industry success. With industry competition increasing at a rapid speed, the expectations of customers subsequently are too, as yesterday’s excitement is today’s cliche.
Ford, along with a vast amount of other companies engaging in R&D initiatives, pinpoint the significance of outside-the-box thinking. By stepping away from conventional and traditional practices, and alternatively shining a light on more innovative opportunities, a company has the potential to significantly differentiate itself from its competitors.
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