Alan Mulally speech – Automotive Hall of Fame

Alan Mulally speech – Automotive Hall of Fame


I am I’m so pleased to be back with you and in Detroit and also we just like to say thank you for for all of you for attending tonight and congratulations to the other inductees and for the role in your plane and this fantastic automotive industry and a lot of competitors a lot of suppliers are here our fabulous Ford dealers and store owners and of course a lot of our wonderful Ford employees and especially some dear friends that I’ve made in the community and while I was here that that looked after me and took care of me to make sure I could stay focused on forward so I’m a car guy now and and with with this induction I really feel like I’ve I finally made it in your eyes and I’ll I’ll never forget when I arrived the communication staff came in and said you need to go see Keith Crane at automotive news and I said who’s Keith crane I said you just need to go see him and so Keith invited me downtown and he had kind of the equivalent of an editorial board at that time to meet me not only been here just a few weeks and so I sit down and then he announces to all of the journalists that are in the room that we could ask questions about questions of Allen about Ford and what he’s going to do in the industry and stuff but I know that he knows nothing about this business but what he does know about our airplanes and so I Keith have always been very interested in airplanes and so I think we should spend our editorial board our first one with Allen asking about airplanes and so that’s the way the hour went we talked about subsonic supersonic composites aluminum alloys a high bypass ratio engines point-to-point non-stop he was so excited to hear that China Southern was flying the triple 7 knots from Guangzhou China to Las Vegas on a daily flight and airplane was in the air for 22 out of the 24 hours it was a great great roundtable discussion and not one question about about automobiles and so now nine years later Keith told me when he walked in the door that he was really glad to see me and congratulations on on helping the automobile industry so Keith thank you very much for believing in me and you must be very very proud okay now just reflecting on tonight and knowing I was going to see so many friends I went through how I got here I thought through what we did working together as mark so eloquently described it and also the future of the automobile industry I didn’t think I’d ever lead Boeing and I had one more one more airplane that I wanted to contribute to and that was the replacement for the 737 it was popular airplane in the world and then I got a call from Bill Ford and I’m going Bill Ford the great-grandson of Henry Ford and of course to anybody that’s an engineering and manufacturing and Technology Henry Ford is like one of our heroes Toyota learned everything from Henry Ford and went back improved it and now they’re coming to see us and we’re sharing our improvements so Henry Ford and the great-grandson so I took bills call and I I knew I was in trouble because I didn’t say no and he was describing the situation and the more he described it the worse that got and he asked me to would I leave Boeing and join him on helping not only save Ford at the time but also to create an exciting profitably growing company based on making the best products in the world and improving our quality and our productivity every year at the end of the day and I saw those staggering staggering numbers when you added in the credit side of the company the the forecast for profits this is in September of 2006 for the full year of 2006 was the forecasts of 17 billion dollar loss and four months later we achieved it so this was not a forecast accuracy issue we really needed a different strategy in a different and a different plan and so in the end of the day I I decided to join bill in the for team because I really felt like I was being asked to serve a second American and global icon in Ford we came together quickly we found our vision in Henry Ford’s vision of opening highways to all mankind and article II took out an adverse when he took out at January 24th of 1925 The Saturday Evening Post and he laid out a vision to make not only that the best cars and trucks in the world but also that make them affordable so that everybody could appreciate the freedom of moving around so we we went to see 500 bankers in New York we presented our case we wanted to take out a small home improvement loan and seven days later we raised twenty three and a half billion dollars and we got started on our plan and probably the as Mark pointed out the foundation of it all was we agreed that we’re going to work together they were going to use all of our assets worldwide all of our team members and we’re gonna and we were going to relentlessly implement this plan and we decided we’re gonna do the business plan review that you all know about every Thursday that all the members that all the members of the team would be there every member would present we’d be done in two and a half hours we’d have the plan would have the status and as Mark mentioned we’d have the areas need special attention so we come together all the members are there everybody’s developed their charts it’s really neat we have about 320 charts and I even introduced them to color coding so if it’s if it’s going well you colored it that piece of data green if it you had an issue but you’re have it in hand you yellow and if you had a new issue and you didn’t have a solution making a red and this was very very hard for the Ford people because they just didn’t do red because at that time the culture was that you never would bring an issue to your boss or your manager unless you had a solution so the entire place was managing a secret no one really knew what the situation was and also people seemed to disappear if they brought up an issue and so we start the business plan review they agree they’re gonna they’re going to subscribe to the color coding for fast visibility and and and it’s going pretty well and all 320 charts are green and I remember stuff in the meeting that I said you know you know now and they didn’t know before and I know that we’re gonna lose seventeen billion dollars is there just any little thing that’s not going well you know of course eye contact goes down to the floor and because they didn’t know me and I don’t know them and they’re scared and we’re all scared and so about two weeks later three weeks later mark runs into an issue in Canada with the launch of the edge with a lift actuator on the tailgate and so he does exactly what the plan was he stopped production that’s a really a big deal in airplanes and automobiles to stop production and so he’s having his business plan review before our overall Ford global meeting the night before an up comes the launch chart and on every launch chart we have a technical readiness we have a scheduled compliance and we have a financial impact and so he’s just stopped production and all three of those columns are green so he says to his team you know that looks this looks like one of those red things Alan’s talking about but somebody on the team says to mark I’ll never forget that says so what’s your point and he said well I think you know we’re supposed to identify the issues and we can work them together and and then somebody else on his team says well good luck mark is really nice to know you and so what he wants to do he said I’d like to kill her all three columns read so gather for the business plan review the next morning and we’re going through the green charts and green and green and up comes this red chart eye contact goes down to the floor the air disappears from the room and mark says I got this list actuator we don’t know what the issue is but we’re working it and I started to clap remember that mark I started to clap and everybody in that room the entire team this sitting right here there it was there is a sign two large doors are getting behind this is going to open up to large people are going to commit and they’re gonna extract mark from the meeting and so I said so I said the team does great visibility mark what can we do to help you out and Benny Fowler who’s sitting right down here was a head of quality and he said you know I’ve seen that issue on such-and-such I’ll get you that information right away mark and Derek Cusack who Raj Nair succeeded as the leader of engineering and product development worldwide said you know I’ve seen that on such-and-such I’ll I’ll find that data and get it over to you right away and Joe Hendricks is also here who was head of manufacturing at the time worldwide said you know this is Ford we’re gonna figure this out and you’re gonna need some manufacturing engineers and get them up to Oakville can then be ready to switch out the parts and get the production flowing again I’ll get on that right away and that took maybe eight or nine seconds then we were on to the next red green chart an experiencer so everybody I noticed everybody’s looking at mark and mark still there and the doors haven’t opened out and so we get through the meeting and and so next week he’s the only red chart again and then I noticed that everybody’s now staring at mark cuz he’s still in the room and who’s sitting on the other side of the room and I noticed that and so I called him up I said next meeting mark I’d like you to come sit next to me I think I could just see it on no this is not gonna be good so the only only red chart again and now I’m looking at everybody’s faces and mark is actually right next to the CEO now and so what is happening so a couple weeks later they identify the problem turns the yellow a couple weeks later we get the part you first identified and the production starts flowing around the world and guess what the 300 charts look like the following week no not all red but they look like a rainbow and at that moment we all knew that we are going to trust each other we’re going to share everything about the plan and we’re gonna help each other and turn the Reds to yellows and greens and everything that we went through over the last eight years from the slowdown from the fuel prices changes from the from the financial crisis the tsunami when most of our tools are underwater we start we actually have business plan reviews every day to deal with it so I would just like the reason I wanted to share that with you is that Ford is a magical place the history the innovation the contribution to the economy to safe and efficient transportation to economic to energy independence and energy security and environmental sustainability we want to continue to be part of the solution to those big issues for all of us going forward Ford is ready it’s got the it’s got the right leadership team it’s got the right leader in mark who succeeded me it’s got a fantastic leadership team and the fantastic talented people and so I am absolutely honored to be inducted into the automotive Hall of Fame and I would like to share this recognition with our Ford team with our dealers with our suppliers and especially all of our employers so thank you very much I one more one more thank you I’d like to make and that is to my wife and and my family Nikki and I’ve been married for 46 years we have five wonderful children and they all nominated our youngest Peter who’s in the back back there represent all of here tonight and he surprised he surprised me also so Peter thank you so much for coming and the kids were a really big part of me accepting Bill’s offer because they finally set me down and said dad we know all about your airplanes we know all about your wonderful customers now we’re talking about forward and we need to go drive some of those way cool force let’s go so again bill Ford and the Board of Directors thank you so much for providing me this this wonderful opportunity and I wish you all in this industry the very best I’m still working closely with you on safe and efficient transportation and again again for the automotive Hall of Fame thank you so much for this recognition for all of us that are contributed this important industry thank you very much


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