Here at IndustryWeek, we're shifting into high gear with the selection process for the IW Manufacturing Hall of Fame Class of 2011.
As we get closer to unveiling the third-annual Hall of Fame class in the December issue of IndustryWeek, there's a conversation that inevitably will take place among the IW editors: Is Alan Mulally ready to take his place in the pantheon of U.S. manufacturing legends?
While we were unanimous in our respect for -- and awe of -- Mulally's accomplishments at Ford, our conclusion in 2009 and 2010 was that it was a bit premature to call his body of work Hall of Fame-worthy. So we agreed that we we'd give Mulally more time to work his magic at Ford, and we'd give his One Ford plan more time to unfold.
In other words, we wanted to make sure that his plan for success could be sustained over the long-term, and that his influence on Ford Motor Co. was lasting.
Well it's September 2011 now, and Ford still seems to be rolling along. The company continues to be profitable ($2.4 billion of net income in the second quarter), and sales in August were up 11% year-over-year.
On top of that, I've been blown away by the company's efforts to connect with consumers and build brand loyalty especially among "millennials," the next generation of car buyers. In the September issue of IndustryWeek, you may have read how Ford has set up a web page that invites consumers to submit their suggestions and ideas for Ford products. When I spoke with a Ford official in August, he said Ford has received more than 4,000 ideas and the automaker plans on incorporating some of them into future designs.
In 2009, when it was cool to bash the U.S. automakers, Ford gave 100 people carte blanche to blog, tweet, YouTube and Facebook about their experiences with the 2010 Fiesta for six months (the "Fiesta Movement"), as a way to generate buzz about the subcompact's U.S. debut.
Ford's balance sheet is healthy, its brands are respected and its strategy seems to be working. As the architect of Ford's turnaround, has Mulally cemented his legacy in American manufacturing? Has he earned a spot in the IndustryWeek Manufacturing Hall of Fame?
I'd love to get a conversation going about this, as well as any other ideas you have for manufacturing leaders who belong in the IW Hall of Fame.
Feel free to respond to this forum post, or drop me a line at [email protected]
All the best,