Since becoming the CEO of Ford, Jim Hackett, and his management staff has had a difficult time of convincing folks about the ambitious restructuring plan that will see the lineup become more dependent on crossover and trucks, and job cuts. One group that has been quite worried about the plan are dealers.
"There's been a lot less exposure to senior management. There's just not enough information flowing down to dealers about where the company's headed," said Jack Madden, owner of Jack Madden Ford to Automotive News.
Ford is hoping to ease dealers later this week at the company's national dealer meeting in Las Vegas. Aside from seeing a number of new products, including the next-generation Escape and Explorer, Hackett and his team will be taking questions from dealers about the future direction of the company.
"It's the right medicine at the right time," Rhett Ricart, CEO of Ricart Automotive Group in Groveport, Ohio.
"I think it will be a huge jolt for dealers' attitudes."
Dealers aren't the only group who are wanting more information. Ford's 70,000 salaried workers around the world have been told that the $11 billion restructuring plan will include job cuts, but not providing any specifics on numbers or how or when the cuts will take place. The cuts were announced in a video message sent to employees.
"In Ford's history, we have streamlined organizations but we rarely removed work, causing each team member to have to do more with less," Hackett said in the video, according to a transcript Ford provided to AN. Employees were told the upcoming changes would be made using "a cascading process that will involve many of you" and that they will work to eliminate "low-value" tasks.
"While redesigning the organization is important and it's necessary work, it's not going to be easy. But it is fundamental to us becoming the business we need to be," said Hackett.
Ford say the message wasn't about job cuts and "said employees have appreciated the way it is handling the news." But AN reports that some employees became confused with the message being provided. Some experts say giving employees information about impending job cuts early on allows for more preparation and gives more time to look for another job. But some point out the way Ford announced the move could actually damage morale.
"In an absence of any information, it's stressful. People are going to be looking for more direction from the company," explained Carol Olsby, a human-resources consultant and author.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)