Ford, founded in 1903, offers automotive finance services, vehicle leasing and vehicle services. Known for manufacturing brands such as Aston Martin and Volvo, the company has worldwide clients. Ford steadily increases its product variety and develops new product features to meet customer standards and expectations. The factors affecting Ford's operational planning are mostly long term --- thus the need to assess its production and operations to survive in the industry.
Ford faces both domestic and international competition, which greatly influences its motor operational planning. Domestically, Ford faces competition mainly from General Motors and Toyota while internationally its main competitors are from China and Japan. Competitors' lowering their cost and raising their quality forces Ford to do the same to stay competitive in the market.
Political factors also influence the strategic planning of Ford motor since government laws and regulations are concerned with the production of more eco-friendly automobiles. Due to the environmental concerns, the industry has to abide with the regulations aimed at reducing the pollution levels. The Corporate Average Fuel Economy took effect in 1975, and Ford must abide with the existing regulations. Non-compliance attracts heavy fines, which prove costly to the company. These regulations also drive Ford to manufacture environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient cars. Governments in a bid to lower the unemployment rate discourage Ford Motors from fully automating its operation, which would otherwise take up local jobs.
Consumer needs and tastes largely affect the operational planning of Ford Motors. Customers continually demand safer, better-quality vehicles at lower prices, which forces Ford Company to search for cheaper ways and means of production including outsourcing parts of its productions. The company constantly needs to adopt new methods and approaches to create unique, attractive automobiles that appeal to consumers.
Technological changes occurring worldwide call for technological changes within the Ford Motor Company. These changes apply to the assembly of automobiles to the modes of marketing. The company must adjust positively for production to counter the stiff worldwide competition in the automobile industry. The effect of automation increases the production rate and lowers the cost of production.
Increased fuel prices in the United States have largely affected all automotive manufacturers, including Ford. Ford's SUV customers seem to struggle with these prices, which encourages Ford to manufacture smaller cars that use less fuel. To gain more customers, Ford has manufactured hybrid vehicles such as the Mercury Milan and the Ford Escape.