Within the framework of the United States-Africa Business Summit held from July 19 to 22 in Marrakesh (Morocco), in the introduction to the presentation by Juan Carlos González, Ford Purchasing Director for Spain and Emerging Markets, the General Director of the US-Moroccan Chamber of Commerce, Rabia El Alama, spoke about the manufacturer having a regional Sales office in Casablanca and a Purchasing office in Tangier to supply the factory and other operations, both since 2015.
Ford has made an investment of 1 billion dollars in South Africa, the largest in the company’s history on
the African continent, a fact that helped Juan Carlos González reminded attendees that Ford’s presence on the continent dates back almost a century, because it arrived in South Africa in 1923, “where it began manufacturing the iconic Ford T the following year with kits shipped from Canada. With the investment made recently, we will manufacture the latest generation of the Ranger pick-up for a capacity of 200,000 units per year for more than100 markets from the premise of a business based on scale, since only from this approach can we generate local supply. A third of the investments will be dedicated to tools for the model and the renewal of suppliers. "We will also create 1,200 jobs at our facilities with an impact of 10,000 new jobs at our suppliers for a total of 60,000 people in the South African supplier industry. All this gives an idea of the repercussion that this type of project represents in the entire supplier base”.
Our investments are not limited to updating the technology of our plants, but to the training of workers and technology transfer to our suppliers
González emphasised in his speech of “ten years of experience in developing a supplier base in North Africa, especially in Morocco, and other countries in the region such as Tunisia and Egypt. These suppliers supply our plants in Europe, such as the one in Valencia due to proximity, but also other plants in other locations beyond Europe. In the last three years, despite circumstances such as the coronavirus pandemic, logistical problems or material restrictions, we have increased our value- added supplier base in Morocco, both in terms of component diversity and purchase value”.
In relation to the announcement of future electric models for the Ford plant in Valencia, González pointed out that “there is only a distance of 800 kilometres to Tangier, from where a truck can leave in the morning and arrive the next day at our plant in Spain, so Morocco will continue to be a key player in our activity. Our investments are not limited to updating the technology of our plants, but to the training of workers and technology transfer to our suppliers. In the case of Morocco, we have increased the number of engineers traveling from Europe number of engineers sent from Europe, we have held workshops and passed on the experience of more than 20 years of our supplier base in Eastern Europe”.
We act as advocates for these suppliers with the global Purchasing and Engineering teams in our company
The Ford manager explained that “we have developed our own methodology to develop suppliers in North Africa from scratch. We audit their capabilities, the technologies they can incorporate, their growth possibilities and we provide them with advice on our requirements, as well as proposals for improvement. We act as advocates for these suppliers with the global Purchasing and Engineering teams in our company. Very important is our support at their plants from Ford assistant engineers. In certain cases, it is tracked for years until it is in line with our global standards. Since 2015, we have visited more than 100 suppliers at different levels of the value chain and have incorporated more than 20 into our supplier panel. Since the announcement of the future electric models for Valencia, we have the objective of incorporating 39 possible
Morocco is a case study due to the parameters that have been achieved, the agreements with the United States and Europe and the projection of its industry
In his conclusions, Juan Carlos González highlighted that the Spain-Portugal-Morocco hub generates three million vehicles per year. “Regarding the automotive industry in Africa, bearing in mind that it is currently purely an exporter, the future lies in the markets that are going to be developed on the continent through trade agreements, infrastructure, financing, training, education. The talent is here, but you have to bring it
out. There is also the commitment of the authorities in the different countries to create the appropriate and necessary systems around the automotive industry. Morocco is a case study due to the parameters that have been achieved, the agreements with the United States and Europe and the projection of its industry”.
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