It’s been a solid 25-year-old journey for Ford Business Solutions (FBS) in Chennai. While the Ford plant was shut down in September 2021, its FBS celebrated 25 years of operations in the city a month ago and continues to grow.
What started in Chennai in 1998 as a small team of 20 supporting accounting operations for Ford’s Asia Pacific region is today 10,000 plus operations that support every function for Ford Motor Company (FMC) globally.
“Ford has closed down but I can tell you that our organisation is larger than the organisation that has closed down, growing faster than ever and growing in areas that are cutting edge,” Gangapriya Chakravarti, India Site Lead and Managing Director, Ford Motor Company, said at CII Connect.
FBS delivers technology and business services that include software engineering, analytics, data sciences, artificial intelligence, machine learning, product engineering, accounting/financial analysis, digital marketing, enterprise connectivity, manufacturing engineering, planning and logistics and supply chain. to global locations.
Since 1998, FBS has thrived and established itself as a global technology hub for Ford, employing more than 11,000 employees in India bringing about change and transformation through innovation, collaboration, and dedication, the company’s web site says.
Chakravarti said from accounting, it was a natural progression to finance and then several other functions joined the bandwagon. Slowly, the centre got the attention of Ford Global, which sent a lot of work. In the early days, it was mostly operational. However, soon, the centre got started to get work that was related to managing processes and technology was a great enabler for that, she said.
“The kind of commercial talent that’s available in Tamil Nadu has been a great enabler. We did not want to lose out the talent that was available in the automobile manufacturing sector that was very core to the State and found in abundant numbers. This led to a lot of work happening in areas like CAD (computer aided design) in early 2000,” she said.
Subsequently, it was about other functions growing and growing and being supported by India and taking on processes that the centre was managing globally. “In supply chain and logistics, we have become the nerve center for FMC supporting both the areas from Chennai. Nearly 60 per cent of FMC’s resources that support supply chain and logistics sit in Chennai,” she said.
The centre was able to build a team to help FMC in digital manufacturing. A team in Chennai that is the only one that exists in the whole of Ford that works in the area of virtual production engineering. All new technologies that are brought in to the company are delivered through this team to the enterprise, she said.
A significant amount of software platform engineering work is also being done in Chennai. There is also a fintech operation that operates like a start-up supporting Ford credit operations, which is a large credit organisation. The team in Chennai is developing the software for credit operations for Ford from scratch, she said.
The Chennai centre is a fairly interesting journey that has kept pace with how the automobile industry has grown; has been an evolution in terms of the complexity of work and ownership of that globally for FMC. In all of this, there has been a recognition of talent that is available, particularly the operational and functional knowledge that is required for running a Global Capability Centre, she said.