About Ford Pro
Ford Pro™ delivers productivity solutions for business fleets of all sizes. From improving uptime to lowering operating costs, Ford Pro’s connected services and electric vehicles help you get the job done. MS-RT are a design-led automotive engineering company creating bespoke Ford vehicles that stand out on the road.
Using CoLab since: 2022
Use case: Customer Collaboration
“A 30% reduction in lead time - now that is what Ford Pro is all about: Productivity Accelerated!”
– Milan Shah (Director, Ford Pro Special Vehicles)
How Ford Pro Accelerated Time to Market by 30%
Building a great commercial vehicle means striking the right balance between technology, productivity, and cost. In order to deliver the best product to their commercial fleet customers, Ford Pro partners with a network of converters.
Partners like MS-RT convert Ford brand vehicles into bespoke solutions, like utility vans and ambulances. They source specialized parts from third party vendors and work with Ford Pro to integrate them into the vehicle design. “We’re co-developing a new solution for future Ford products,” explains Milan Shah, Director at Ford Pro Special Vehicles UK. “Typically the engineers work directly with the technical people in our converter partnerships.”
In a recent project, MS-RT worked with Ford and a third party supplier of custom wheels. With three different engineering teams weighing in on the design, finding a way to stay on the same page was essential.
James Kerr, Design and Engineering Director at MS-RT, explains: “When it comes to sharing data and being able to transfer accurate files between the three different parties, it’s really important for us to be able to make sure we’re all working on the same piece of CAD, so that there’s no ambiguity when it comes to what we’re discussing.”
Meanwhile, Ford is constantly improving the core vehicle design, and communicating those changes to the converters. According to MSRT, “As Ford Pro continually makes improvements to core design, changes must be communicated to us as fast as possible.”
Now, with CoLab, both of those processes just got a lot easier.
Before, Ford Pro manually responded to requests from converters to share CAD files. Now, they use CoLab to share CAD with their partners on demand. Both parties can also exchange design feedback right from an internet browser.
“CoLab digitizes all of that. It creates that design environment on a single online platform."
“CoLab digitizes all of that. It creates that design environment on a single online platform,” says Shah. “So it simplifies that product design journey – makes it much more interactive, collaborative and quicker turnaround times.”
Because there’s no need for downloads, IP remains safe inside a secure environment. Plus, it will all be integrated back into Ford’s existing Product Lifecycle Management system.
CoLab’s communication tools allow converters like MS-RT to provide design feedback and make it easy to communicate changes visually, eliminating confusion. According to Shah, this provides “a clear focus on the design changes that are happening – so less chance of issues and errors creeping into that final product.”
Ford Pro is focused on productivity. Initially, they rolled out CoLab with a few converter partners. Right away, the productivity impact was clear. Projects completed using CoLab were finished 30% faster, resulting in shorter lead times. That means commercial fleet operators getting the best vehicles faster.
According to Shah, after seeing productivity improvement right away, Ford Pro is moving quickly to expand the use of CoLab to their entire converter network:
“As we head into 2023, we'll be rolling-out this collaborative design tool to our convertor network to accelerate design iterations, drive more innovative solutions, and reduce errors!”