Ford Receives Manufacturing Leadership Council 2020 Award


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Recently the Manufacturing Leadership Council recognized Ford Motor Company's work in developing a framework that makes manufacturing processes more efficient by connecting digital tools with real-world facilities.

Read more in our latest article below.

The National Association for Manufacturers (NAM) shared that working with key partners, the Powertrain Manufacturing Engineering group at Ford Motor Company conceptualized and delivered a “Symbiotic Simulation” framework that makes manufacturing processes more efficient by connecting digital tools with real-world facilities.

These efforts received Ford one of the 2020 Manufacturing Leadership Awards for Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Analytics Leadership.

A long time innovator, Ford continues to win awards for their efforts. NAM shared that Ford's development of Symbiotic Simulation—or SymSim— was hatched in 2015, in a Ph.D. project by a member of the company’s PTME group. Once the Ph.D. project ended, the PTME group decided to build it out further, then added a few collaborators: software partner Lanner Group, as well as the University of East London and a team at sustainable manufacturing consultancy HSSMI.

SymSim Connects Digital Tools with Facilities

  • An evolution of discrete event simulation: Historically experts experimented on a computer model representing a facility in order to find improvement opportunities by typically manually downloading data, reformatting it and pushing the data into a model ready for optimization. SymSim shortens that process by making a direct connection to the data that is produced by facilities, pulling data out automatically to help the company understand what’s happening and how its goals can be accomplished more efficiently.

  • Improved quality and reduced time: Connecting the digital model more closely to the physical facility improves the quality of the simulation, which leads to better decisions and results. The second benefit is time. Traditionally, downloading the data, cleaning and processing it would take a week—but the SymSim process can do it almost instantaneously.

  • Increased efficiency and cost savings: SymSim has helped to improve efficiency and deliver savings by reducing overtime and eliminating costly delays.

The early results are significant. Although the proof of concept was just launched in 2019, per NAM the project has already saved more than 1,000 hours of engineering time and around $2.7 million. In one Ford plant that was launching a brand-new engine assembly line, the company ran a daily meeting to show—in just 15 minutes—where the bottlenecks had been the day before.

Investing in innovation has paid off for Ford Motor Company. Learn more about their other efforts and awards on their website at

Looking for more information on ways to innovate and improve your supply chain management efforts? APICS Greater Detroit is offering the upcoming globally recognized certification class for Certified Supply Chain Professional starting on 12/5.