Ford is laying off 7,000 white-collar employees around the world in an effort company leadership say will save more than $600 million a year.
The layoffs, which represent 10 percent of the company's staff, will begin now and finish by the end of August. Ford's move is part of a major $11 billion restructuring effort to reshape its entire business - with the goals to boost sales overseas and modernize its vehicles by focusing more on electric and autonomous driving tech. Most of the company's problems are outside the continent, as its North American sales were its only segment to see profit growth in last year's fourth quarter.
CEO James Hackett, who Ford tapped office furniture giant Steelcase for in early 2017, took the reins at the struggling Steelcase in 1994 after the company suffered a $70 million loss. His response was to apply the "lean" process to a maximum degree - rearranging machinery in manufacturing facilities to maximize space and cashflow, overhauling the company's corporate culture, nixing traditional office cubical spaces, and moving toward sustainability.
Hackett cut Steelcase's workforce by more than 12,000 over his two decades of leadership. He also cut its 57 manufacturing facilities by more than half. The company runs 21 production plants today.
But despite the pain of applying massive job cuts, Steelcase improved. By 2012, the company was almost back at its peak - turning a profit of $56.7 million on sales of $2.75 billion. Today, it is number 2 on the FDMC 300 list of biggest wood companies in America.
Steelcase teamed up with Microsoft on a series of office spaces designed to foster creative thinking and collaboration.
Hackett identified modern office trends early - adding cafe booths, treadmills, and shared lounge spaces at the company headquarters. He also expanded Steelcase's customer base, venturing into architectural and technology products for a variety of commercial industries.
We will see if Hackett can do it again at Ford. Let us know what you think.
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