Ford Motor Company is using Web visitor activity on a web-based car configurator built for prospective Ford customers, to influence car production.
Try using the story below with management to mine your dynamic catalogs, configurators, media repository, or product data sheet traffic data to improve demand forecasting and make production more efficient.
Ford Motor Company has run a pilot where they are using the info from a “Build Your Car” configurator on the web to predict demand for certain cars and features. When they matched the “predicted” data from the config to “actual” sales data, the fit was simply amazing. So amazing you would immediately question if the data was “tortured” somehow.
But that’s the nature of near frictionless environments like the web. You tend to get behavioral data that is simply more “true” then asking people their opinions, which is the more common way to get affirmation for auto design from the customer.
What is probably more important, from an analytical culture perspective, is that this gigantic metal-bender with very long lead times is actually using this web data to modify production plans because it has been such a reliable predictor of demand.
This concept was so far outside the expected norm that in the Q & A, I made a fool of myself by asking Stacey Coopes (from Ford) if I had heard her correctly. The conversation went roughly like this:
Jim: Are you saying that Ford is actually using web demand data to drive auto production?
“Yes”, she said.
Jim: “You mean, to actually schedule production, order parts, configure factories?”
“Yes”, she said.
Bottom Line – I simply do not want to hear anyone ever again whining about problems with getting management to pay attention to web data. If Stacey can make this kind of thing happen at Ford, you can do it where you are.
This is a monumental achievement.
Jim – you are certainly no ‘fool’. Thank you for asking the question!
Other Emetrics Santa Barbara posts? Search the WAD archives for ’emetrics’, and check out these blog posts:
- Clint Ivy*
- Mike Keyes*
- (one of several posts – click back)
- Robbin Steif (one of several posts – click back)
Did I miss any? Let me know.
* Destination page no longer exists.