Case Study

Ford Motor Company Leverages the Experience of The Phoenix Group to Drive a 75% Reduction in Die Draw Downtime Per Month

Executive Summary

Ford Motor Company was experiencing significant loss due to downtime of their tool and die operations every month. Partnering with The Phoenix Group allowed Ford to identify gaps in their program and drive significant cost savings over the lifetime of the engagement.


Ford’s Tool and Die making function was experiencing challenges that ran contrary to its mission of lean management practices. These issues were concentrated in thirteen stamping plants in the United States and Mexico. Before The Phoenix Group conducted it’s Formability Systems Consulting, the SBU was averaging 60K minutes of draw downtime per month. The reasons for downtime were varied, ranging from tool set-up and maintenance to problem solving errors. This was proving costly for Ford. Ford recognized this and had to lean on external expertise to assess, create, and implement a strategy that would resolve its tool and die downtime issues.

The Phoenix Difference

The Phoenix Group leveraged their 28+ years of industry experience and expert consulting team to drive significant change within the organization. They were quickly able to identify areas for improvement with a thorough gap analysis at the beginning of the relationship. The gap analysis identified four specific areas to focus on to reduce draw downtime and eliminate waste: training, coaching, problem solving, and system design and implementation.

  • Training
    The Phoenix Group shared their tool maintenance and forming problem solving  expertise across all of Ford’s stamping operations. They conducted 1:1, hands on training sessions that allowed every attendee to experience first hand the desired skill. This comprehensive training included time in the classroom, on the shop floor and on the job.
  • Leadership Development
    Phoenix worked to develop self-sustaining leaders and teams that are capable of driving ongoing change management and continuous performance improvement within Ford.
  • Problem Solving
    Phoenix technical leaders provided expert guidance solving complex  forming issues and repeat nuisance production issues Taking a deep dive into challenges allowed the tool and die makers to quickly identify and react to problems, significantly reducing lost time.
  • System Design and Implementation
    Phoenix designed and guided implementation of a Ford Formability System, including
    • A formability analysis laboratory at each plant, preparing team members to perform complex analysis and provide key input to problem solving and process control.
    • A reference panel process executed by all employees at each press line transition, to maintain process stability, and trigger die maintenance.
    • A die shop management process that provided for the right die, being fixed at the right time, the right way, by the right people, and communicated to the rightpeople.


Partnering with The Phoenix Group has helped Ford reduce average draw downtime by 75%, from 60,000 minutes/month in 2004 to under 15,000 minutes/month in 2017. This has generated significant cost savings across the plants that Phoenix is actively working with.

The Phoenix Group and Ford remain in an active partnership today. The relationship has evolved beyond Formability Systems to other departments within the organization, including leveraging The Phoenix Group’s Leadership Development program to build self-sustaining leaders that drive teams capable of ongoing change and performance improvement.Looking forward, Phoenix plans to continue optimizing the Ford stamping plants with training and support of the Reference Panel system, working with plants to improve Recipe Adherence, and improve the FLD Safe % - working with plants to achieve a safe FLD.

To learn how The Phoenix Group can provide similar value for your organization, please request a consultation with one of our experts.

Case Study Details




  • 75% reduction in die draw downtime per month
  • Measurable gains in tool and die professionals' skillset as a result of training
  • Creation and implementation of the Ford Formability System process