Business Standard

Chennai’s tech minds drive Ford’s global AI transforma­tion


Almost 18 months after the Ford India manufactur­ing unit ceased operations near Chennai, the American major, through Ford Business Solutions (FBS), is on an expansion and hiring spree in the city.

FBS, which oversees the global capabiliti­es of the company through its 12,000 employees in Tamil Nadu, is all set to hire 3,000 more in the next three years at its Global Technology and Business Center in Chennai, a senior executive from Ford’s global team told

Business Standard.

The talent hunt in India aims to drive the company’s road map on artificial intelligen­ce (AI) and machine learning (ML).

India is home to the secondlarg­est workforce of Ford globally.

“There are two dimensions to the expansions. Over the next few years, we plan to expand our centre by maybe 3,000 people. The more significan­t aspect is the type of work we are doing at our FBS centre with AI and ML technology," said Mike Amend, chief enterprise technology officer, Ford Motor Company. “We are adding these jobs for high-skilled and knowledge work,” he added.

The group’s hiring spree comes after Ford India shut its manufactur­ing unit at Maraimalai Nagar in 2022.

Ford India announced the phasing out of its unit on September 9, 2021, and stopped production in August 2022.

FBS is the group’s global talent office that supports all functions in the company. It has centres in Chennai, Mexico City, and Hungary, which support not only technology but also enterprise technology, global data insights and analytics, finance, and human resources, among others.

Interestin­gly, when Ford India announced the exit in September 2021, FBS had only around 11,000 employees in India then and has already added 1,000 more staff in Chennai.

When asked about the key reasons for additional hiring in India, Amend added, “It will be for cutting-edge work like our digital transforma­tion, all the things we are building under our digital products.”

FBS is also expanding the functions of Ford Credit, the financial services arm of Ford Motor Company, at its Chennai unit. A similar expansion is happening in terms of Ford Pro, Ford’s commercial business that delivers productivi­ty solutions for business fleet of all sizes.

“The teams of FBS are also helping with the types of capabiliti­es required when managing a fleet. When looking at our charging solutions, we are providing software services in that area. We have started to integrate and work with the dealers very closely. The configurat­ion of vehicles, ordering of vehicles, much of this stuff is now being built here from our Ford Business Center,” Amend said.

According to media reports, the American auto giant’s Cloud-first strategy has helped drive its shift to ‘software-defined vehicle’ manufactur­ing.

When asked about this, he added, “We are migrating many of our applicatio­ns and capabiliti­es and are looking to modernise our payroll system. We are migrating as much as we can from the global workload.” This comes amid reports that Ford India may be reconsider­ing its decision to sell the Chennai plant and evaluating options for utilising the facility either for exports or a comeback to the Indian market.

“I don’t have any idea whether Ford is coming back,” Amend said.

 ?? ?? Ford Business Solutions is expanding the functions of Ford Credit, the financial services arm of Ford Motor Company
Ford Business Solutions is expanding the functions of Ford Credit, the financial services arm of Ford Motor Company

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