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Ford avoids production disaster with a monster transport plane

Tuesday, Jun 26, 2018

Unexpected downtime. It’s the productivity killer of the manufacturing world.

Unless you’re Ford.

After a May fire at a key supplier caused a parts shortage that threatened to cripple production of its best-selling F-150 pickup trucks, the iconic automaker got a little creative. They commissioned one of the world’s biggest cargo planes to save the day.

The massive Antonov An-124 aircraft delivered a critical 87,000-pound stamping die from the fire-ravaged factory in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, to another factory in Nottingham, England, in 30 hours door to door. Boasting a maximum cargo capacity of 165 tons, the Russian plane is often leased by governments and the military to carry transport such as trains and yachts more than 82 feet long. Ford even had to scramble to cut through red tape to get an import license for the tooling a mere two hours before the plane touched down.

Thanks to their efforts, the F-150 resumed production ahead of its original schedule.

Who says bigger isn’t better?

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