If someone were to tell you that Apple stopped producing the iPhone, its best selling product, you would probably be surprised. Why would they stop producing, figuratively, a money-generating machine? Unfortunately, significant issues can arise in a supply chain for any given product, especially a truck, which can use products from thousands of different suppliers.
Halting production is precisely what has happened to Ford’s best selling vehicle, the F-150. Unfortunately, the issue is not in their control, so Ford doesn’t know how long this halt will last. With so much money on the line, however, the halt shouldn’t be too long.
The halting of production is due to an explosion and fire at a Meridian Lightweight Technologies facility in Eaton Rapids, Michigan. Meridian Lightweight Technologies produces components of the F150’s instrument cluster, an essential feature that needs to work correctly. This production halt will leave approximately 4,000 workers temporarily without a job. The temporary layoff is on top of Ford telling 3,600 workers in their Kansas City plant to stay home earlier in the week due to the same shortage of components.
It is somewhat surprising that Ford only has one supplier for these parts, because a small issue can turn into a massive problem like it just has. The lack of secondary suppliers is probably due to Ford needing specific margins, and having multiple suppliers for one set of components could decrease their margins.