Working for global brands is something I’ll always be proud of and feel lucky to experience. One downside is you build relationships with colleagues whom you’ll probably never see, unless you’re Facebook friends, or they end up visiting where you live (and vice versa) for work or travel. On the other hand, there’s a special kind of pride that comes with working for a brand that people recognize wherever you go.
I’ve only worked for global brands and my favorite thing to do when I’m overseas is look for our brands, just to see how their stores/products are different from ours back home. To this day, I still do that. I worked for Shell and Ford, and our gasoline stations and dealerships look the same in other countries, but here in the US they’re different.
Ford has a significant part in US history, and since I was already in the US, there’s just absolutely no way I’m going to pass up the chance to see headquarters. Part of my itinerary in Michigan was to visit our HQ in Dearborn.
The whole campus is huge. Again, another place you can’t really trek on foot, and there are so many things to do. I decided to choose the plant tour. By the time I joined Ford, our plant operations already moved to Thailand and a lot of my coworkers always had good memories whenever they talk about their days in the factory.
Pictures inside the plant are not allowed, so this is the only photo I have. A little history lesson, it was Henry Ford who started the assembly line type of work, which is still practiced in factories today, not just in the automotive industry. I think the last time I was in a factory was when I was in kindergarten, aka too young to appreciate the set-up.
The Dearborn Truck Plant specifically shows the assembly of the Ford F-150. It’s interesting to see how an effective time and motion study is in place and how everybody has an important job to fulfill.
The plant tour included a display of Ford’s best cars and some shows. It was such good storytelling, and it made me feel a little emotional. Seeing how much work we’ve done, knowing you’re part of it, how much you have impacted the lives of so many people, and the rich history… it’s really a lot to take in and definitely made me proud to be an employee.
It feels a little bittersweet visiting at a time that I’m no longer an employee, but at the same time, it’s so nice to be able to visit HQ! It’s one thing to see it on corporate videos and pictures and it’s another to be there in person. To some, it’s just a building, but to me, it’s a huge chunk of my life. I was in Ford for five years after all.