Ford Dealers can submit vehicle orders via either the traditional CONCEPS ordering system or the newer WBDO (Web Based Dealer Ordering) system. Fleet orders and/or specification changes must be made via CONCEPS. The WBDO system only accepts stock (Dealer Stock, Demonstrator) orders and all variations of retail orders (Retail, A/X/D Plan, Etc.). Both ordering systems generate error notices and will not display pricing information until any errors are corrected.
The CONCEPS ordering system requires the Dealer to manually enter all the order codes… Year, Body Code, Priority Code, Option Codes, etc. The newer WBDO system uses plain language descriptions, etc. and only displays options available for that vehicle’s Model Year, Body Code & Order Code. Retail orders using the WBDO system default to Priority Code “19”.
Dealers assign priority codes to each order based on the Order Type. Stock orders are assigned priority codes 20-80, retail orders are assigned priority codes 10-19. Fleet orders are assigned special alpha numeric codes that represent a requested production week. The priority codes determine the order for which vehicle orders are to be selected and/or considered for scheduling. This overview doesn’t consider commodity issues (model, powertrain or option scheduling restrictions) that may be in place for a scheduling week. Commodity issues and/or restrictions can apply at either or both the regional and national levels.
The highest priority that a Dealer can use for a retail order is 10. An order with a “10” priority code will schedule ahead of an order with an “11” priority code, etc. This allows Dealers to prioritize the order in which vehicles are scheduled, especially when a Dealer may have multiple retail orders in the USOB (Unscheduled Order Bank). With the WBDO ordering system, retail orders default to priority code “19” so it’s important that a Dealer change the priority code to a lower number if they want the order to be considered for scheduling earlier compared to other orders.
Ford provides Dealers with a schedule for vehicle allocation each week on Monday mornings which shows how many vehicles of each model line that the Dealer has allocation for scheduling that week. That same weekly allocation report also includes information on any regional commodity issues or restrictions. On Monday afternoons, the Scheduling Toolbox Report is released which provides more detailed information on commodity issues and scheduling availability on a national basis. On Tuesday mornings, the AM Scheduling Preview Report is available to show Dealers which vehicle orders have been selected or previewed, on an initial basis, to be selected for scheduling that week. The same report is updated and available on Wednesday morning to show any changes based on commodity issues that may have changed.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Regional Scheduler issues a notice informing Dealers of the vehicle specifications available for scheduling for orders not already showing on the AM Preview Report. This provides Dealers with information on what vehicle specifications are available for scheduling should they have orders showing on the AM Preview Report that are not what the Dealer wants.
Ford generates what are called “SIMS Orders” each week which are Ford’s suggested orders based on commodity information available at the time. If a Dealer has vehicle allocation for scheduling that week and has no Dealer orders in the USOB or orders that don’t meet the commodity restrictions in place for that week, the scheduling system will default to trying to schedule SIMS (Smart Inventory Management System) orders if they meet any commodity restrictions in place. The SIMS orders are available to Dealers online Monday mornings and in print form on Tuesday mornings. Dealers can enter their own vehicle orders or change the Ford generated SIMS orders.
Ford Dealers earn vehicle scheduling allocation each month based on reported vehicle sales, current inventory, projected sales, etc. Each month, Dealers usually meet with their Ford Zone Manager to review the allocation offered for scheduling the following month. A Dealer can accept the suggested allocation per vehicle line or change their commitment. Should a Dealer want more allocation than offered for a vehicle line, they can submit a request for supplemental allocation which will be considered based on total allocation available and commitments from other Dealers in their Zone. There are times when Dealers accept less allocation than offered for a vehicle line which makes that allocation available to other Dealers that may be looking for additional inventory. At other times, a Dealer may want more allocation for a vehicle line than Ford has offered. A supplemental allocation request is how Dealers can get allocation for extra inventory.
A Dealer needs allocation each week for scheduling for each vehicle line. Even without allocation for a vehicle line, Ford is pretty good at trying to schedule retail orders even when a Dealer doesn’t have allocation that week. When a Dealer knows that they don’t have scheduling allocation, it’s always a good idea for them to provide the retail order information (Body Code & Order Number) to their Ford Zone Manager and the Regional Scheduler. The Regional Scheduler can reprioritize the retail order to priority code “01” which basically forces the Ford scheduling system to schedule the unit ASAP unless extreme commodity restrictions prevent the scheduling. When a Dealer doesn’t have allocation, the Ford Zone Manager may try to get the allocation from another Dealer that is willing to give up their allocation.
Ford scheduling is done on Thursday’s but at times scheduling may be carried over to Friday’s due to scheduling, commodity or other issues. Vehicle scheduling confirmations are available on Friday mornings for allocation scheduled on Thursday.
With only a few exceptions (Focus RS, EcoSport, Transit Connect) VIN numbers are generated at the time that an order is “Submitted to Plant” for scheduling. The initial scheduling information will show an order scheduled for a production week. Afterwards, the information will be updated to show production for a particular date. Along the process, the vehicle order status information will be updated along with the ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) at the dealership.
Years ago, the ordering process was much easier, with few or limited commodity issues to deal with. Ford’s vehicle scheduling was mostly driven by scheduling and building vehicles based on Dealer orders to meet Market demands. For a number of years now, the ordering process has become more complex and time consuming based on the constantly changing commodity issues and restrictions. It is now not uncommon for allocation to roll over to the following week because manufacturing can’t accurately forecast how many vehicles can be scheduled for production. In many cases, it seems that either because of vendor supply issues or other factors that Ford skews vehicle scheduling to higher content models in order to maximize corporate profits rather than scheduling vehicle production to meet Dealers orders or Market demand.
The overall vehicle order process, scheduling and status updates is listed below for reference.
· Dealer places order into the USOB (Unscheduled Order Bank)
· When Dealer has vehicle allocation for scheduling, orders are scheduled based on Order Type, Priority Code and commodity restrictions.
o Scheduled vehicle orders display as “Submitted to Plant” on the Dealer’s daily schedule status report.
o Vehicle orders are assigned a VIN number when scheduled except for certain vehicle lines (EcoSport, Focus RS, Transit Connect)
o The initial vehicle scheduling notice will include information for the scheduled week of production. The initial ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) is usually provided within a few days of the scheduling notice.
o Dealers can change vehicle specifications for a scheduled vehicle up until the vehicle is “locked in” for production or about two weeks prior to the scheduled build date. Specifications for certain vehicle lines (EcoSport, Focus RS, etc.) cannot be changed once scheduled.
§ Dealers are limited to making 6 changes to scheduled orders.
§ Dealers cannot change Order Type, Body Code, Order Code (Package/Trim Level)
· Vehicle order is next updated with a scheduled production date.
· Vehicle goes into production and shows as “Sent to Plant” on the Dealer’s daily status report.
o Vehicle invoices and window stickers are generated and available to Dealers at about this time.
· Dealer’s daily status report shows updates on production status.
· Vehicle status updated to “Produced”
· Vehicle status updated to “Released” meaning that the vehicle has been released for shipment.
· Vehicle is loaded on rail car. Dealer is provided with carrier information (Canadian National, Norfolk Sothern, etc.) along with the actual rail car number.
· Vehicle status is updated to show arrival at the final rail destination (Ramp 41/Newark, NJ)
· Vehicle is received by the car carrier (Fleet Car, Diversified Automotive, etc.) for delivery to the dealership.
· Vehicle is delivered to the dealership.
Dealers have access to the “Vehicle Visibility” application which provides status updates on a 24/7 basis for any vehicle order.
This information is provided to answer the most often asked questions about the vehicle ordering process by the Ford enthusiasts that are members of the Blue Oval Forums. I’ll update this information as conditions warrant.