Ford Customer Service Division recently introduced Omnicraft, what is described as a high-end aftermarket parts line for non-Ford/Lincoln vehicles that is priced competitively and offers advantageous parts and labor warranties.

The brainchild of Frederiek Toney, president, Global Ford Customer Service Division, Omnicraft is the first new Ford parts brand in more than 50 years. It was introduced to accomplish a number of goals that include offering a line of aftermarket parts to those who already have trust in the Motorcraft brand.

Dave Johnson, manager, global repair product planning; and Jen Boyer, manager, aftermarket parts marketing, noted that the new Omnicraft line was introduced at Ford and Lincoln parts service departments in April, and will be available to authorized Motorcraft wholesale distributors this month.

High-end quality

Essentially, the Omnicraft line fits into the high end of aftermarket specs. “We leveraged our Motorcraft suppliers when feasible to make sure we have products that meet the highest quality specifications,” Johnson said. “Products also were obtained from manufacturers known for their strict quality controls.”

“Our go-to-market strategy was start with our dealers because they had several immediate needs we are filling with the brand,” Boyer said. “We just opened ordering to our distributors as well,” she said.


Field representatives

Parallel to the launch, Ford has placed a team in the field representing Omnicraft and Motorcraft, calling on independent service facilities to explain and answer questions about the Omnicraft line.

“We’ve assigned them to specific geographic areas based on the concentration of shops, and they are calling on them to talk about our brands, tell them why they should consider Omnicraft,” Boyer said. “We know there are competitors who are very routine about their contact with repair facilities and  shops appreciate the relationship. We want to offer that same relationship in the field.”

One of the biggest selling points of the Omnicraft brand is that shops want a quality-made, reliable brand they can count on, just like Motorcraft, Boyer said.

“Prior to launching Omnicraft we surveyed independent service providers to make sure we went to market with a product that met their needs. What we heard from them loud and clear was how much they appreciate and count on our Motorcraft brand. And because of our reputation and our service to them over the years, they will give Omnicraft a try. We won’t disappoint them.”

Phase-in

Johnson noted that Omnicraft is starting with fast-moving preventive maintenance items. “You want to hit the spot that gets the volume,” he said.

The initial line of about 1,500 part numbers includes pads, rotors, loaded calipers, oil filters, starters and alternators, and loaded struts. Air filters, cabin air filters, hub bearings and master cylinders are part of the second-tier introduction underway now, he said.


“With Omnicraft and Motorcraft combined, Ford Motor Company can support the complete brake job (pads, rotors, and calipers) for over 90% of vehicles on the road,” Boyer said.  “For example, Omnicraft brake pads are available for a wide spectrum of vehicles. Whether you are working on a ’67 Camaro, ’04 3-Series BMW, ’12 Acura TSX, or a  ’16 Ram 2500, Omnicraft has your brake pads!”

“We’ll go deeper into those lines as we move forward for the rest of 2017 and 2018,” Johnson said.

“In the third quarter, we are looking at water pumps, CV shafts, fuel-delivery modules and radiators. In the fourth quarter, we are looking at belts, ignition coils, oxygen censors, spark plugs and air-conditioning components.”
Johnson noted that these introductions will cover the most popular non-Ford/Lincoln vehicles in the U.S. and Canada, being 10 years old or newer – basically the vehicles that are showing up in the aftermarket at independent repair facilities.

“The same program is being activated globally, although parts and time frames vary. We are in the process of launching Omnicraft in every region of the world, he said. “The goal is to reach 85% coverage.”
Boyer said Omnicraft has been a strong collaborative effort between the global repair product planning team of which Johnson is a member, and the aftermarket parts marketing team in which she is a member, in order to bring it to market.

“This all happened under the leadership of Frederiek Toney,” Boyer said. “He really sparked this idea a few years ago. Part of the success with our ability to bring an all-makes brand to market has really been the teamwork that has been a major part of this effort. Ford is very much a company that stands for teamwork and this is a great example of that. There is a lot of good news, not only in our launch, but on how we worked together to bring it to market.”

“It was Frederiek’s vision and he has driven it and we’ve been working between ourselves, and our parts supply logistics team and our parts purchasing people – a whole cross functional group of people to execute it. It’s been a big task but it’s had a great outcome.”

 
Proud of the brand

How did Ford pick suppliers for Omnicraft?

“It was primarily by looking at our existing supplier base for Motorcraft parts, which many are also OE suppliers,” Johnson said. “We looked at what their offering was and then compared that to what we saw on the market to make sure that we were in the right place. In other words, from our engineering judgment, would we be proud to put our name on it? That was the largest qualification.

“They know that we have high standards for our Motorcraft parts … and they know what our basic criteria are,” Johnson said. “I grew up turning a wrench on a car and I still do it for a hobby. You need to have confidence in the part you’re putting on. You don’t want it coming back, and that’s the attitude we’ve taken and how we approach it.”

“As an example, coated rotors are one of our offerings,” Johnson said. “We see that as a big opportunity. From an aesthetic standpoint coated rotors look much better, and with the wheel styles we have nowadays you see more of the rotor than you used to, and we want it to look good.”


Response

Boyer said dealer organization feedback from around the country regarding the Omnicraft brand has been very positive. Examples:
• “With Omnicraft I can offer to take care of the complete fleet customer.”
• “My Quick Lane manager thinks it’s the best thing ever.”

She noted that dealers are pleased with the competitive pricing, adding, “Your readers will be as well. We are extremely price competitive.”

“For independent shops, we of course want to offer them Motorcraft for the Ford vehicles they are servicing. We see this as an opportunity to offer them something, along with the Motorcraft and try to increase their convenience and make it easier for them,” Johnson said.

“We know they just want to make one call,” Boyer said. “They like having a relationship with a parts supplier they can rely on through our dealers and our authorized Motorcraft wholesale distributor.”


Best-in-class warranties

Also advantageous to the new Omnicraft line is its warranty, Boyer said.

“We’ve benchmarked our key competitors for each of the products and we established a warranty that is comparable, if not better,” she said. “In addition, we’ve added what we have with Motorcraft – a $150 labor reimbursement with no commercial exclusions. We’re not aware of anyone else doing that. We’re very proud of that.”

“That speaks to the confidence we have in what we are doing from a quality standpoint,” Johnson said.

Easy access ordering online to a Ford/Lincoln dealership parts department or an authorized Motorcraft distributor also is available to the independent shops that prefer that method, Johnson said.

Technical assistance

When a shop has a technical question that cannot be answered by the Ford parts department or the authorized the distributor, the two providers can contact Ford for immediate technical help, Boyer said.

Professional Service Network

“Omnicraft parts also qualify for the recently launched Motorcraft Professional Service Network, further rewarding independent repair facilities who purchase both Motorcraft and Omnicraft,” she said.

“We are excited about Omnicraft and our new programs like the Professional Service Network,” Boyer said. “We are focused on serving our customers with the right products at the right price.”