For the 2023-MY Super Duty, Ford adopted a Zero-Defect Launch Process, increasing the number of quality checks during the assembly process. Ford also tripled the number of trucks used in trailer...

For the 2023-MY Super Duty, Ford adopted a Zero-Defect Launch Process, increasing the number of quality checks during the assembly process. Ford also tripled the number of trucks used in trailer tow testing and nearly quadrupled the count for durability testing.

Photo: Ford

Ford is now shipping all trims of its 2023 F-Series Super Duty pickup line to customers, the company said in a statement on May 24. The 2023 model, completely redesigned for the 2023 model year, was introduced last September.

Production began earlier this year, though Ford stopped production at its Kentucky plant to fix defective parts.

Ford CEO Jim Farley mentioned Ford’s updated quality control efforts in the company’s first quarter 2023 earnings conference call.

“I would also say the Super Duty launch is a good case study for the disciplined approach we're implementing across our industrial system,” he said in prepared remarks. “Simply put, we slowed the launch down, significantly increased on-road and in-plant quality testing (and) we dispatched a large and skilled launch team to our plant. We added test vehicles. We drove millions of miles to prove our durability, and we deployed new technology and artificial intelligence to catch issues.

“Basically, we put all the pressure in the system to find and then prevent future quality issues rather than speeding up the line to match our launch curve.”

Ford Touts Quality Control

Production-ready models underwent exhaustive real-world road testing with an emphasis on high mileage tests to meet the demands of Ford Pro commercial customers, Ford said. Tripling the number of trucks used in trailer tow testing, and nearly quadrupling the count for Ford’s durability testing provided additional quality data points compared to previous launches.

At Ford’s Kentucky Truck and Ohio Assembly plants, Ford adopted a Zero-Defect Launch Process, increasing the number of quality checks during the assembly process. Once trucks roll off the line, every vehicle is driven 25 miles by a Ford employee as an additional quality check to help identify issues before delivery.

“Never before have I seen teams come together like they have for this Super Duty launch. We are looking to exceed our customers’ expectations with Super Duty and that requires making sure every employee feels empowered to speak up when there are issues,” said Andrew Kernahan, Super Duty chief engineer.

The press announcement cited Jake Klug, Super Duty body team manager, who noticed hood fits on initial trucks that were within spec but still could be seen as dissatisfying to customers. Klug pulled a small team together and worked nights and weekends to ensure all trucks in hand fit the required visual quality.

F-Series Super Duty Production Data

The start of Super Duty production follows a recent $700 million investment that added 500 jobs for Louisville-assembled products, including Super Duty.

Approximately 11,000 UAW hourly workers — more than 9,000 at Kentucky Truck Plant and approximately 1,800 at Ohio Assembly Plant — assemble the Ford F-Series Super Duty. Between those two states, plant operations, local sales, suppliers, and employees help support nearly 200,000 direct and indirect jobs and a combined GDP of approximately $19 billion, Ford said.

In Kentucky, Ford employs more than 12,000 people and supports nearly 120,000 direct and indirect jobs in the state and a state GDP contribution of $11.8 billion.

New Features for 2023 Super Duty

The 2023 Super Duty is the first pickup in the U.S. with embedded 5G capability, according to Ford. Super Duty’s 5G modem from Qualcomm Technologies can also provide a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 10 devices.

Super Duty also introduces the new Ford Pro Upfit Integration System. The truck is also able to receive software updates while driving, according to Ford.  

The 2023 Ford F-Series Super Duty comes with many new engine, technology, and safety features:

  • New standard 6.8L V8 gas engine, with more low-end torque to make starting on steep grades and merging onto highways easier.
  • 7.3L V8 with improved air intake and tuning.
  • A 6.7L Power Stroke V8 that can go longer intervals between oil changes to stay on the job longer.
  • New high-output 6.7L Power Stroke V8 diesel with a unique turbo, upgraded exhaust manifolds and unique tuning. 
  • Onboard scales with Smart Hitch.
  • 360-degree trailer camera system.
  • Blind spot information system for fifth wheel and gooseneck.
  • Industry-first available tailgate-down camera and tailgate-down reverse sensing system.
  • Pro Trailer hitch assist.
  • Trailer Navigation.
  • Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with stop-and-go and lane centering.
  • Trailer theft alert.
  • Vehicle security, available with a Ford Pro Telematics subscription.
  • Fleet Start Inhibit.
  • Forward/Reverse sensing system.
  • Front- and rear-brake assist.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet

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