How cancer treatment and car production combine?






Having been diagnosed with cancer, Mike Butler was impressed by the treatment of patients suffering from this disease, and he also saw it as an opportunity to suggest practices (from the Ford factory where he works) for the smoother operation of the clinic.

Together with his colleagues from the Cologne assembly plant, Quality Manager Mr Butler and his team investigated and proposed various functional changes that are now being implemented at the unit, which is expected to become the largest center for cancer treatment in Europe .

This relationship is bi-directional as the staff of the Center for Integrated Oncology (CIO) of the University of Cologne, one of Germany’s leading centers of cancer, offers Ford its expertise in managing a large amount of information to help research and development future vehicles and stand-alone driving.

“I spent five years in treatment rooms and I was thinking how I could make patients’ lives easier,” said Butler, who has been cured of colon cancer. “It was really a bright idea when I realized that many of the systems that ensure the smooth functioning of the plants could be used in the hospital. Now there is an exchange of ideas that benefits patients today and can influence the philosophy of future movement. The more we work together, the more synergies we find between our work at Ford and the challenges facing cancer research. ”






In 2008, for the first time, we demonstrated to the medical staff the advanced technologies and efficient processes we are implementing at the Fiesta factory in Cologne, which was to become one of the world’s most efficient production plants. A team of 10 to 15 engineers of the company met with hospital administration as well as patients, nurses, doctors and co-operation developed from there on.

Designed for a less stressful and faster treatment, colored lines on the walls and floors make it easy for staff, patients and visitors to find their way. Large screens facilitate communication between hospital workers. The team also proposed flexible halls with movable partitions instead of fixed nursing chambers. In the existing building, all of these have already helped to improve patient flow by 30%.

On the other hand, the medical teams in the hospital inform the company of the procedures they use to devise and develop completely new methods in the treatment of cancer. The company now applies this unconventional method in relation to future vehicles and new technologies.

“Medicine is a constantly evolving science where minor changes have a huge impact on patients’ lives,” said Professor Michael Hallek, Director of the CIO, which has been repeatedly awarded by German Cancer Aid as a top oncology center.