COLOGNE, Germany – A European Supplier Diversity Workshop was staged in Cologne last week, with the objective of sharing experiences and inspiring further progress. The event – the second to be staged - was attended by some 40 Ford suppliers from around Europe.
The focus of the workshop was on the opportunities and risks inherent in the practical implementation of diversity concepts. Input was provided not only by Ford, but also by suppliers such as Segura and ThyssenKrupp, who shared their personal experiences in implementing diversity actions.
While considerable progress had been made and there are many diversity success stories, Brigitte Kasztan, manager, European Ford Diversity, commented that there were issues that had not yet been adequately tackled. "We need to raise the awareness of diversity even more", she said.
To analyse and optimise diversity progress, Ford has developed a new rating system for suppliers that examines four fields of activity: diversity policy, training, management commitment and company activity.
"Our system allows us to hold a mirror up to our suppliers and help them to be able to better assess their progress,” explained Andrew Bruell, senior purchase manager, Ford of Europe.
In each of the four fields, up to five points are awarded, according the individual company’s level of diversity commitment. The assessment allows successes to be measured and communicated.
Even though diversity management is now an integral part of corporate culture "we have to keep at it", believes Kasztan.
"There are no specific regulations when it comes to determining the composition of the workforce," Bruell adds. “The European Supplier Diversity Workshop is, therefore, an important platform for developing common objectives and strategies, which suppliers can then implement in their business operations.”