DEARBORN – Ford Motor Company set a new company record in the U.S. last year by sourcing more than $5 billion with minority-owned companies and $1 billion with women-owned firms, reinforcing its leadership position as a strong supporter of supplier diversity.
For the third consecutive year, Ford exceeded its goal of sourcing 10 percent of its U.S. production and nonproduction purchases with diverse suppliers.
In 2011, Ford purchased $5.08 billion in goods and services from its tier-one minority-owned businesses (MBEs), a 34 percent increase from $3.8 billion in 2010. Ford purchased $1.06 billion from its tier-one women-owned businesses (WBEs), an increase of 22 percent from $866 million in 2010. The increases reflect higher vehicle production and incremental new business of $661 million for existing diverse suppliers.
Ford’s commitment to Go Further extends to its entire supply chain network. Ford’s tier-one suppliers spent $1.66 billion with minority-owned businesses in 2011, up from $1.29 billion in 2010.
“Our commitment to minority suppliers remains a top priority,” said Tony Brown, Ford group vice president for Global Purchasing. “At Ford, we believe a diverse supply base provides an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage in a constantly changing multicultural global economy.”
Examples of diverse suppliers that were sourced work from Ford last year include:
•Grupo Antolin Wayne, an African-American joint venture in Canton, Mich., which produces sunroof headliners for the Ford Focus
•Ewie Co. Inc., an Asian Indian-owned company in Ann Arbor, Mich., that expanded its cutting tools and abrasives business globally to support Ford’s growth overseas
•Piston Automotive Group, an African-American-owned supplier in Redford, Mich., which was selected to sell IT services as a manufacturer
•Systrand Manufacturing, a Brownstown, Mich.-based company that is producing machined parts for the next generation of Ford’s hybrid transmission that will be used in the new Ford Fusion Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid
Joint Technology Framework
Ford is also making progress with another component of its commitment to minority- and women- owned businesses, the Joint Technology Framework (JTF). Established in 2008, JTF is a special program aimed at improving suppliers’ technical expertise through access to the company’s intellectual assets and other support. Diverse suppliers are the first beneficiaries of JTF.
“Diversity is a business imperative at Ford Motor Company and we believe having a diverse supply base helps Ford harness the best innovative technology and cutting-edge ideas,” said Brown. “The Joint Technology Framework initiative is in line with the overall vision and mission of our Supplier Diversity Development program and Ford’s vision to Go Further.”
One of the first companies to bring a JTF project to fruition is Flex-N-Gate Corporation, a minority-owned company located in Urbana, Ill. Flex-N-Gate is a global manufacturer of metal and plastic components used throughout the automotive industry.
As a result of the JTF program, Flex-N-Gate has introduced “two-shot molding” to support Ford’s global CD platform. This is a process that efficiently and consistently molds two materials in a single press cycle, allowing customers to design more complex plastic parts with improved accuracy. Ford worked with Flex-N-Gate to adopt two-shot molding in order for Flex-N-Gate to maintain state-of-the-art capability. Technical support was provided in the form of design, testing and packaging.
The technology will be first used on the 2013 Ford Fusion, which goes on sale in North America and South America later this year (known as Mondeo in Argentina), and subsequently on the 2013 Lincoln MKZ, which also enters the market later in 2012.
The two-shot molding process has enabled Flex-N-Gate to expand its technical capabilities, establish a new commodity and increase the opportunity for new business, both at Ford for derivative products and at other automakers.
“Ford Motor Company has been critical to the success our employees enjoy and to our company overall,” said Shahid Khan, president and owner of Flex-N-Gate. “Ford has been a great mentor to us and the JTF project is just one example of how Ford is committed to the growth and sustainability of its suppliers.”
Additional JTF suppliers include Dakkota Integrated Systems, Gonzalez Production Systems, Piston Automotive and Saturn Electronics and Engineering.
Ford’s Supplier Diversity Development efforts were recognized last year with numerous awards, including:
•2011 Automotive New Suppliers’ Choice Award
•2011 MMSDC Corporation of the Year Award
•2011 Women Business Enterprise National Council Top Corporation for Women
•Black Enterprise Magazine: 40 Best Companies for Diversity
•On Wheels: Urban Wheels Company of the Year
•Black EOE Journal: Top 100 Supplier Diversity Programs for African-Americans
•Diversity Plus Magazine: Top 30 Champions of Diversity
•Diversity Inc. Magazine: Top 10 Best Companies for Supplier Diversity
“We have made supplier diversity a key part of the way we do business at Ford,” said Carla Traci-Preston, director, Supplier Diversity Development. “We continue to strengthen our existing programs and processes, as well as seek new ways to help our minority- and women-owned businesses grow and develop.
“Building successful, strategic alliances and understanding how to tap into new business opportunities are key to supplier sustainability,” Preston added.
Ford has spent $45 billion in goods and services with diverse suppliers since 1998