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Ford's supplier mission flops

By Bradford Wernle Automotive News Europe When William Clay Ford Jr. became chairman of Ford Motor Co. in 2001, he promised to repair relationships with employees, dealers and suppliers damaged during the tenure of his predecessor Jacques Nasser. A new survey shows that Ford is not progressing with suppliers. A new survey conducted by SupplierBusiness.com of Stamford, England, shows suppliers are deeply unhappy with Ford as a partner. Of 300 suppliers that work with Ford or an affiliate, 55 responded. The results show suppliers think Ford has gotten worse under Bill Ford. Shortly after Ford took office, he launched a major global cost-cutting initiative. Suppliers have borne much of the brunt of that. A Ford program called Team Value Management was supposed to make suppliers partners in identifying cost savings. But some feel they are not treated as partners. Suppliers were surveyed about six automakers so far: BMW, Ford, General Motors, Renault-Nissan, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and Volks-wagen. Suppliers rated Ford worst in providing support to avoid problems, rewarding cost-saving ideas, and paying for development. ————————————————————————How suppliers rate automakersSuppliers rank auto manufacturers on key attributesRelative position1st2nd3rd4th5th6thAttractiveness as a partner:Ren-NisBMWPSAVWGMFordOpportunity to make acceptable ROI:BMWRen-NisPSAVWFordGMLevel of trust as commercial partner:BMWRen-NisVWPSAFordGMQuality, stability of volume planning:BMWRen-NisPSAVWFordGMRespect for supplier capabilities:Ren-NisBMWVWPSAGMFordSource: SupplierBusiness.com surveys of suppliersNote: Ren-Nis is Renault and Nissan. SupplierBusiness.com has not yet surveyed suppliers about Fiat Auto or DaimlerChrysler.————————————————————————Ford was the only manufacturer suppliers believe has lost technical competence in its engineering department over the last two years. Suppliers said Ford exerts more cost-cutting pressure than anybody except GM. Suppliers thought that “respect for supplier capabilities” had declined at Ford more than at any other car maker, although all automakers have shown less respect for suppliers, results show. Ford fared better in other areas. Suppliers said it is better than average in thoroughness of preparation for model launches, and average in how it raised its demands for product liability guarantees.”

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