Overall transparency has been achieved to a much greater
extent in product and manufacturing planning and in the
often-criticised forecasting area.
As with all such successful initiatives it is not a one-
way street. The suppliers have signed up to bring leading-
edge technology to Ford; something which was ebbing away
in pre-ABF times. They are also expected to take greater
responsibility for ensuring proper working conditions and
environmental management systems in their businesses.
Previously, this was encouraged rather than forming part of
a laid-down requirement. Both Ford and its ABF suppliers
work together at a corporate level to align and improve
their approach to a range of sustainability issues and all
development work with these suppliers is extended to the
supply chain below Tier One.
ABF suppliers are requested to state clearly their
expectations and standards for working conditions and to
establish a code of conduct for these conditions and for
environmental responsibility throughout their range of
activity. They are required to promote these standards in
their wholly-owned facilities, with joint venture partners
and with their suppliers by means of training and
compliance processes.
Each supplier appoints an executive to lead its co-
ordination of cross-functional efforts and it is the
responsibility of that person to report to Ford progress
against established metrics. During all the phases of
supplier development Ford provides assistance and
materials to help with the mutual achievement of
developmental goals.
Our ABF companies represent the backbone of Ford’s
global supply network,” said Tony Brown. Group Vice
President, Ford Global Purchasing. “As we add new
companies each year, we are building a core group of
suppliers that are integral to carrying out the One Ford
plan of profitable growth for all – including our suppliers.”
In the spring of last year, Ford took another big step
towards finishing the long-planned restructuring of its
parts business with the sale of its interior component
operations to French company Faurecia, another ABF
supplier. Faurecia is an example of a company which is not
only serving a critical business need for Ford – it is helping
to provide leadership in Ford’s effort to build a financially
healthy, diverse supply base.
After the introduction of the ABF programme and other
initiatives. Ford’s rating in the supplier opinion survey has
significantly increased whilst that of Toyota has dropped.
Ford’s market share today is greater than Toyota’s and it is
the Japanese automaker which is perceived to be suffering
quality problems as recall follows recall.
Undoubtedly the remedial measures have restored
Ford’s reputation and standing among its supply base. GM
and Chrysler have also been rebuilding partnerships under
the purchasing and procurement regimes instituted by Bob
Socia and the late Dan Knott. It all seems a far cry from the
authoritarian and antagonistic days of ten years ago and it
is to be hoped that such far-reaching and mutually-
accommodating initiatives will continue long into the
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