Ford Motor Co. is optimistic that it will surpass its annual goal to use up 10% of its US purchasing budget on minority- and women-owned supplier companies. Ford explained that it has retained its 10% goal in 2009 by buying $2.7 billion worth of goods from Tier 1 minority- and women-owned companies; however, this is still a major drop from $3.3 billion in 2008 and $4.2 billion in 2007.
Ford believes that the drop in this figure is due to the decrease in industry production volumes in recent years. In a statement, Tony Brown, Ford group vice president for global purchasing, said that auto suppliers are facing difficult times but that minority- and women-owned businesses have “their own set of unique challenges.”
He explained that due to this situation, Ford has taken “proactive action” to offer significant business opportunities to its diverse suppliers.
At the same time, it gives support to others to raise their chances for long-term viability. Ford also said that it gave more than $150 million in new business to minority- and women-owned suppliers last year. Ford aided in the expansion of these business opportunities and product lines for several companies.
For instance, Ford said that it assisted in the sale of a portion of Meridian Automotive Systems business to Flex-N-Gate Corp. The sale extended Flex-N-Gate's product line by including exterior vehicle lighting systems. Flex-N-Gate, of Urbana, Ill., is an Asian-American supplier.
In addition, Ford gave support to Grupo Antolin Wayne by shifting a large piece of interior headliner business from a mainstream supplier. Grupo Antolin Wayne, of suburban Detroit, is an African-American supplier. Furthermore, Ford sourced a global parts distribution contract to AEL-SPAN/UTi, an African-American supplier in Belleville, Mich. [via autonews - sub. required]