09 June 2009 | Martha McKenzie- Minifie
Ford has made "dramatic and steady" gains in its working relations with suppliers in the past two years, according to a study. And the Planning Perspectives analysis credits much of this progress to the carmaker's head of US purchasing.
The study has tracked supplier relations of the top three carmakers in the US and the top three in Japan for the past eight years. Its latest finding places Honda, Toyota and Nissan first, second and third respectively.
Ford, which came fourth, was highlighted for achieving the study's "highest rating ever" within that placing for a US carmaker. "Only two years ago Ford was rated as having the worst working relations with suppliers," the report said.
GM came fifth and Chrysler last.Planning Perspectives president John Henke said in a statement that Ford transferred its head of European purchasing, Paul Stokes, to lead its North America purchasing operation two years ago, resulting in a "dramatic improvement" in supplier relations.
"While Ford still has a lot of work to do, what it is doing with its suppliers is working. The number of suppliers who said relations with Ford are 'good to very good' increased by
50 per cent this year, while the number of vendors indicating they have 'poor to very poor' relationships with Ford is down 25 per cent. Ford is heading in the right direction," he added.
Toyota has topped the list since 2002 but slipped to second place in the latest study.
"Suppliers suggest a potential reason for this drop is a younger, less experienced staff in Toyota's purchasing group for whom the 'Toyota Way' is not yet the way of doing things," said Henke.
A Toyota spokesman told SM: "Our approach is based upon mutual trust, prosperity and long-term relationships. Though these are difficult times, we are unwavering in our commitment to suppliers."