Ford’s Supplier Diversity Development (SDD) program aims to source at least 10 percent of its $50 billion U.S. purchasing budget with diverse production and nonproduction suppliers annually. And for the fourth consecutive year, the automaker exceeded that goal by purchasing $6.5 billion in goods and services from minority-owned suppliers, $1.8 billion in goods and services from women-owned businesses and $600 million in goods and services from veteran-owned companies.

“Ford has been a longstanding supporter of diversity in many forms, and this includes our supplier base,” said Hau Thai-Tang, group vice president, Global Purchasing. “These suppliers are an integral part of our overall growth and sustainability. They bring a fresh perspective that continues to lead to cutting-edge innovations and accelerate the development of new vehicles – vehicles that our customers want and deserve.”

Ford’s SDD program currently works with 400-plus diverse suppliers; more than 25 of these companies have been doing business with Ford for more than 20 years. The program also partners with various community organizations, trade associations and business leaders to ensure that it continues to represent the interests of diverse businesses.

Demonstrating its commitment to a diversified supply chain network, Ford encourages its Tier-1 suppliers to also support diverse businesses. In 2013, Ford’s Tier-1 suppliers purchased more than $2.57 billion in goods and services from minority, women and veteran-owned companies, an increase of 19 percent from 2012.

“For over 35 years, Ford has been committed to growing and strengthening its relationships with diverse suppliers,” said Carla Preston, Supplier Diversity Development director. “Through our Supplier Diversity Development program, we are contributing to the greater good, leading to new opportunities for economic expansion and job growth across Michigan, our nation and globally.”

Global expansion

Considering today’s economic landscape, globalization is a reality for suppliers, and an essential component for growth and competitiveness. These businesses have the opportunity to supply Ford outside the U.S. based on commodity requirements, capacity and footprint.

The global expansion of Ford’s supply base is key as the company prepares to launch the most vehicles globally in a single year in more than a century – 23 globally and 16 in North America.

“Our suppliers are encouraged to expand their operations globally to the extent that there is a viable and sustainable business model that supports it,” said Thai-Tang. “2014 is a key year for growth as we enter into one of our most aggressive product launch year’s ever. As we grow, our suppliers have the opportunity to grow with us.”

Through mentorship from Ford, a cadre of its diverse suppliers has entered the global landscape, including:

  • EWIE Co. Inc., an Asian Indian-owned company based in Ann Arbor, Mich., which provides tool management to Ford’s manufacturing plants in the United States, Canada, Mexico, India, Romania, Germany, the United Kingdom and Australia.
  • Piston Automotive, an African American company based in Redford, Mich, which supplies the high voltage battery pack for the Focus Electric. Piston ships the battery pack to Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant and the Saarlouis Assembly Plant in Germany.
  • Flex-N-Gate Corporation (FNG), an Asian Indian-owned company based in Urbana, IL., which provides bumper and fascia systems, stampings and exterior trim components to support the Ford F-150 and Fusion. FNG’s global footprint includes the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and South America.

Supplier Diversity Development program

Ford established its Supplier Diversity Development (SDD) program in 1978 to empower diverse communities, including women, minorities and veterans. The goal of the program is to help create wealth by fostering diversity across Ford’s supply chain – prompting consideration of Ford products among those who do business with the company. The program has invested more than $70 billion with women, minority and veteran suppliers since its inception.

The SDD program has been recognized by numerous national organizations for its supplier diversity efforts including:

  • 1988, 1998, 2001, 2012 National Minority Supplier Development Council Corporation of the Year
  • 2010 DiversityInc magazine Top 10 Best Companies for Supplier Diversity
  • 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council Corporation of the Year
  • 2010 and 2013 Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce Corporation of the Year
  • 2011, 2012, 2013 United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Million Dollar Club
  • 2011, 2012, 2013 Women’s Business Enterprise National Council America’s Top Corporation

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 183,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company.

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