Ford Seeks Supply-Chain Changes

Autoliv, Delphi, Johnson Controls, Lear, Magna, Visteon and Yazaki are among the select suppliers with which Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford Motor Co. says it is entering into new long-term agreements to cut costs and advance technology. Ford says the arrangement means more business for suppliers while, over time, reducing by about 50% the number of suppliers of key parts and components.

The first phase of Ford's plan will focus on about 20 parts and commodities, including seats, wiring, restraint systems, and instrument and trim panels, that account for about 50% of Ford's annual purchases from suppliers around the globe.

Ford pledges to involve suppliers early in product development and benchmarking and to share forecast volumes and product plans. "This is not business as usual. We're not only asking our suppliers to step up. We're also asking ourselves to step up," says Thomas K. Brown, Ford's senior vice president of global purchasing.

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