News Column

Ford's Supplier Diversity Program Turns 35

May 20 2013 6:21AM

Staff Reports --

Alan Mulally, Ford president and CEO
Alan Mulally, Ford president and CEO

Ford's award-winning supplier diversity development (SDD) program just celebrated its 35th anniversary. The mainstay of the Detroit Big Three has spent more than $67 billion with diverse suppliers since 1978, according to a news release.

Last year, Ford spent $5.7 billion with tier-one minority-owned suppliers, $1.2 billion with tier-one women-owned suppliers, and $2.1 billion with tier-one suppliers who use tier-two minority- and women-owned businesses, according to Ford.

Ford has worked with 400-plus diverse and minority suppliers since the SDD started, doing business with more than 25 of those companies for more than 20 years.

"Diversity and inclusion are keys to our success at Ford," Alan Mulally, Ford president and CEO, said in a statement. "For 35 years we have been committed to building a supplier base that reflects our employees, our customers and our shareholders. A broad and diverse supplier base reinforces our commitment to the communities where we live and work."

The SDD program empowers entrepreneurs by providing them with the resources to be successful, according to Ford.

"Minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses have made substantial contributions to Ford's profitable growth," said Tony Brown, group vice president, global purchasing.

Ford says it gets a fresh perspective by identifying innovative minority-, women- and veteran- owned businesses, which in turn accelerates the development of vehicles.

Some notable examples of technologies that stemmed from Ford's SDD program include:

GDC: Owned by Loretta Miller and based in Goshen, Ind., GDC recycles tires into plastic and rubber-formed products. GDC helped develop a product incorporating coconut shells and fibers that was used in Ford Super Duty.

Systrand Manufacturing, owned by Sharon Cannarsa and based in Brownstown, Mich., produces machined parts for the Ford hybrid transmissions that will be used in the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid.

Piston Automotive, owned by former pro basketball player Vinnie Johnson and based in Redford, Mich., supplies the high-voltage battery pack for Focus Electric, Ford's first all- electric passenger car.

Adding to the Diversity Base

Minority-, women- and veteran- owned businesses that Ford has added to its supplier base this year include Cordell Transportation in Dayton, Ohio; CMAC Transportation in Brownstown Charter Township, Mich.; Go-To Transportation in Bay City, Mich.; and Integrated Supply Chain Solutions in Detroit.

Looking ahead, however, Ford expects to spend 3 percent of its U.S. purchasing budget on veteran-owned businesses.

"If anyone understands teamwork and getting the job done, it's our men and women who have served and continue to serve in the armed forces," said Carla Preston, SDD program director.

Ford Motor Company has about 175,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide. ----- It's not too late to submit your company for the 2013 HispanicBusiness 500! Just visit ----- Check out the 2013 Top 25 Hispanic Nonprofits -- they're on a roll, despite continued hard economic times.

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