Just as major auto parts suppliers are important facets of the auto business, for any global automakers so are the minority suppliers, which – although smaller and more difficult to manage – could play key roles in the company’s strategy.

For example, in 2013 the second largest US automaker has purchased $6.5 billion in goods and services from minority-owned suppliers, making good and even exceeding the internal goal of outsourcing more than 10% of the buying budget.

“Ford has been a long-standing supporter of diversity in many forms, and this includes our supplier base,” said Hau Thai-Tang, head of 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.”

“Our suppliers are encouraged to expand their operations globally to the extent that there is a viable business model that supports it,” added Thai-Tang. “As we grow, our suppliers have the opportunity to grow with us.”

Ford used what it calls the Supplier Diversity Development plan for more than 10% of its US budget (which is around $50 billion currently) for the fourth year in a row, reaching out with $1.8 billion in purchases of goods and services from female-owned suppliers and another $600 million from veteran-owned businesses. In 2013, the US company worked with at least 400 companies that are considered minority suppliers and partners, after it first set up the supplier diversity program back in 1978.


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