Building strong relationships with suppliers is central to our ability to create a sustainable supply chain. Without strong relationships, we lessen our ability to influence the sustainability goals and management processes of our suppliers. We base our relationships with suppliers on open communication, clear expectations and consistent requirements and processes. And we work to maintain these relationships by:
In addition to the efforts we make to build relationships with all of our suppliers, we engage even more robustly with our most strategic suppliers, through our Aligned Business Framework (ABF). We introduced the ABF for our most strategic suppliers in 2005 to increase mutual profitability, improve quality, drive innovation and help us encourage shared commitment to sustainability goals. Through our ABF program, we help our Tier 1 suppliers develop the capability to manage their own supply chain sustainability issues.
We sign bilateral agreements with our ABF suppliers that comprehensively and formally spell out business commitments. For example, ABF suppliers must commit to manage and assure proper working conditions and responsible environmental management in their facilities and their supply chains. ABF suppliers must also adhere to our Global Terms and Conditions. Beyond the fact that it is the right thing to do, requiring suppliers to commit to these terms also reduces the risk of operational or reputational issues that could affect production and provides the basis for Ford to work with suppliers to ensure responsible behavior throughout the automotive supply chain. See the Building Shared Commitment and Capability throughout Our Supply Chain section for more on how we engage ABF suppliers on sustainability issues.
As of June 2012, the ABF network included 103 companies, including 78 production and 25 nonproduction suppliers from around the world. Minority- and women-owned suppliers make up more than 10 percent of the total.
* indicates minority- or women-owned business enterprise supplier