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Ford Works to Strengthen Supplier Relationships to Provide Customers with Best-in-Class Technologies

  • Ford introduces Aligned Business Framework 2.0, to help roll out new technologies to customers more quickly while improving quality and overall profitability
  • The integration of the ABF has helped Ford become the preferred domestic automaker among suppliers
  • ABF 2.0 will help Ford continue building strong relationships with its suppliers, while also helping to increase scale and meet capacity needs

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - Ford Motor Company is introducing Aligned Business Framework 2.0 – the evolution of an initiative that helps strengthen supplier relationships and bring new technologies to more Ford customers faster.

ABF 2.0 will enable supplier innovations to reach customers quicker by providing more robust tracking of new technologies from idea to implementation. Additionally, ABF 2.0 will foster more communication between suppliers and senior Ford leaders, offer greater opportunities to increase scale, and engage suppliers earlier in the vehicle design process.

“The evolution of the Aligned Business Framework helps us to further integrate with our product development team, and encourages our suppliers to bring their best and most innovative technologies to Ford,” said Birgit Behrendt, Ford vice president of global programs and purchasing operations. Speaking today at the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars, she added, “As we continue to consolidate our supply base, we plan to increase the amount of business we’re conducting with ABF suppliers to around 70 percent.”

The initiative identifies key component and service suppliers through which to consolidate the company’s supply base, helping deliver the One Ford goal of profitable growth for all – including suppliers. Since 2005, the ABF has promoted transparency, communication, collaboration and trust between Ford and its supply base. The ABF’s success also includes its production scale; Ford is sourcing 65 percent of its global production business with ABF suppliers, up from 34 percent during the first year of the initiative.

Since implementing the ABF, Ford has improved its supplier relationships, and leads in supplier favorability among domestic automakers in consulting firm IHS Automotive’s 2013 study on OEM-supplier relations, and the 2013 OEM-Supplier Working Relations Index from Birmingham, Mich.-based Planning Perspectives.

“The introduction of the ABF has greatly improved the supply base’s perception of Ford,” said Behrendt. “We wanted to be their automaker of choice, and ABF has allowed us to achieve that.”

In North America, for example, Ford suppliers were key to successfully adding 400,000 units of capacity in 2012, followed by another 200,000 units in 2013. Ford continues to evolve ABF based on nearly a decade of key insights gained through the initiative.

An important ABF initiative is the Executive Business Technology Review. This allows senior Ford product development and purchasing leaders to experience suppliers’ latest technologies through a show-and-tell approach, and for Ford, in many cases, to be the first automaker to introduce these technologies to drivers around the world.

Key technologies introduced through the review include Ford’s hands-free liftgate, active park assist and Lane-Keeping System, which debuted on various 2012 and 2013 model Ford vehicles.