Ford's Supplier Program Celebrates 35 Years Empowering Business Owners

Ford’s Supplier Diversity Program Celebrates 35 Years Empowering Business Owners

Ford's Supplier Diversity Development Program: 35 Years of Empowering Minority, Women and Veteran Business Owners

john a james
For 35 years, Ford’s Supplier Diversity Development (SDD) program has been cultivating successful relationships between the company and its minority, women and veteran-owned supplier businesses.

Ford has spent $67 billion through the program since its launch in 1978, working with 400-plus diverse and minority suppliers; more than 25 of these companies have been doing business with Ford for more than 20 years.

The SDD program empowers entrepreneurs like John A. James by providing them with the resources to be successful. For instance, Ford sold James 23 used diesel trucks from its private fleet to use for his trucking business in 1972. James, an African-American veteran, is chairman, CEO and founder of an international supply chain logistics company, James Group International. He has worked with Ford since 1972 — a year after he founded his first business.

“Minority, women and veteran-owned businesses have made substantial contributions to Ford’s profitable growth,” said Tony Brown, group vice president, global purchasing. “James Group International is an outstanding example of how our SDD program partners us with the best suppliers in the world, which has helped us produce quality vehicles over the last 35 years for our customers.”

By identifying high-potential minority, women-and veteran-owned businesses and giving them the resources to be successful, Ford can tap a fresh perspective that can lead to cutting-edge innovation and help accelerate the development of vehicles.

“Our SDD program is a win-win for everyone involved,” said Brown. “We’re all working together to foster new business relationships that will contribute to the greater good, leading to new opportunities for expansion and growth.”

In 2012, Ford exceeded its sourcing goals by purchasing $5.7 billion in goods and services from minority-owned suppliers, $1.2 billion in goods and services from women-owned suppliers, and $2.1 billion from suppliers who in turn source business from minority- and women-owned companies.

This year, Ford has added several minority, women and veteran-owned businesses to its supplier base, including Cordell Transportation (a Dayton, Ohio-based trucking business), CMAC Transportation (a Brownstown Charter Township, Mich.-based warehouse and transportation company), Go-To Transportation (a Bay City, Mich.-based shipping company) and Integrated Supply Chain Solutions (a Detroit-based print management and transportation business).

Looking ahead, veterans are a key focus for the SDD program. Ford is committed to spending 3 percent of its U.S. purchasing budget with qualified 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. “We believe the success of Ford Motor Company largely depends on enabling people and businesses of all kinds to succeed and share in the One Ford plan of profitable growth for all — particularly our veteran suppliers.”

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