Suppliers give Ford low marks in cost-cutting methods

Ford Motor Co. received the worst marks for the way it works with suppliers to cut costs, according to an Andersen LLC survey of auto supplier executives.

The results are significant because financially ailing Ford needs to cut costs and is preparing a corporate turnaround plan, which is expected in January.

Half of the survey's respondents said Ford has the worst methods of working with suppliers to reduce costs. Toyota, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler each received 11 percent of the vote.

Toyota received the most votes - 30 percent - for having the best methods of working with suppliers to cut costs.

Twenty-four percent said Honda's methods were best; 18 percent voted for DaimlerChrysler and 18 percent chose GM.

Toyota also received the most votes - 36 percent - for best overall cost-cutting methods, including how the company works with suppliers. Other methods include product design, using e-business and reducing payroll.

DaimlerChrysler's rating for overall cost-cutting methods dropped 10 percentage points compared with 1999.

Ford received the most votes, 47 percent, for having the worst overall cost-cutting techniques; 18 percent said GM's methods were the worst; 18 percent said DaimlerChrysler's were the worst. That contrasts with 1999, when the majority of suppliers, 82 percent, said GM's methods were the worst, and only 18 percent voted for Ford.

Andersen, an auditing, tax, consulting and finance firm, conducted the survey in October with 34 supplier executives. More than 30 executives, primarily from Tier 1 suppliers, answered each question. Andersen asked a similar group of suppliers some of the same questions in 1999.

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