Warning to Ford: Don't beat suppliers

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To the Editor:

Ford's tightening the screws on suppliers is another example of stubborn adherence to old-style management ("Ford gives its suppliers an ultimatum," Oct. 8).

It is foolish, ignorant and wasteful.

By issuing a short-horizon edict, Ford has ensured that suppliers will be compelled to subvert meaningful change to the tyranny of the numbers.

Suppliers have repeatedly demonstrated the ability to meet those arbitrary targets.

They can do it, but the methods they are required to use are destructive of the goal, improved quality of product. Ultimately, supplier animosity grows, and the results are disastrous.

The Oct. 8 editorial "A never-ending quest" embraces continuous improvement.

All employees understand the never-ending quest they face.

They didn't get an education, raise children, create a home or accomplish anything worthwhile in a mere five months. And they didn't do any of those things strictly by the numbers, either.

They understand "Genchi gen butsu shugi," learning through careful attention at the work site.

Ranking and rating, exhortations and slogans and basing sourcing decisions solely on price are some of the other "sins" of management that (quality guru) Ed Deming warned against.

Ford's position reflects a stubborn adherence to all those practices.

Ford, with hollow exhortations to "Do better or else," will not achieve the improvement in quality needed to exceed the competitive challenge.

It is time to pay continuous attention to the details of the work and those who do those details.

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