DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. is starting a new award program for its suppliers.
The first round will be handed out next March, said Ron Iori, a Ford spokesman. The awards will be based on suppliers' performance in cost, quality and delivery in the previous year.
One category will be for suppliers who excel in all three areas. Another will be for suppliers who stand out in one or two areas.
Those will be based solely on Ford's data.
A third category will allow for some subjective measures. Winners could include a parent company, a supplier's business unit, or a plant, Iori said.
Ford expects to hand out between 20 and 40 awards worldwide each year, Iori said. Ford has not yet given the awards a name.
'The world has changed so many times,' said Carlos Mazzorin, Ford vice president of purchasing. 'We have to keep changing with it.'
Iori said that Ford and its suppliers have worked to develop performance standards over the past three years. Ford is now comfortable enough with the information to use it as a basis for the awards.
The automaker requires all of its suppliers to attain its Q1 quality award. Through 1997, Ford gave a select group each year its TQE award - for Total Quality Excellence. About 30 outside companies received that award over its 10-year life.
Ford's new awards could be part of an effort to coax suppliers to increase productivity and reduce costs, said Eoin Comerford, a manager in Arthur Andersen LLP's automotive group in Detroit.
The awards are 'a recognition of how much supplier performance affects Ford's own performance,' Comerford said. 'Maybe using the carrot instead of the stick approach will improve performance.'