DETROIT - In its new campaign for improved quality, Ford Motor Co. is giving greater attention to its suppliers and customers.
Ford is incorporating the voice of outside suppliers into many ideas that are reshaping the company, said Louise Goeser, Ford's vice president of quality. She said supplier input contributed to recent employee awards given by the automaker.
The company also is using customer feedback to drive quality improvements. Goeser said management bonuses are being calculated with the help of customer satisfaction data. In addition to using outside customer-tracking firms such as J.D. Power and Associates Inc., Ford also uses its own customer satisfaction data.
'It's really about partnerships,' said Goeser, who was the guest speaker at last week's Automotive News PACE Awards ceremony at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. 'In the past, we wanted parts. Today we want partnerships.'
Goeser leads a new program at Ford called 'Customer-Driven Six Sigma.' Ford is aiming for the quality level known as six sigma, which is a measurement of defects per manufactured product. Quality experts estimate most successful U.S. companies operate in the range of three and four sigma, which still results in thousands of quality defects annually.
Striving for six sigma is an effort to virtually eliminate defects.
Goeser came to Ford last year as head of quality after five years in quality management at Whirlpool Corp. and 20 years at Westinghouse Electric Corp.
Speaking to supplier executives, she said: 'We really don't want you to create parts to please us. We want you to create them to form-fit our customers.'