On the heels of an Automotive News report in which Ford Motor Co. demanded better quality from its suppliers, a new study has found that parts makers believe the No. 2 automaker's relationship with its suppliers hurts quality.
Planning Perspectives Inc. on Wednesday released early highlights of its OEM/Supplier Benchmark Study, due out in mid-June, as a response to an article in the May 27 issue of Automotive News, the head of the consulting company said.
In an April meeting, the automaker told its top 100 suppliers they must improve the quality of their parts or lose business. Ford Motor said that in the past two years, it has ranked behind GM and DaimlerChrysler in internal reports measuring satisfaction with overall vehicle quality, according to the Ford Motor presentation, a copy of which was obtained by Automotive News.
Planning Perspectives surveyed 225 top tier suppliers, beginning in April, and asked them a range of questions about their relations with large automakers in North America. The suppliers are anonymous.
President of the suburban Detroit firm, John Hanke, said while the survey is incomplete, preliminary findings show suppliers are critical of Ford Motor on several fronts. Among them:
"While many automotive industry observers generalize about Ford's contribution to their quality problems, these survey results specifically indicate ... that the major portion of Ford's quality problems are internal to Ford," said Henke, who is also a professor of marketing at Oakland University in Auburn Hills, Mich.
Added Henke: "There is no question that no OEM can solve its cost and quality problems without the help of its supply base. However, that help is not going to be forthcoming to the degree that it must, if an OEM is not willing to face up to and address its internal issues, and stop publicly brow-beating its suppliers."
In a prepared statement, Ford said Wednesday that it regards its suppliers as partners.
"The only way we can meet our quality and cost objectives is working in concert (with suppliers) for our mutual benefit and, most importantly, for our customers," the automaker said. "Our efforts thus far have produced some progress and good results ... but we also are aware that there is still a great deal more to achieve."