DETROIT — In a bid to repair fractured relationships, key Ford Motor Co. leaders will go on a listening tour of suppliers beginning early this year.
Ford global product chief Derrick Kuzak and purchasing chief Tony Brown have scheduled meetings with CEOs at many of the automaker's major parts makers. Ford CEO Alan Mulally says he may attend some meetings.
The sessions are a direct response to Ford's dismal results in several industry surveys of supplier-automaker relationships, including one conducted for Automotive News by J.D. Power and Associates. Ford finished last among automakers and scored low in every category of that survey, released in the spring of 2007.
"It's absolutely not OK," Kuzak told Automotive News. "Your survey is very troubling. We need to correct that perception."
Last week at the Automotive News World Congress, former Boeing executive Mulally sarcastically called those last-place finishes "one of the highlights of my career." Mulally is known for the improvements he made in Boeing's purchasing network.
"It's something I can't even imagine with my background," Mulally said, adding that he intends to do everything he can to move Ford up the list.