Ford expands Joint Technology Framework (JTF) with two new companies, Piston Automotive LLC and Saturn Electronics & Engineering
JTF is part of Ford's commitment to develop minority- and women-owned suppliers and improve their technical expertise
DEARBORN, Mich., Oct. 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) is expanding its leadership role in supplier diversity by adding two companies to the Joint Technology Framework (JTF), a special program aimed at improving suppliers' technical expertise.
Ford announced today that Piston Automotive LLC and Saturn Electronics & Engineering Inc. are new members of JTF, bringing the number of companies in the program to eight. Tony Brown, Ford group vice president, Global Purchasing, made the announcement today at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition's 10th Annual Detroit Automotive Summit.
"Ford's commitment to a supply base that reflects our diverse customer base is as strong as ever," said Brown. "The economic challenges facing all suppliers are especially difficult for minority- and women-owned enterprises. These groups need our support now more than ever so they can thrive when the economy rebounds. Programs like JTF demonstrate that Ford is serious about this responsibility."
Ford launched JTF one year ago to assist its suppliers in developing innovative products and technical expertise. Under the program, there is a formal process in which suppliers are given access to specific product and process intellectual property from Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. Suppliers are then licensed by Ford to develop the technologies and processes for potential future use by Ford, other automakers, or other industries.
Including Piston Automotive and Saturn Engineering & Electronics, there are eight minority- and women-owned businesses as initial participants in the JTF program. Piston Automotive, based in Redford, Mich., is an assembly and sequencing company, providing chassis modules and interior parts, as well as logistics services. Saturn Electronics & Engineering is based in Rochester Hills, Mich., and makes electronics and electrical components, modules and sub-systems.
The following JTF suppliers are moving ahead with work in specific areas:
Dakkota Integrated Systems, which develops and produces vehicle interiors, is working with technologies that offer alternatives to adhesives in interior components, and a product to enhance interior stowage capacity.
Gonzalez Production Systems, a maker of closure, welding and assembly systems for the transportation industry, is working with ultrasonic welding, a potential low-cost joining process for aluminum body construction.
Grupo Antolin Wayne, an assembler of modular overhead systems and interior consoles, is working on new processes for reducing weight, as well as new interior lighting options.
Prime Wheel, which makes wheels for the original equipment and aftermarket, is exploring potential alternatives to chrome wheel finishes.
Ford has a long history of supporting women- and minority-owned suppliers and holds a leadership role in the auto industry when it comes to spending with those groups. Last year, Ford purchased $3.3 billion in goods and services from its tier one minority business enterprises and women business enterprises. Although the 2008 figure was below the $4.2 billion purchased in 2007 because of lower industry volumes, Ford's percentage of spending remained the same at approximately 10 percent.
In addition, earlier this year Ford named three new minority- and women-owned suppliers to its Aligned Business Framework (ABF), a select group of suppliers chosen for long-term relationships. Those companies are Piston Automotive, Uniworld Group and Zubi Advertising. Currently, minority- and women-owned suppliers make up nearly 20 percent of the 82 ABF suppliers at Ford.