Ford Leading way on DE&I in Automotive Supply Chain

Ford Motor Company Ohio Assembly Plant (Credit: Ford Motor Company)
Ford Motor Company Ohio Assembly Plant (Credit: Ford Motor Company)
Ford's Award Winning Supplier Diversity and Inclusion Programme Dates Back to 1968 and is 'in DNA of the Company' says its DE&I champion Travis Spencer

Ford's award winning Supplier Diversity and Inclusion strategy "permeates the core of our company", says Travis Spencer, Head of  Supplier Diversity & Inclusion at the company. 

The programme dates back as far as 1968, beginning life as an Inner-City Supplier Development Program, creating jobs in urban areas of minority concentration.

This initial programme requested by Henry Ford II was designed to identify high-potential minority enterprises and helping them competitive  in the automotive industry. 

Ford's Supplier Diversity Development Office administers the Supplier Diversity Development Programme, which promotes economic development across both production (direct) and non-production (indirect) forms of procurement.

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    Diversity and inclusion at Ford Motor Company 

    Ford's DE&I strategy has benefitted historically underrepresented businesses owned, operated and controlled by ethnic minorities, women, LGBT, veterans and disabled people .

    “Diversity & Inclusion permeates the core of our company – from the diversity of our product offerings and global workforce, to our strategic partners, supply base and dealers,” says Spencer

    He adds: “Rapidly changing technologies are creating incredible opportunities for growth with diverse suppliers who are able to identify and understand the traditional industry disruptors, grasp the concept of Diversity & Inclusion and develop a forward-looking strategy and plan.

    "We remain committed to support, develop, grow and promote our diverse suppliers while expanding the economic impact and growth in the community for a more sustainable future.” 

    Jim Farley CEO of Ford -- one of the world's largest auto manufacturer supply chains -- says of the company's inclusive programme: “Our employees, our customer base, dealer network and supply chain are a family where we celebrate our differences.

    "As we work to modernise across our business, we will rely on our diverse supply base to bring fresh ideas and perspectives. A supply base that reflects the diversity of our customer base will be our competitive edge as we work to deliver must-have products and services for our customers.

    "Together, we can leverage our diverse backgrounds and diversity of thought to create a better company and a better world.”

    Ford supplier diversity milestones

    • 1976 - Minority Supplier Development Department established
    • 1978 - Ford’s SD&I programme began one of the first formal supplier diversity programmes in the USA
    • 1988 - Awarded Corporation of the Year for the first time by the National Minority Supplier Development Council
    • 1997 - Ford becomes a founding member of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council 
    • 1999 - Ford begins the Tier 2 programme
    • 2005 - Ford’s SD&I programme expands to include women owned businesses
    • 2013 - Programme expands to include veteran owned businesses
    • 2017 - SD&I further expanded to include Canadian Aboriginal and Global Women Owned Businesses
    • 2018 - Ford’s SD&I Program expands further to include LGBTQ and Disability Owned Businesses.

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