Ford’s John Hinrichs: ‘We want to get creative about solving problems’

Ford will soon place suppliers under pressure to make certain they can produce critical parts for the automaker.

“This partnership allows us to work together with our suppliers and to look at our supply chain on an integrated basis, looking at total costs across the value chain so that we can make informed decisions,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas.

The initiative, the Ford Performance Center, will guide the automaker’s suppliers on the future of its motoring business and its long-term strategy to meet customer demands. The new Global Buylist will also guide companies on what they need to do to meet Ford’s needs for more fuel-efficient, safe and innovative vehicles.

“Our teams have formed the Global Buylist for two reasons,” said Hinrichs. “One, to have the strategic infrastructure in place and to put the right people in place to tackle complexity.

“We want our manufacturing systems to be as lean as they can be, our supply chain as optimized as they can be. Those are central to our success going forward and our agility. We want to get creative about solving problems and make sure we get the best result for our customer.”

The part producers that make the products Ford makes will be given an advisory role in the broader Buylist conversation, encouraging them to work together with Ford to improve their processes.

“Our employees are typically very collaborative, and their attitudes align very well with our company’s values,” said Hinrichs. “We want them to focus on key program priorities and not solve everyone’s technical problems. We’ll give them an understanding of what needs to get done and ask them to pull their weight.”

Ford was the first automaker to offer a goal of 40 percent of its net revenue coming from suppliers in its 10-year Global Buylist Vision, and is the first to issue a Global Buylist Advisory Board, bringing together 50 companies and their suppliers to talk about challenges and opportunities that exist in the supply chain.

“We need to start by breaking down those cultural barriers and getting people out of their silos,” said Hinrichs. “Working with a third party helps us do that.”

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