Ford's Supplier Diversity Development Program: 35 Years of Empowering Minority, Women and Veteran Business Owners

May 20, 2013, 08:00 ET from Ford Motor Company

DEARBORN, Mich., May 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- 

  • Ford's award-winning Supplier Diversity Development (SDD) program celebrates its 35th anniversary; since 1978 Ford has spent more than $67 billion with diverse suppliers
  • In 2012 Ford spent $5.7 billion with tier-one minority-owned suppliers, $1.2 billion with tier-one women-owned suppliers, and $2.1 billion with tier-one suppliers who use tier-two minority- and women-owned businesses
  • A diverse supplier base brings a fresh perspective that can lead to cutting-edge innovations and help accelerate the development of new vehicles

Ford's Supplier Diversity Development (SDD) program celebrates 35 years of cultivating successful relationships between the company and its minority-, women- and veteran-owned supplier businesses.

Ford has spent $67 billion through the program since its launch in 1978, working with 400-plus diverse and minority suppliers; more than 25 of these companies have been doing business with Ford for more than 20 years.

"Diversity and inclusion are keys to our success at Ford," said Alan Mulally, Ford president and CEO. "For 35 years we have been committed to building a supplier base that reflects our employees, our customers and our shareholders. A broad and diverse supplier base reinforces our commitment to the communities where we live and work."

The SDD program empowers entrepreneurs like John A. James by providing them with the resources to be successful. For instance, Ford sold James 23 used diesel trucks from its private fleet to use for his trucking business in 1972. James, an African-American veteran, is chairman, CEO and founder of an international supply chain logistics company, James Group International. He has worked with Ford since 1972 – a year after he founded his first business.  

"Minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses have made substantial contributions to Ford's profitable growth," said Tony Brown, group vice president, global purchasing. "James Group International is an outstanding example of how our SDD program partners us with the best suppliers in the world, which has helped us produce quality vehicles over the last 35 years for our customers."

By identifying high-potential minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses and giving them the resources to be successful, Ford can tap a fresh perspective that can lead to cutting-edge innovation and help accelerate the development of vehicles.

"Our SDD program is a win-win for everyone involved," said Brown. "We're all working together to foster new business relationships that will contribute to the greater good, leading to new opportunities for expansion and growth."

Some notable examples of technologies that stemmed from Ford's SDD program include:

  • GDC: Owned by Loretta Miller and based in Goshen, Ind., GDC specializes in utilizing green technology (i.e. recycled tires) in plastic and rubber-formed products. GDC helped develop a product incorporating coconut shells and fibers that was used in Ford Super Duty
  • Systrand Manufacturing: Owned by Sharon Cannarsa and based in Brownstown, Mich., Systrand is producing machined parts for the Ford hybrid transmissions that will be used in the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid
  • Piston Automotive: Owned by former pro basketball player Vinnie Johnson and based in Redford, Mich., Piston Automotive supplies the high-voltage battery pack for Focus Electric – Ford's first all-electric passenger car. Piston ships the battery pack to Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. and Saarlouis Assembly Plant in Germany

In 2012 Ford exceeded its sourcing goals by purchasing $5.7 billion in goods and services from minority-owned suppliers, $1.2 billion in goods and services from women-owned suppliers, and $2.1 billion from suppliers who in turn source business from minority- and women-owned companies.

This year Ford has added several minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses to its supplier base, including Cordell Transportation (a Dayton, Ohio-based trucking business), CMAC Transportation (a Brownstown Charter Township, Mich.-based warehouse and transportation company), Go-To Transportation (a Bay City, Mich.-based shipping company) and Integrated Supply Chain Solutions (a Detroit-based print management and transportation business).  

Looking ahead, veterans are a key focus for the SDD program. Ford is committed to spending 3 percent of its U.S. purchasing budget with qualified veteran-owned businesses.

"If anyone understands teamwork and getting the job done, it's our men and women who have served and continue to serve in the armed forces," said Carla Preston, SDD program director. "We believe the success of Ford Motor Company largely depends on enabling people and businesses of all kinds to succeed and share in the One Ford plan of profitable growth for all – particularly our veteran suppliers. We look forward to continuing our successful supplier partnerships that mirror the communities that build and sell our vehicles around the country."

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, (NYSE: F) a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 175,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit

SOURCE Ford Motor Company