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Ford, parts makers head for talks

Expect Ford Motor Co. and its suppliers to engage in some frank discussions about their relationships as the auto maker advances its revitalization plan especially following the recent release of a survey that slams the auto maker for inefficiencies. I think, as with any other survey, you have to take it seriously, says Nick Scheele, Ford president and chief operating officer. We have to re-energize

Expect Ford Motor Co. and its suppliers to engage in some frank discussions about their relationships as the auto maker advances its revitalization plan — especially following the recent release of a survey that slams the auto maker for inefficiencies.

“I think, as with any other survey, you have to take it seriously,” says Nick Scheele, Ford president and chief operating officer. “We have to re-energize ourselves to work co-operatively with our suppliers. My background is purchasing. I am firmly convinced in the need to have very good relations with the suppliers and to be very open and honest with them.”

Good thing, because some suppliers have quite an agenda.

Planning Perspectives Inc. — which sought Scheele's insight during the early 1990s when its researchers were formulating survey questions — collected data from 225 suppliers this year. And for Ford, the results were decidedly unfavorable.

Among other complaints, the auto maker had the poorest record for late engineering changes among North America's six major OEMs.

Suppliers also say Ford simply doesn't have its act together.

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