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Matchmaking summit nets $10.4 million in new Ford contracts

By: Dustin Walsh
CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS

January 15, 2014

DEARBORN, MICH. — A program to match Ford Motor Co. and its tier-one suppliers with Michigan-based suppliers generated $10.4 million in new contract wins for Michigan companies.

Hundreds of representatives from 317 small suppliers attended a matchmaking event for Ford in March 2013 at Ford's Conference & Event Center in Dearborn. The results were to be announced Wednesday at the North American International Auto Show.

The 2013 Pure Michigan Business Connect Ford Matchmaking Summit, hosted by Ford and the Michigan Economic Development Corp., was the first of event of its kind designed to spark contract talks between Ford and 31 of its direct suppliers with Michigan's lower-tiered supply base.

The invitation-only all-day event created 680 meetings between the groups seeking to fill 372 procurement needs.

The state launched the program to boost Michigan's manufacturing economy.

Ford directly sourced $5.8 million with Michigan-based companies and its tier-one suppliers sourced $4.6 million with local companies.

Carla Traci Preston, director of Ford's supplier diversity development program, said the event allowed Ford to access new suppliers and diversify its suppler base with more minority-, women- and veteran-owned companies.

Preston said Ford's tier-one suppliers saw immediate benefits from the event. Auburn Hills-based Dura Automotive Systems LLC sourced new business soon after the event, she said.

"The matchmaking summit allowed the Dura Automotive team exposure to high-quality Michigan small businesses that we otherwise would not be aware of," Richard Hopkins, vice president of global purchasing for Dura, said in a news release.