TRAVERSE CITY, MICH. - Ford Motor Co. says it's getting tougher with suppliers, revoking its Q1 designation for specific plants that fall short of Q1 component quality standards. Ultimately, that could mean the loss of any future business with Ford, and if the problems are not corrected, the loss of existing business, said Ed Hagenlocker, president of Ford Automotive Operations.
Ford began revoking Q1 status about a month ago, he said.
We've never done that before,'' Hagenlocker said. ``But we have to get tougher on quality issues because our customers are getting tougher on quality issues. They demand more, and so must we.''
Chief executives of Ford suppliers agree with the move and support Ford's tougher stand on quality, Hagenlocker said Aug. 7 at the University of Michigan Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City.
To date, Ford has revoked Q1 status from 44 supplier facilities. Hagenlocker refused to say how many supplier companies that represents or identify any of the specific quality problems found at the 44 plants.
The Q1 designation is given to a supplier facility, rather than the supplier itself. Those facilities losing Q1 status all were outside suppliers, but the same quality review is under way in Ford's in-house component factories, he said.
Worldwide, Ford has 2,300 Tier 1 suppliers with roughly 10,000 facilities.
Ford's Q1 program, launched about 15 years ago, requires each plant - whether in-house or outside supplier - to achieve stringent quality standards for parts or systems made for the automaker. About 90 percent of Ford's suppliers have been able to achieve the Q1 designation.
The review process of all supplier production facilities will continue for six months to a year, Hagenlocker said. Ford began the review after realizing its Q1 designation was losing credibility, he said. Those suppliers who have facilities that lose their Q1 designation must correct the problems and then requalify for the Q1 designation, he said.