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It pays to be nice to suppliers


June 18, 2009
by PLANT STAFF

Toyota is no longer first with automotive suppliers. Results of an annual OEM supplier relations study puts Japanese rival Honda in the top spot, occupied by Toyota since 2002, and Ford leading US OEMs with the highest rating ever achieved. But the study results offered some evidence that it pays to be nice to suppliers.

The North American OEM-Tier 1 Supplier Working Relations Study conducted by Planning Perspectives Inc. (PPI), a Birmingham, Mich. automotive research firm, tracks supplier relations of the top three US and Japanese automakers.

Click the image to enlarge.

Click the image to enlarge.

This year’s results show both Honda and Toyota slipping in the rankings, but for years Toyota, which had the best supplier working relations of any company in any industry, has dropped steadily since 2007.

“Suppliers suggest a potential reason for this drop is a younger, less experienced staff in Toyota’s purchasing group for whom the ‘Toyota Way’ is not yet the way of doing things, ” says John Henke, PPI’s president and CEO.

Meanwhile Ford, which two years ago had the worst supplier relations, now has the highest rating ever achieved by a US automaker and is closing in on third-place Nissan. General Motors shows some improvement after a slight downturn last year, but remains well behind Ford. As it was last year, Chrysler was last overall, a dramatic decline since it was the top rated US automaker in 2006.