Saturday 25th Nov 2017 - Logistics & Supply Chain

The European Supply Chain Excellence Awards 2007, Aerospace, defence & industrial Winner: Trelleborg Sealing Solutions

We arrived with four finalists in what, we must admit, is a bit of a ”mish-mash” of a category, but is essentially the engineering industries and their supply bases. None the less, the assessors believe they have identified a worthy winner.

One entry which interested the judges, but didn’t win, was that of Leighs Paints, from Bolton UK. This centred on their ”supplier charter process”, along with internal changes which have brought purchasing and procurement, supplier and customer collaboration programmes, export liaison, and national and international logistics, together in one organisation.

These are to some extent early days in what has been hitherto a very traditionally organised operation, but the judges were impressed by the way Leighs have recognised supply chain as an important issue, and particularly by the step change in supply chain maturity that has been achieved. True ”excellence” is perhaps a little way off, but making the jump from a very basic operation to one that has clear goals and a plan to achieve them is a big thing – in many ways more impressive than the continuous improvement of a supply chain that is already close to ”best in class”.

Also for consideration in this category were Uzel Makina Sanayi AS, a diverse machinery manufacturing group based in Turkey, and the European Transport Operations of Ford Motor Company. Uzel has over the past 18 months implemented a ”Fit for Future” supply chain initiative across the entire supply chain, based very much around the requirements of customers, and significant results are already evident although, the changes are very recent and the full effects are yet to be seen.

Ford by contrast asked us to consider their ”integrated and sustainable” internal supply chain across the UK and Northern Europe, a transformation of a long-established infrastructure which because of shifting sources and markets, was no longer serving the organisation well. The sheer scale of the operation organisation is difficult to grasp, but the judges were well impressed by the strategic view being taken of the supply chain and how, by collaborating with other, even competing, organisations, a vast legacy of infrastructure can be revitalised to serve 21st century needs.

But the winner in this category, by some margin, was judged to be Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, based in Stuttgart but inviting us to consider their global Supply Chain Management network. The company supplies precision seals for safety-critical applications in industrial, automotive and aerospace markets, and since 2001 has been implementing a supply chain vision that brings together planning, purchasing, logistics, quality and systems management. Having grown largely through acquisition, Trelleborg had a legacy of 25 manufacturing companies and 30 marketing companies worldwide, and a product range of some 110,000 skus, so the judges were impressed by the scale of achievement in creating a unified supply chain concept based on a whole new process model. But this isn’t a ”one size fits all” solution by any means – the company claims to be a market-driven organisation and supply chain management is able to provide tailored solutions – direct line feed, consignment stocking, postponement and kitting and so on – suited to the requirements of individual customers, but based on common supply chain systems and approaches and an end-to-end view of the supply chain.

The relevant metrics, curiously, are still largely manually based, although the current implementation of a JD Edwards system is rectifying that, but one number that cannot be ignored is the 15 per cent return on sales (competitors, according to Trelleborg, are achieving 4-5 per cent) and the company firmly believes that this performance is in large part attributable to supply chain excellence. For Trelleborg, Anne Schlutz says ”Today, SCM transcends all borders of companies and partners and crosses all sectors of management. It is this team effort that brings the crucial advantage in terms of competitive ability. Only by looking at procedures over the company as a whole can we reach the efficiencies we aere aiming for.

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