”Our success is down to a backbone of a supply chain from demand creation onwards,” says Dr Kurt Gruber, corporate vp, operations, corporate supply chain at Infineon.
”We also have a worldwide organisation that meets customers at every point – not just physically in terms of distribution centres in the US, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Japan but also in terms of having people from all cultures concerned,” adds Armin Sarstedt, vp supply chain management for the communications solutions business group. ”We can work in 17 languages. We have implemented interfaces with our global planning and customer logistics organisations which allow us to manage product availability and customer demand. We have good processes in the background, but execution is key.”
”Our processes are well implemented and executed and supported by good KPIs which are monitored and form a firm basis for continuing improvement,” says Michael Voll senior director, global supply chain excellence.
The judges were impressed by how far Infineon has moved forward in the 12 months since it narrowly missed out in the 2006 Awards. So how is it planning to move forward again?
”We are striving to sustain and improve our leading position,” says Robert Leindl, vp, supply chain management for the automotive, industrial and multimarket business group. ”We are starting to look at customers” KPIs to discover their needs. If we can understand these, we can tailor supporting models and develop the next generation of supply chain solutions.”
”And we are benchmarking our activities with our customers and suppliers,” adds Gruber. ”We have to manage different kinds of stock levels, resources and facilities, while improving reliability. It”s a system of diverging optimisations but the key point is that we have to speed up. We want to halve our time to customer and are creating a programme to cut planning complexity.”
”These are lessons we have learnt in quality and production”, says Leindl. ”They have boosted our proportion of error-free deliveries and we are creating a “zero defects” mindset in our supply chain community. Short term, we need that for our customers in areas such as automotive but we”ll soon need it for everyone. The goal is that supply chain becomes our unique selling point.”
”There are also priorities in the purchasing arena,” says Schweizer. ”Collaboration with suppliers is a key not just for cost-cutting but also for getting the right products. And we want to cut the manual effort involved in transacting with us so we can shift resources to value-based buyer-managed activities.”
”One paradox,” says Gruber, ”is that although Infineon has created an external partner organisation, there is always pressure on us to look for dual or multiple sourcing.”
”We want to be in a strong position in negotiations but are also being challenged by customers to ensure secure supply and business continuity,” explains Leindl. ”We want earlier involvement by the purchasing function to give us the chance to create dual sourcing.”
”But above all, Infineon”s success is people-driven.” says Voll.
Gruber concludes “Supply chain is more and more the lever of success, and the business has accepted, slowly but surely, that supply chain is an integral part of every business unit”.
Started his career as field application engineer in distribution before he joined Siemens as a product marketing engineer. Six years ago, he took over the supply chain for the business group automotive, industrial and multimarket
Dr Kurt Gruber
Headed strategic production management for Infineon”s front-end sites and after heading supply chain for the communications solutions business group for three years, became responsible for Infineon”s corporate supply chain
Held several positions in Infineon”s logistics activities including leading global supply chain projects before taking responsibility for leading global supply chain excellence in 2006
Took over the responsibility for the logistics of Infineon”s front-end cluster two years ago and took the lead for the supply chain of the communication solutions business group in July 2007
H.-M. Schweizer has been working for Siemens AG / Infineon Technologies AG since 1987. After heading different functions in Logistics since 1999 he was in charge of Corporate Logistics at Infineon Technologies AG. In May 2006 Mr. Schweizer took over the responsibility for Corporate Purchasing at Infineon.