The bigger picture - Supply Management

The bigger picture

10 April 2012
Trelleborg Sealing Solutions is a leading global supplier of precision seals for the industrial, aerospace and automotive markets and a business area of Trelleborg Group. It has 5,100 employees, seven research and development centres in Europe and the US and a worldwide supply chain management network. In 2010, the purchasing operation at Trelleborg Sealing Solutions began to transform. The organisation was fragmented in the way it purchased goods and services, procurement was seen as a purely operational function and the firm knew it needed a more strategic approach. Our business is made up of 17 manufacturing facilities globally. By consulting with facility management and purchasing teams, procurement set about putting in place common processes and tools. In this way, it was able to deliver a more consistent approach with suppliers without forgetting facility-specific requirements. A central strategy team was introduced to co-ordinate the purchase of specific categories. By generating category strategy at a group level, we now present a joined-up approach with our critical suppliers. We now work collaboratively with these suppliers, where in the past our relationship was more arms-length. The change in approach has led to a much-improved service to internal customers from procurement. There 
is improved supplier performance, better control of spend and a more consistent approach. Suppliers find 
it easier to work with us with a nominated single 
contact point. We now benefit from the view that group purchasing brings. It helps us to think about the bigger picture and the opportunity for group deals. It gets us away from the individual plants preference to deal locally. Having a central strategic function has brought the following benefits to the manufacturing facilities: improved performance from our suppliers; access to the leverage of the entire group when dealing with issues; the sharing of best purchasing practice; and the identification of suppliers that may help other facilities. Tips for procurement 1. Procurement needs to get out there and sell itself by showing others what it could help them achieve. I chased procurement myself and I push them constantly with challenges to achieve for me. The problem is a lot of people don’t know what procurement can do – people think they just set another group of measures they have to comply with. 2. Facility managers have a number of targets that need to be achieved. By utilising group procurement to facilitate the negotiation, it has undoubtedly saved my facility money and, of equal importance, helped improve the level of service we receive. For example, there’s a company I deal with – I used to speak to the controller who received the order, now I have the group managing director coming to see me. 3. I know that if I have 
100 per cent delivery from my supply chain it enables my facility to improve my delivery to the end customer. If we achieve this, I am confident that we will win business and grow our market share. ☛ Heath Davies is plant manager for Trelleborg’s 
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