Albéa Supply Chain Roadmap
Supply Chain: “Local reactivity for global management”
With 32 plants in 14 countries, Albéa aims for agility and production performance. Florent Tronquit, Vice President Supply Chain at Albéa, talks about his roadmap
How did the Albéa group's supply chain adapt to the Covid-19 crisis? Has this situation highlighted strategic issues?
F.T: At Albéa, the supply chain involves the handling of logistics, production and delivery, from the first supplier to the final customer. We manage flow to align production and supply means (offer) with our customers’ needs (demand). The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the importance of each link in this chain and thus raises a crucial question: how do we respond to unpredictable demand? How do we maintain certain orders if suppliers are no longer operational? How do we meet the strong CSR requirements of customers given the increased sensitivity towards production costs and final prices? We work on solutions on a case-by-case basis. As opposed to many of our competitors, we can absorb changes in production and offer a high level of reactivity. We are particularly efficient for high value-added and complex products. Considering a volatile B2C customer base, our responsiveness is an essential competitive advantage.
How do you respond to the specificities of each customer?
F.T: Albéa's culture is to adapt to the client. We adjust our offer according to the company profile – SME or large company, for example – and also to the sales profile of the product: high or low sales volume, with more or less volatile, etc. The Covid-19 crisis has strengthened our tailor-made approach, especially for key customers. It often begins with the establishment of a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that clarifies roles, responsibilities and expected level of service. Then, the customer shares his sales forecasts with us. Ideally, a long-term, trusting relationship should be established to facilitate the sharing of this confidential information. Transparency between the customer and Albéa's teams is essential to optimise production.
We are aiming for a real synchronization of our Supply Chain with the one of our customers: it is already in place with some of them.
Do you have any transformation projects underway to modernise the group's supply chain?
F.T: For several years now, Albéa has been committed to a continuous modernisation of its supply chain by relying on leading-edge technology. Investments include Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) and transport management systems. And of course, training! All of these means should make it possible to considerably reduce production and delivery times.
We talk about the relocation of supply sources following disruptions in international value chains. What do you think about this?
F.T: I believe that for the suppliers, above all, it is a question of guaranteeing the agility (in the event of strong variations in demand) and the resilience (in the event of major unforeseen events) of our organisations, in a context of reducing CO2 emissions (due to commitments to social responsibility), and always with an imperative of competitiveness.
This is not a new subject, but the urgency has increased with the recent crisis.
Thus, regardless of the place of production, I would like to show customers that working with Albéa means having a flexible and solid supplier with “simple” backup solutions that can be implemented if necessary.