In this Supply Chain Matters posting, Ferrari Consulting and Research Group Managing Director Bob Ferrari pens highlights of Schneider Electric’s Innovation Summit conference and highlights of a conversation with the company’s Chief Supply Chain Officer.
Schneider Electric is a 180-year-old company with a legacy of innovation. Over the past two decades this company’s focus has been in the areas of electrical distribution, control systems, building automation and security. Since 2010, this company has transformed into product support strategies in areas of software, critical power and smart electrical grid applications.
Schneider describes itself as the: “Most local of global companies; our unmatched proximity to you, enables us to better understand, anticipate and adapt with agility to support your business continuity with high ethical standards in everything we do.”
Last week, the company conducted its 2022 Innovation Summit meeting for North America, bringing together customers, partners, suppliers and others.
Board Chair and CEO Jean-Pascal Tricoire anchored the conference keynote session emphasizing that this is a critical moment for global sustainability efforts and decarbonization of electricity generation. Schneider continues to support a compelling agenda for companies, namely helping to enable and achieve critical sustainability and digital transformation needs. Tricoire indicated that the demand for the company’s various products is increasing at a faster pace which has impacts for the company’s regional based supply and service partner networks. He spoke to the need to establish deeper relationships with suppliers to support the next decade of accelerated demand. The company thus remains in an enviable position
The remarks further provided a visible passion for the needs of societies and companies to achieve sustainability as a basis of generational continuity. In that light, this products and software services provider has recently been recognized as the most sustainable company in the world. The North America region continues to represent the company’s largest market, and a lot of product and process innovation continues to be invested in this region.
This supply chain technology industry analyst had the distinct opportunity to speak directly with Mourad Tamoud, Schneider Electric’s Chief Supply Chain Officer (CSCO) in a far-reaching conversation. He is a 25-year veteran at the company and his experiences include leadership roles across global regions including Asia and China.
This company’s global supply chain process, people and technology capabilities have long been recognized in vision, industry leadership and execution, having achieved a number two ranking in this year’s Gartner Top 25 Supply Chains listing. Supply chain strategies include early adoption of a global supply network regionalization framework focusing on four key market demand regions (Europe, China, North America and Rest of the World) coupled with a supply chain segmentation approach that is aligned with product and supply network characteristics.
Tamound indicated in our interview that in conjunction with this week’s conference, a contingent of 150 North America suppliers were invited to meet directly with the company’s CEO as well as himself.
He called attention to the feedback he received on how supplier’s valued the opportunity to experience first-hand, the passion of Schneider towards integrating sustainability efforts in all parts of the company including suppliers, and for the opportunity to meet with both its CEO and CSCO was well received and valued.
Among the announcements made at the conference was a $46 million added investment to modernize manufacturing facilities in both Lexington, Kentucky and Lincoln, Nebraska. This added investment augments the more than $100 million that Schneider earmarked last year to accelerate the reshoring and nearshoring of the company’s regional based supply ecosystem and manufacturing capabilities.
Tamoud noted that the North America investment provided the opportunity to rethink and reexamine the region’s supply network and demand fulfillment strategies. Supply chain teams championed an overall ecosystem approach and a belief in smart manufacturing, leveraging Schneider’s own technologies. He made special mention of two recognized model facilities for smart manufacturing capabilities, one being the 65-year-old Lexington, Kentucky manufacturing facility along with the facility in Monterrey, Mexico. Others will follow.
Sustainability efforts are further at the heart of current supply chain strategy. The termed STRIVE program umbrellas plans to have 70 net-zero carbon plants and distribution centers operating by 2025 and progressively pursue further energy and carbon efficiencies across all of its ~300 manufacturing and warehousing facilities. In 2021, ongoing efforts in this area were recognized in being named the Best Global Sustainable Supply Chain organization at the Global Sustainable Supply Chain Summit held last year.
Tamound also pointed to an ongoing investment in an Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Center of Excellence as part of an initiative for: “massively deploying an algorithmic focused supply chain decision support capability.” A centralized data hub architecture has been established in order to tap various global, regional and physical data and information sources and to form the basis of analytical driven decision-making and insights.
Given the current kaleidoscope of challenges, events and uncertainties that continue surrounding global supply chains, I sought to seek Tamoud’s perspectives on the top three priorities that supply chain leaders should be focusing their leadership efforts on. They were expressed as:
Sustainability, because that is the future of business continuity
Digital Transformation, because if fuels needed transparency
Resilience in the notion of redundancies, business continuity and multi-tier supply network visibility to identify any single points of component vulnerability and risk.
He additionally reiterated that nothing happens in supply chain without investing in nurturing and supporting great people at all levels. Amen to that.
Our Supply Chain Matters readers should anticipate added accomplishments and recognition of this company’s global and regional supply chain teams and ecosystem partners in the coming months and years. It is an organization that merits continued recognition as a top performing supply chain ecosystem.
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