The Supply Chain option was shared with me as an undergrad at Western Michigan University (WMU) in the late 1980’s. At the time the USA was undergoing some challenges in the industrial sector as the Japanese automotive companies were making inroads with the JIT concepts. I joined the WMU APICS student chapter in 1990 and began to get more and more engaged in the profession as we networked with Supply Chain professionals in the area. The professionals that I was able to network with coupled with the visits to manufacturing and distribution sites provided a great level of insight into the supply chain related professions. My first Monday after graduation from WMU, I started at Nippondenso and never looked back at making the right career decision.
In my current role as Global Vice-President of Materials Management, Freight, and Logistics; I lead a group of 400+ Supply Chain professionals across 5 continents that support 54 manufacturing locations. Our team has a rolling 5 year strategy that supports our Global Supply Chain Strategy that in turn supports our corporate strategy.
Our key focus areas include: Quality of service to our customers both externally and internally, Supplier on time shipping, carrier on time delivery, cost optimization, inventory optimization, S&OP management, risk identification and mitigation, packaging, capacity management both internally & externally, innovation realization, process optimization, standardization, and enabling a competitive advantage in the global markets that AGCO competes in.
As a key leader within Supply Chain at AGCO, part of my role is also to drive strong cross functional relationships internally as well as externally with suppliers. I have a strong focus on creating an environment that our team members like to work within, this serves as a great basis for team member retention and recruitment from outside AGCO.
The challenges that we face on a daily basis are typically in three areas.
4. With regards to your session, what has been the biggest challenge in integrating digital innovations into the AGCO supply chain?
The initial support for our Global Materials Management Transformation (GMMT) initiative was challenged back in 2013. After the initial savings and benefits were realized in 2015, the largest challenge has been to be able to implement the digital programs at a rate that the sites are asking for. This is the opposite challenge from what most companies that we speak with have and actually a good problem to have from my perspective. We have had a few cases where we probably took on too many site implementations at one time, yet we achieved what we targeted to achieve. As my leadership team talks at a minimum every two weeks, they all know what is happening and where it is happening. This enables resources across the regions to be shared before an issue effects an implementations performance.
AGCO started our Supply Chain digitalization journey in 2013 with the objective of disrupting the traditional way of managing a global Supply Chain. The strategy was based on a commitment to achieve Quality and Supply Chain Excellence through investing in innovation across a global network in support of our AGCO Production System (APS). Initiatives were kicked off in Quality, Manufacturing, Manufacturing Engineering, Purchasing, Logistics and Materials Management.
AGCO started to win awards and recognition based on the results of our innovative initiatives starting in 2015 with our winning the Excellence in eSolutions and Electronic Procurement from the German Association of Materials Management, Purchasing and Logistics e.V. (BME).
In 2016 AGCO won the Secure Supply Chain award from German BME for our approach to Risk Management; the prestigious German Logistics Association (BVL International) award for Supply Chain Management for our AGCO SMART Logistics initiative; the winner of the “Internet of Things in Manufacturing Leadership” award by Frost & Sullivan’s Manufacturing Leadership Council. The Manufacturing Leadership Awards honor’s organizations that are shaping the future of global manufacturing in North America; and our Jackson, Minnesota site was the winner of the Manufacturing Leadership Awards’ for Manufacturing 4.0 for our Google Glass project
In 2017 AGCO won the “European Gold Medal in Logistics and Supply Chain” from the European Logistics Association (ELA). AGCO’s Smart Logistics initiative was recognized for digitalization and end-to-end integration of partners within AGCO’s international inbound supply chain; our Jackson, Minnesota plant was the recipient of Assembly Plant of the Year award by “Assembly Magazine” for using cutting-edge technology that allows for greater efficiency and speed in making more complex products while boosting quality and driving continuous improvement efforts.
The most significant moment was in 2017 when we were awarded the ELA award Gold Medal for our Smart Logistics initiative as we were competing against automotive industry type companies. This was the “Ah Ha” moment for our team as we had not only delivered the expected cost reduction, performance optimization, and integration; we had done so with a leading edge approach that was recognized on a network wide level while providing a competitive advantage in the market place.
Over the next few years we envision an increasing level of challenges across North America resulting from increasing levels of industrial growth the lack of skilled human labor in the hourly and salaried segments. This challenge will continue to increase as GDP continues to grow in the USA. As a result of this, I expect to see an increasing level of organizations investing in digital innovation in order to increase capacity and resource efficiency. These investments will enable organizations to effectively drive increased levels of operational optimization, increased levels of agility, increased connectivity, and an offset to the lack of human talent.