Headquartered in Oslo, Elkem is a global leader in the provision of silicon-based advanced materials across a range of industries – from micro-electronics to aerospace, automotive and telecoms to ceramics. The company employs more than 6,000 people across 28 production sites in Europe, Asia and America.
Mirroring the breadth of its target markets, Elkem’s operations cover the silicon value chain, from quartz to speciality silicones. The company also has leading positions in more focused vertical markets such as speciality ferrosilicon alloys and carbon materials.
The scale and geographic spread have major implications for Elkem’s supply chain, which runs on different systems in different areas of the world. Recognising the potential for heightened risk and missed efficiency gains, the company decided in 2017 to begin the process of moving to a single centralised procurement system.
Elkem’s search for a partner to help with the project rapidly led it to us. We have a long history of helping major Norwegian companies to quality assure and streamline their supply chains. In particular, our Utilities Nordics and Central Europe (UNCE) community has a strong reputation for helping companies of Elkem’s scale operate more efficiently, prequalifying suppliers to reduce risk and ensure compliance with buyers’ needs and EU regulations. In fact, 79% of Elkem’s invited suppliers are already registered in Achilles Utilities NCE community.
Working with us also has the benefit of showing the company’s customers that Elkem is committed to working with the best suppliers, auditing their quality through an ISO-verified process.
The anticipated benefits were far from restricted to Elkem alone. Suppliers would gain too. Not only would the process give them opportunities to demonstrate their continuous improvement to existing buyers in Elkem, it would also give them exposure to other buyers as well, from both within Elkem and from other leading companies in the region.
The initial focus for moving to a centralised system started closest to home, with suppliers from Norway and the UK before moving to address France, South America and eventually the rest of the world.
One such supplier, packaging and pallet-supply company Røyrås Treindustri, is based in the village of Finsland in southern Norway. For General Manager Andreas Lie, the benefits of the change are already obvious:
“It has given us a new viewpoint over our organisation, helping us to become a more ‘serious’ and better organised company, more able to address and manage risk. It also enforces the discipline to keep up with documentation at all times, which is straightforward under the new system.”
Although still in its early stages, the advantages to Elkem are becoming clear. Suppliers are far more visible to the company, making it easier to spot any instances of non-compliance and take a partnership approach to improvement.
“I am very confident that membership is bringing us greater competitive advantage.” Andreas Lie, General Manager, Røyrås Treindustri