Sasol is an international integrated energy and chemicals company, employing more than 32,400 people in 37 countries. Sasol Exploration and Production International (SEPI) develops and manages the group’s upstream interests in oil and gas exploration and production in Mozambique, South Africa, Canada, Gabon and Australia.
Norman McLennan is both Vice President of Supply Chain Global Upstream Oil and Gas at Sasol Petroleum International and also Chair of the Achilles FPAL Steering Committee, which aims to drive industry best practice.
Sasol faces particular challenges developing what it terms ‘embryonic supply chains’: in other words, supply chains in remote parts of the world where suppliers aren’t aware of certain industry best practices.
“Mozambique, for example, is an area where we need to encourage development of local suppliers so that they understand how to perform and do business with big operators,” explains Norman McLennan, Vice President of Supply Chain at Sasol Exploration and Production International.
Becoming an Achilles FPAL buyer seemed an obvious answer to Sasol’s challenge. “Achilles FPAL offers a mature supply chain capability database,” says Norman, “and can help us raise awareness and understanding so that suppliers can develop their capabilities.”
It’s still early days for Sasol as it works to implement Achilles FPAL, but Norman is already well versed in the benefits and possibilities that the community offers.
“Achilles FPAL is an exemplar of collaborative working practice in action. The platform is mature, dynamic and is driving inefficiency and waste out of the supply chain process.” Norman McLennan, Vice President of Supply Chain, Sasol Exploration and Production International
Norman has been involved with Achilles FPAL since it was founded, and before that worked as part of the Supply Chain Directorate for upstream oil and gas in the UK. “Achilles FPAL was developed by and for the industry,” explains Norman. “The community now represents around 80 percent of spend across the upstream oil and gas sector and is pretty influential as a result.”
Norman was particularly instrumental in developing and implementing the Supply Chain Code of Practice and the tiered mechanism for measuring compliance with that code. “Achilles FPAL as a supply chain database sits at the heart of the code of practice,” explains Norman, “as it covers the three key areas of planning, contracting, and performance and payment.”
The Performance Feedback tool measures both supplier and contractor performance. This helps suppliers to distinguish who are the more attractive clients to work for in terms of behaviour, while also allowing them to market their own capabilities to those buyers.
Sasol is excited about implementing and embedding Achilles FPAL into its supply chain management and the potential benefits are truly significant for the business:
Really good reassurance. Sasol participates in the Achilles FPAL supplier Verify audit scheme, which focuses on assessing quality, health and safety and environment policies. “The audits ensure a supplier’s policies aren’t just good, but actually work in practice and are being implemented across the workforce in a way that’s meaningful and effective,” says Norman. “It reassures us as a buyer that they’re embedding and embracing what they say they are.”
Great value for money. “What you pay as a buyer is substantially less than if you were to develop a bespoke system from scratch,” says Norman, “the difference would be at least ten-fold.”
Dynamic IT. The Achilles FPAL platform is delivered as SaaS; this means all the information and tools are available anytime, anywhere as long as there is an internet connection. “It’s cutting edge,” says Norman, “and the automatic red flag notifications for out-of-date supplier information or expired qualifications is really useful.”
Enabling effective feedback. “The templates Achilles FPAL has developed around Performance Feedback aid discussions between contractors and suppliers and ensure that definitions of different levels of performance are built around things that are meaningful and relevant to the industry,” says Norman.