AutoRevista.- How does the MQB A0 platform, used to build SEAT models in Martorell and Volkswagen models in Navarra, affect Purchasing management, even at the Volkswagen Group level? During the annual presentation on 23 March, there was talk about the direct involvement of 50 suppliers located in Spain. What does this platform mean to the Iberia Sourcing strategy?
Klaus Ziegler.- The allocation of the MQB platform includes manufacturing the SEAT Ibiza, SEAT Arona and Audi A1 models in Martorell, as well as the VW Polo and the new model which will be built in Volkswagen’s Navarra plant. Making five different vehicles on the same platform has given us the chance to take a step forward in our Iberia Sourcing strategy. With this project, the purchasing volumes will grow in the Iberian Peninsula as well as northern Africa.
AR.- What have been the most remarkable variations in supplier management related to this year’s launches, the fifth generation Ibiza and the Arona?
K.Z.- With the Ibiza and the Arona we have intensified the already close collaboration with our suppliers. Periodic rounds of conversations are held, especially in the start-up phase and specifically with the car as the basis, so that together initiatives for improvement can be implemented quickly and easily. Thanks to this transversal management System, we aim to strengthen our fast and easy collaboration model – SEAT’s Easy model.
”In order to increase our sales in Algeria in the long term, we need a well-developed supplier structure in the country”
AR.- SEAT is going to begin assembling cars in Algeria in the second half of 2017, from what we understand in an SKD capacity. From a logistical cost standpoint, how did Purchasing manage this?
K.Z.- SEAT procuring is completely integrated in the project. Our global Purchasing department is in charge of signing, managing and authorising logistics and handling costs as well as packing.
AR.- In relation with the previous question and according to SEAT’s strategy of projection in the Mediterranean basin, are you contemplating developing suppliers in Algeria and in northern Africa, after SEAT expanded relations with Moroccan industry following a meeting with AMICA in 2016?
K.Z.- Due to its logistic proximity, northern Africa, especially Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, is strategic for the expansion and development of new sources of suppliers. We intend to produce quality “made in Europe” in Algeria. In this context, high-quality components from local suppliers will be a prerequisite for competitiveness. In order to increase our sales in Algeria in the long term, we need a well-developed supplier structure in the country not only in qualitative terms but also in quantitative terms.
“ The collaboration with our colleagues at Škoda has been equally constructive and productive. This is the work method we are going to applyin our new project, the production in Wolfsburg of an SUV”
AR.- Although this is a collaboration within the Group, what were the keys of thejoint work between the Purchasing teams at Audi and SEAT for the Q3 model and how will they develop with the A1?
K.Z.- In addition to the purchasing processes typical of any company, there is a close connection between the Purchasing departments of both companies, enabling tasks between the brands to be distributed in an optimal way. This practice has successfully been followed with the Audi Q3 and we are also going to make optimal use of synergies with the Audi A1.
AR.- Managing suppliers of a model as crucial for the brand as the Ateca, which is made in the Czech Republic, must also have been unique. What balance can be made and how can the experience be transferred to the SEAT SUV that will be builtin Wolfsburg?
K.Z.- The collaboration with our colleagues at Škoda has been equally constructive and productive. The keys to the successful launch of the Ateca include fluid communication and coordination as well as the transparent sense of work demonstrated by all the participants.
“ We received a lot of ideas and contributions from the suppliers who helped us improve the digital collaboration with them”
This is the work method we are going to apply in our new project, the production in Wolfsburg of an SUV that will be positioned one segment above the Ateca.
AR.- Is another Supplier Interaction Day going to be celebrated? How do you assess the relationship with suppliers moving into a digital scenario and in an environment of Industry 4.0?
K.Z.- Yes, there will also be a Supplier Interaction Day in 2017. Our experience in 2016 was very positive. We received a lot of ideas and contributions from the suppliers who helped us improve the digital collaboration with them, and together with the Volkswagen Group, continue developing the digitalization strategy aimed at suppliers and partners.
“Now, it is time to embrace the emerging technological breakthroughs of the fourth industrial revolution”
AR. What new programmes and projects are expected to be taught in SEAT’sPurchasing Academy, in addition to supplier risk management, skills and costs? How is this line of training being designed throughout the company?
K.Z.- Through the “Academia de Compras”, we have been continuously strengthening our core competences, offering “expert talks” and “self-learning modules”. Now, it is time to embrace the emerging technological breakthroughs of the fourth industrial revolution (digitalization, the internet of things, artificial intelligence, etc.). These not only need to be purchased but also affect the way we do business.