Purchasing during COVID-19 – Lessons learnt from the pandemic
React fast and safe
Right from the beginning of the crisis and throughout the lockdown, the purchasing team has been working to prepare a safe restart of the activities. While tackling the challenges in sourcing and exporting personal protective equipment (PPE), the team has gone above and beyond to supply all Faurecia’s plants worldwide with the necessary equipment immediately to ensure adherence to our strict protocol to protect our employees.
Mid-way through the lockdown, a web conference was organized and gathered more than 1000 Faurecia suppliers online. Our purpose was to openly share Faurecia priorities during the crisis and our actions to jointly ensure the continuity of the supply chain. The positive feedback we received following the event demonstrates that, in such an unpredictable environment, a precise and transparent communication is critical to successfully align suppliers’ objectives and plans with Faurecia ones.
However, engaging suppliers in such a way is not something that comes in one click. In our case it was greatly facilitated by our ongoing supplier development program and the highly appreciated Supplier Day we organized last October.
In parallel, we’ve also been working with all our suppliers to assess the resilience across the supply chain, identifying risks, including financial ones, before we resume production. The success of our restart rests on transparency and trust between Faurecia and its suppliers – the importance of our partnerships has never been clearer. Thus, we’ve been collaborating intensely, sharing our internal production restart checklists- sanitary guidelines for instance - and have developed a strong sense of solidarity in this common experience.
Turn crisis in opportunity to speed up CO2 neutrality and CSR
If anything, the crisis we are facing will strengthen our purchasing strategy and help accelerate its deployment especially for risk management, innovation and CSR. While sustainability was already key to Faurecia’s purchasing strategy, our CO2 Neutral and CSR objectives are more pertinent than ever before. The experience and impact of the COVID-19 crisis will push us quicker towards achieving these objectives. A significant part of our CO2 neutrality objective rests on purchasing, with two key challenges in the initial phase of the project: procuring decarbonized energy and steel, which has a significant CO2 footprint. Along with our suppliers, ratings groups such as Ecovadis are crucial to our sustainability goals, giving us a holistic view across our supply chain.
It’s too soon to tell which aspects of our adapted work practices will be carried over post-crisis but given the uncertainties we will face in the months after the lockdown, we are not at the end of the learning curve. More than ever innovation and creativity to develop collaborative relationships with our suppliers, jointly test new ideas, working with symbiotic objectives and strategies and reinforce confidence and trust we can place in each other will be key success factors in the restart and recovery.