Editor’s note: Sabine Simeon was the recipient of the 2017 APICS Award of Excellence — Supply Chain Leader, which recognized her extraordinary contributions to advancing the field of supply chain. To see the categories, get more information or enter, visit apics.org/awardsofexcellence.
Q: What led you to a career in supply chain?
I started my career in purchasing in one of Schindler’s manufacturing plants in Europe. At that time, the Schindler Group was undergoing several important changes in their sourcing strategies, moving from a long era of insourcing to a completely new outsourcing model of the plants, which created opportunities and a path for me to the corporate purchasing department. This new position, at a corporate level, equipped me with a broader view of the strategic implications of my role and ultimately led, several years later, to a supply chain role.
Q: What are your primary responsibilities, and how do they enable you to make a difference?
Since its founding in 1874, Schindler has transformed from an engineering company that manufactures elevators and escalators to a company focused on transforming mobility solutions for the cities of today and tomorrow. I am in charge of the supply chain in Europe, encompassing all operations ... As Schindler moves 1 billion people per day, I contribute to the comfort and safety of one-seventh of the world population daily.
Q: How have you elevated the status of supply chain management at your company?
Supply chain management was not well recognized within the organization, so I took the decision to lead by example and showcase how supply chain can positively impact the value chain. Knowing that the elevator business unit was facing several important operational challenges, we needed to build a business case on the supply chain transformation to be presented to the top management in order to explain and justify why building a reliable, cost-efficient supply chain model with a strong focus on discipline and operational performance would benefit the company’s bottom line and competitive advantage.
Q: How did these efforts improve performance?
The results have been outstanding, with a [return on investment] of 3.2, a lead time reduction of 20 percent, and an inventory reduction of 28 percent … The transformation has completely reshaped the organization’s mindset: to think more tactically with a continuous improvement culture and to work systematically in a project-based mode.