2020 has been an eventful year so far. The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has been sweeping across the whole world and has had a devastating impact in every aspect of our society. China was the first country to be confronted with the virus. The SCM China team, who have been doing their best to protect the supply chain and all Siemens employees, now share with us what they have been through since the crisis started.
Imagine it’s the holidays. You are at home, celebrating the coming Chinese New Year’s Eve with your family. Everybody is having a good time. Suddenly you get an e-mail from work, from the Emergency Response Team (ERT), telling you that the outbreak of the new Coronavirus is getting worse. Much worse. And they need your help!
This is exactly what happened to Viya Huang one day before Chinese New Years Eve:
I got an SOS e-mail from the ERT and they asked for an emergency supply of masks for our Wuhan colleagues, who were in the disease epicenter in China. I suddenly felt like the warrior who needs to fight for my colleagues.”-Viya Huang, Commodity manager for Siemens SCM China
Viya Huang starts checking with all her preferred suppliers. Finally, six hours later, she’s done – and thousands of masks and other items of personal protective equipment are scraped together. But now she has to face another challenge: how to transport the material to Wuhan.
“I got a call from Viya asking for transportation support,” explains William Zhang, category manager for Logistics, China. “It was tough. Ground transportation had been severely affected as Wuhan imposed a strict lockdown one day before New Year’s Eve. We started coordinating with our forwarders, and finally, after a whole day of coordination, we identified one with available resources. Our colleagues in Wuhan got the masks and other supplies of protective suits in just two days.”
However, this was just the beginning of the battle.
As the coronavirus continued to spread, the ERT decided to provide masks to all Siemens China employees. Given the surging demand and depleted masks inventory in China, Viya turned to Michael Haendel, head of SCM CN & AA, for urgent help. A task force was quickly established with a clear sourcing strategy: The Services & Goods team went all-in to facilitate the sourcing and order management, while the Logistic teams in China and Germany joined forces to transport the masks as fast as possible. To overcome traffic restrictions and the time gap, a lot of colleagues worked into the night to ensure everything was operational.
It was essential to act fast, have transparency of the situation and be close to our suppliers and internal customers. With the support of our global SCM network, we secured masks for our colleagues from countries where they were still available at the time. Together with BizCos and other functions like SRE, EHS and the ERT, we were able to mitigate risks for our business and promptly distribute enough masks to protect our colleagues.” –Michael Haendel, Head of SCM China & AA
Now, the SCM China team is working on reverse sourcing from China and is not only delivering masks, but also sharing experience with more than 36 countries worldwide to protect the safety and health of our Siemens colleagues.
“Michael Haendel and his team really did a great job stabilizing the whole logistical process. It was a challenge and much more complex than it looked from the outside. Now, mask demand and mask supply are nearly balanced.” – Klaus Staubitzer, CPO and Head of Siemens Operations SCM (during the DigiSofa – SCM PURE )
Safeguarding the Supply Chain
Transparency of the supply chain is always one of the key levers when it comes to fighting a big disruption like COVID-19. That’s why SCM CN immediately installed a task force including Category Heads, Functional Excellence, Local Buying and BizCos’ SCM Heads to create transparency over the situation and to identify the risks that needed to be mitigated.
To provide close collaboration with the BizCos and to understand the priorities of the different OCs, multiple communication channels were established at the start of the crisis:
“We immediately shared all available information to the local and global community via update meetings twice a week and via Yammer groups and WeChat,” explains Michael Haendel. Thus, transparency about the supplier risk level and all the measures in place was ensured for all global business partners.
The Direct Pooling team set a great example: at the earliest stage of the COVID-19 outbreak, they started pushing their top critical suppliers to start countermeasures such as preparing protective gear, ordering raw material and making logistical arrangements. Working together with the Purchasing Council team, they were able to secure a supply from global vendors. At the same time, they were also actively working with different OCs to push for the preparation of a 2nd supplier source and a potential order reschedule. Thanks to all these efforts, not a single production line at any Siemens locations in China stopped.
Making sure all the orders could be successfully delivered by the suppliers was especially important for IT hardware purchasing, as all employees were working from home. But through successful coordination, the SCM IT team ensured that not only the required hardware but also the whole IT infrastructure for the GP carve-out and employee home-office were provided in time.
Travel disruption was another topic the employees had to face amid the crisis. In order to keep employees updated about the latest government policies and airline status, the SCM Travel team used all their available communication channels to provide information, tips and assistance with services and support. This ensured that travelers were always able to make necessary adjustments to their business trip.
Joint efforts make us stronger
One thing we have probably all learned during this ongoing crisis is that working together, and supporting each other, is what matters most. That also applies here at Siemens. For Michael Haendel, who is leading the whole coronavirus response, the most important thing so far has been the internal collaboration with other cross functions like SRE, EHS, Government Affairs and of course the ERT headed by the Executive Management Team.
In the meantime, all activities in China are returning gradually to a normal status.
Author: Veronika Hitzler
One of the many focal points coming out of COVID-19 has been the increasing important role being played by a resilient supply chain. However, as China was the first country to confront with the virus , managing an effective and robust supply chain amid the pandemic is extremely challenging, given the scale of the crisis, the timing of it emerges and the rate at which it is evolving. For the first time, our Siemens China SCM team would like to share with you what kinds of hardest challenges we encountered and how we mastered them. Check it out. @Melisia Beinder #Covid19 CoronaVirus NewNormal