Of all the challenges that companies face today, perhaps the most pressing is that of finding the right people to do the job. “In a digitized, globalized world, there’s a scarcity of supply-chain talent,” says Huillet.
Another major concern relates to Schneider Electric’s clients. Traditionally, says Huillet, the supply-chain function has been viewed primarily as a means of reducing costs. Instead, it should be treated as a vehicle for providing value to the customer.
End-to-end visibility is key to the success of any supply chain today, and especially to Schneider Electric. Huillet says the company needs to be able to monitor product and data from the customer all the way back to the supplier.
To make that possible, Schneider Electric is adding critical suppliers and working to integrate its supply chain. “The model is not completely deployed,” says Huillet, “but we have a very good pilot.”
Three years ago, with partner Kinaxis, the company kicked off an effort to integrate its sales and operations planning (S&OP) processes worldwide. It brought together sales, marketing, research and development, logistics and finance – all functions that previously operated in silos with minimal interaction.
Breaking down those silos is the heart of Schneider Electric’s supply-chain transformation effort. It allows forecasts to be shared across disciplines, leading to a consensus throughout the company in the critical area of demand planning.
Schneider Electric has been able to create multiple “what-if” scenarios to manage its assortment of 400,000 SKUs in 100 distribution centers and 250 plants. “It’s a big and complex supply chain,” says Huillet.
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