Ask Patricia (Pam) Mattimore how she gauges the success of her company's procurement and sourcing initiatives and she may quickly move from a discussion on traditional metrics to a more heartfelt one. "I know we are adding significant value when we are being asked to add more strategic supply management personnel," says Mattimore, the vice president of energy and materials for Allentown, Pa.-based Air Products. "We've made great strides in our acceptance across the company. Our organization is being pulled, not pushed."
With annual revenues of $10bn, Air Products employs 22,000 people in more than 40 countries supplying industrial, medical and specialty gases to customers around the world. Its electronics and performance materials business provides specialty and bulk gases to the semiconductor industry, as well as the coatings, inks, adhesives, mining, oil filed, and polyurethane industries.
Mattimore, a 26-year veteran with Air Products, has been in her present role for three years. The group she heads up, the Energy and Materials organization, is 400 strong and is responsible for sourcing all raw materials, energy, corporate services, operating and maintenance parts for the company. It also sources the equipment, materials and services for the construction of its many onsite plants around the world. "We look at our business model as a triangle, with operations, supply management and the business itself occupying the three sides," says Mattimore. "At our company, supply management is considered an influencer, working with engineering and the supply chain to lower costs and increased operating efficiencies. We are viewed very positively and are heavy on talent."
And the increased acceptance of that group as a strategic function that Mattimore refers to at Air Products has produced some impressive results in the past couple of years. Air Products' costs have improved by 20 percent since 2005, a period during which the company has divested a number of businesses, says Mattimore. "Today, our buying and sourcing teams are annually producing cost improvements which exceed five times their fully loaded salaries."
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