: 3 min

Supply chain management driving operational excellence

At the crossroads where customer satisfaction meets business performance, supply chain management is key to Safran maintaining its competitive edge. It’s a function that leverages a broad range of skills that are constantly evolving to match the Group’s ambitions.
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The term "supply chain" encompasses all flows of physical goods and information between a company, its suppliers and customers, from the latter's specified requirements to final product delivery. "Managing these flows is crucial, as it directly impacts our operational performance," says Philippe Gaulier, Safran Vice President, Supply Chain. "The challenge is to. That's a tough task, particularly in a complex environment like ours, with more than 3,500 suppliers working for some 200 industrial facilities around the world."

Chain of skills

Supply chain management supports the production process, working with numerous other sectors in pursuit of a triple goal: ensuring customer satisfaction, keeping down inventory and work in process, and reducing supply chain costs. It involves some 4,500 employees Group-wide in 25 countries.

Demand management first captures market needs, then planning specialists come into play, organizing industrial resources at company, plant or workshop level, and setting and monitoring production schedules. Procurement is another major cog in the system, as 80% of the added value of products delivered by Safran comes from external suppliers, while logistics is responsible for the vital stages of shipping, receiving and storage.

Another area that spans several skillsets is support. The role of this function is to manage the flow of information system data, define inventory strategy and define the industrial organization to adapt the supply chain's geographic footprint, not to mention management, which coordinates all the people and processes involved. "Besides the diversity of job profiles," notes Philippe Gaulier, "the word that best describes the mindset of a good supply chain specialist is ‘anticipation'."

Changing job profiles

Supply chain performance must be constantly improved to support Safran's growth, which means that job profiles are constantly evolving. "We need more experienced people with management skills, in order to deliver an ever-more-precise and reliable picture of flows," explains Philippe Gaulier. "Furthermore, because it relies so heavily on data, supply chain management is central to Safran's digital transformation and the Factory of the Future concept, which is driving an increased need for data management skills. Lastly, the Group's growing business means that we need more operational staff."

To find these talents, Safran is counting on hiring. "About 150 management posts are permanently open and double that for operational profiles," says Philippe Gaulier. "Once hired, our employees can advance their career in supply chain management through dedicated training. In that way, they gain experience and stay motivated throughout their career."

 

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