Stéphane Talbot, Commodity Manager, Alstom Transport, France
"Why being near clients always pays"
By the end of 2014, Alstom Transport will start production of new trains for the Lille metro system. The engineering challenges of such a project are numerous. Bossard has been involved in planning well before the start of production.
From the start the right screw for greatest productivity
For the Lille metro an engineer from our Bossard office in Valenciennes in northern France was added to the team to prevent changes to the items used as the project progressed. Because if the right screw is selected from the start and no subsequent modifications are necessary, then you can achieve the greatest productivity gain. And you cannot measure this form of productivity – especially when everything is running smoothly. This is a really successful approach aimed at preventing very cost-intensive changes downstream.
As a commodity manager for sourcing, I work with a specific segment, class C, which includes all small components such as screws, spacers, nuts, etc. At our group headquarters in Paris, we develop purchasing strategy, supplier models and framework agreements, and we manage their implementation at the approximately 20 production sites of Alstom Transport (Rolling Stock).
The first characteristic of class C-parts is the enormous number of different items – they make up 30 % of the items for trains but only 7 % of a train’s overall material purchase price. For Alstom this means 30 000 different items (including 10 000 screws). An item usually amounts several hundred euros per year. That’s why we want to use Bossard’s engineering expertise to help us standardize our products and achieve our goal of reducing the number of items from 4 800 to 2 000, ultimately. How is Bossard supporting us with this project? The company is providing us with technical and logistics support. For example, the same shim with a diameter of 12 mm might have four different names, depending on the production site responsible for assigning item names. Bossard identifies the part and assigns it a standard item code. Or take two different screws that have the same function. Bossard cleans the item database by selecting just one of them. Bossard also proposes new fastening solutions which help to improve assembly process.
Global presence to reduce production costs
The second special feature of class C-parts is the service area. The decisive factor in this regard was Bossard’s global presence and the excellent geographic pairing of these locations with Alstom’s. Bossard assigns the order, maintains the inventory and delivers directly to our production facilities – in Europe as well as in Asia, for instance, in Shanghai. The Bossard warehouses are located near our production sites. This is true for Poland and Spain and India. This geographic proximity helps us to significantly reduce our production costs.
Eight years ago when this adventure began, Bossard was working with just one Alstom production site in Belfort, France. Today, Bossard works with nine of Alstom’s production sites.