The Kellogg Company, a consumer goods icon with brands such as Kellogg cereals, Cheez-Itc rackers, Keebler cookies and Eggo waffles, earlier this week announced a billion dollar cost cutting plan that would extend over the next four years.
This effort is reported by business media to be motivated by increased competition in the breakfast and snack food industry segments along with softer demand from economically distressed consumers. Business media reports that these cutbacks would result in the estimated loss of 2000 jobs, however, with the four year window, Kellogg management aims to achieve headcount reductions through normal attrition. From our Supply Chain Matters lens, the new Project K efficiency program looks more like an effort to drive global supply chain wide efficiencies and create more integrated supply chain business processes and services across global product lines.
In its most recent fiscal third-quarter financial results, Kellogg reported essentially flat revenues and decreased operating profits. While global net sales are increasing, North America based sales declined by 1.3 percent. The company has been forecasting sales growth of between 4-5 percent for the current fiscal year.
According to a report published in the Wall Street Journal, the new Project K initiative involves a complete re-tooling of the company’s supply chains that includes spending $1.4 billion by the end of 2017 to relocate production lines and globally integrate business process services. Kellogg is targeting upwards of $475 million in annual cost savings as of 2018, as an outcome from this latest announced initiative.
Supply Chain Matters calls reader attention to our June 2012 commentary regarding the acquisition by Kellogg of the Pringles snacks business from Procter and Gamble. In 2012, Kellogg was handed a fortunate opportunity to acquire the Pringles business after the deal to sell that line to Diamond Foods was undone because of certain revelations. Kellogg quickly agreed to a $2.7 billion all-cash deal to acquire a global, well-run brand and become a top player in the global savory snacks industry segment. However, Kellogg had to bring on a high debt load in order to pull off the financing of this deal, reported to be upwards of $2 billion. In the latest fiscal quarter that ended in September, the Kellogg balance sheet reported $6.3 billion in long-term debt.
At the time of our 2012 commentary, the combined synergies of the existing Kellogg and Pringles snack businesses were reported to be $10 million in 2012 and a range of $50-$75 million after 2013. In 2012, Kellogg has been in the process of re-implementing SAP within its U.S. operations, and the addition of the Pringles business presented an added opportunity to integrate within the SAP environment. P&G itself has committed ongoing service arrangements to transition Pringles and was a very sophisticated user of SAP applications. We speculated that Kellogg teams would gain valuable learning and insights particularly regarding deployment and use of SAP advanced supply chain related applications.
Prior to 2012, Kellogg had some previous supply chain related quality setbacks related to past product recalls involving its Eggo product line prompting its CEO to declare that the company had to restore investor confidence in Kellogg supply chain capabilities. The Pringles integration again offered opportunities to revisit needs in this area.
Of late, CPG companies continue to feel the Wall Street based reverberations of the previously announced $23 billion acquisition of HJ Heinz by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital. Heinz, a stalwart of global brand identity was acquired to harvest the cost savings synergies of its global operations, and that tremor seems to haunt existing CPG manufacturers since activist investors continue to want to play-out the next cash generating opportunity. We have opined that In the light of challenging revenue headwinds, company senior executives have launched aggressive stock buy-back programs with available cash to ward off hostile takeovers. Alternatively, Wall Street analysts conclude that previous efforts at cost cutting and headcount reductions have run their course and the new path to growth lies in more industry consolidation and financial engineering. Thus another era of mega acquisition activity seems at the ready, and the psychology of CPG senior executives’ shifts. These pressures naturally flow to supply chain leaders who must deliver more cost savings to fund other business investment needs. Some supply chain analysts chastise supply chain teams for not delivering industry leading metrics of performance. We believe that the realities of current or future business outcomes have more to do with performance goal setting.
The new Project K multi-year cost saving effort presents opportunities to rationalize global production capacity, consolidate category product management to a regional focus and provide common supply chain related business processes across multiple regions. It is probably another response to ward-off mega acquisition industry pressures. This effort probably should have pre-ceded efforts to adopt a standardized systems platform. None the less, Kellogg is now a global CPG branded company and must demonstrate market and supply chain response capabilities that exhibit responsiveness to changing consumer needs across global markets.
The Kellogg corporate mission statement includes the following: “We are a company of promise and possibilities.”
From this author’s perspective, the success of Project K needs to be firmly grounded in the above principle.
In August of 2011, consumer product goods producer Kraft Foods made a surprising announcement that included significant global supply chain implications. The company announced that it would split into two independent public companies, one to be focused on a global snacks business with the other being the company’s core North American grocery business. The snacks business unit, which was subsequently named Mondelez International has responsibility for $32 billion in global revenues while Kraft Foods Group is responsible for more than half that amount, namely $18 billion in revenues. The former Kraft North American grocery business umbrellas 9 major brands including names such Kraft Cheese, Cracker Barrel, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Maxwell House coffee, and Oscar Mayer hot dogs and meats. Supply Chain Matters posted a recent commentary regarding supply chain challenges at Mondelez, and in this posting, we reflect on Kraft Food Group.
In January of 2012, Supply Chain Matters posted a commentary concerning the implications of the corporate split on each company’s supply chain and supporting systems. An important indication of the critical contribution of supply chain management led to the decision to have leadership for both of the split integrated supply chain organizations to have direct reporting relationship to respective company CEO’s. At the time, the Chief Supply Chain Officer of the former singular Kraft was recruited to lead the integrated supply chain of Mondelez, and leadership for Kraft Food was initially classified as open.
As is often the case with large mergers or acquisitions, our commentary wondered aloud what the impact of having to split out shared business processes and systems would be for both companies. We also pointed to specific differences in business strategy and outcomes that each of the supply chain organizations had to overcome.
Last week, while attending the S&OP Innovation Summit held in Boston, we were able to peek into the new chapter for the Kraft Food integrated supply chain team and to state the least, we were tremendously impressed. Specifically, we witnessed Robert (Bob) Gorski, Executive Vice President of Integrated Supply Chain for Kraft Foods articulate the supply chain transformation that is underway. Gorski landed at Kraft in March of this year after initially retiring from a 32 year supply chain related career at Procter& Gamble. As Gorski describes, that retirement lasted a mere 3 weeks. He apparently wasted no time in concluding that in spite of internal beliefs, a holistic transformation was needed across the Kraft North America supply chain.
Processes needed to be simplified, streamlined and integrated. Gorski and his current leadership team have outlined a transformation which is termed “Symphony”, one sheet of music for all. The powerful analogy used was a marathon, not a sprint, in the ways work gets done and how businesses are run. Gorski leans heavily on Vice President, Process Transformation, Rajan Nagarajan who came to Kraft with a track record in driving process change.
The presentation described product demand and supply processes touched literally 60 different times with little effect on forecast accuracy. Supply chain wide metrics were at odds with individual plant and functional metrics, some in direct conflict. There was a lack of a fixed execution planning window with 60 percent of plan changes occurring in the execution window. Production lines, on average, were forced to shutdown every 4 minutes because of various maintenance or setup issues due to inconsistent process specifications. Gorski articulately described the new goal as moving from metrics in isolation to metrics as part of a performance culture.
After the former single company invested what was described as $700 million in a global SAP ERP rollout, much of the systems were customized or augmented globally. The corporate split has caused the awareness for the need for more streamlined SAP standardization. Plans are underway to integrate 25 major platforms to integrated demand and supply planning, order management, procurement, and manufacturing control.
This author has been involved in various aspects of supply chain management for over 30 years. Thus, I have witnessed many a supply chain or operations leader. After witnessing Bob Gorski articulate a supply chain transformation plan, there is no doubt in my mind that Kraft Foods and its associated supply chain team will be the beneficiaries. You can sense a leader in his or her’s presence, style and charisma.
Readers can expect to read of positive transformation and business outcomes emanating from the Kraft integrated supply chain team in the months to come. At the beginning of this year, Supply Chain Matters began a new series of calling out distinguished supply chain management professionals. We were impressed enough to now include Bob Gorski in this category.
Last week, Supply Chain Matters attended the annual two-day Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) Innovation Summit sponsored by IE Group, which was held in Boston. This commentary serves to summarize our impressions and takeaways from this year’s event.
First and foremost, we extend congratulations to all of the presenters on making this conference meaningful for all attendees.
Many manufacturers and service providers are well into their S&OP journeys. We were very pleased to observe many of the Summit presenters describing the planning window of their S&OP processes as far more strategic, many indicating a 24 month planning window. We observed from the various speakers that S&OP teams are no longer fixated on a rigid “one number” process output plan that is not likely to happen but rather adopting the context that many businesses are under constant change. A consensus of likely scenarios for the business to consider was described as a more meaningful approach for today’s S&OP sponsor and process participants.
For some of the presenters, various and ongoing merger, acquisition or organizational restructuring events tended to cause an interruption in S&OP momentum. Presenters representing Abbot Laboratories, Blackberry and Kraft Foods, among others, addressed how they addressed and overcame such challenges. Many cited S&OP as providing the constant for getting cross-functional teams focused on common business operating objectives as well as securing common leadership from new team participants. Other presenters described the S&OP process as uncovering other organizational or business planning challenges, which is to be expected. A number of presenter’s, such as Enterasys, described the objective of the S&OP process as one of continuous improvement.
Other cited common lessons learned included:
- Clarification of the roles and expectations of the various team members, establishing communication and trust, and an overall rhythm for the process. This was mentioned by Novartis, Blackberry and others.
- Spending appropriate time to clearly define hierarchy of tops-down and bottom-up data required to make the process meaningful mentioned by Bemis and Energizer, among others.
- Gathering and analyzing required demand, supply, inventory and capacity information into each sequential step of the process was often cited.
- Not becoming a prisoner to best practices, maintaining flexibility in the process, as well as focusing on management’s top pain points, and how the S&OP process can help address these pain points were cited by Solo Cup and others.
- Demonstrating consistent performance, establishing a win-win for all participating functions and securing active sponsorship of senior management through process changes were mentioned by nearly all of the presenters.
S&OP teams have now come to recognize the important role that advanced technology support can contribute to the process, especially in more timely gathering and analysis of supply chain wide data and information, along with their implications. While it is evident that many S&OP team members still cling to the use of spreadsheets as their preferred analysis and cross-team communication tool, we sensed a building acceptance to more advanced tools that can support more predictive capabilities but still offer user friendliness in their use. Software providers and Summit sponsors Infor and Steelwedge addressed some of the new areas of technology support being directed at S&OP processes.
At the conclusion of the Summit attendees certainly had their favored list of presentations. For this author, those from Kraft Foods, Solo Cup and Abbot Laboratories were top of mind, and we will feature additional separate commentary regarding each.
This author enjoyed the opportunity to meet, network and chat with many of this year’s Summit participants and speakers, and thanks to all for collectively making this an enjoyable and meaningful event.
On July 30th, Supply Chain Matters attended the Infosys 2013 Global Analyst Summit meeting held in Boston. This is an annual event held each year with invited industry analysts representing multiple coverage areas. It was a great briefing event, held at a scenic facility overlooking Boston Harbor and filled with insightful information.
Bottom-line, we were surprisingly impressed at the consulting efforts that Infosys’s manufacturing and supply chain teams have made in the past twelve months.
Infosys itself has undergone some turbulent changes in terms of lagging growth, culminating with bringing back its founder N.R. Narayana Murthy as executive chairmen. During the opening session, Co-founder, Board Member, Managing Director and CEO S. D. Shibulal reviewed the accomplishments of the Infosys 3.0 re-alignment that has been executed over the past 18 months. He acknowledged that last year provided some challenges for the firm with growth below industry average. Since that time the firm has re-aligned both its industry and geographic organizational focus and has assembled 14 offerings around products and platforms. Last year, a significant percent of the firm’s new deals around business outcomes came as a result of the new platforms strategy with the Process and Platforms business unit reaching $725 million in Total Customer Value last quarter alone. The re-alignment and re-focus has begun to demonstrate other improved performance. Shibulal re-iterated that Infosys maintains a 98 percent customer retention rate among nearly 600 core clients. The CEO also highlighted some key client accomplishments across multiple industries and it was rather clear that he was personally involved in overseeing some of these engagements. Also made clear was the firm’s renewed focus on assisting clients in major business process transformation that extends beyond just information technology, with broader measures of engagement performance. Infosys is in the process of transforming to both a services and platform consultancy.
The remaining morning briefing sessions featured a combination of Infosys senior executives and select customers discussing areas termed Insights-Driven and Agile Enterprise, along with Cloud and IT Outsourcing implementation efforts. What we found most interesting was how these clients described their business objectives, which included:
Building a smarter organization
Digitizing the enterprise for growth
Fail fast and win faster- iterated by more than one client presentation
Harnessing the power of real-time decisions
Managing disparate global operations effectively
Enabling guest experiences
Re-architecting the entire data environment
These are terms that connote broad cross-functional and enterprise initiatives. The other common theme we picked-up on was a sense of urgency for industry change in either maintaining or up-ending industry leadership in business capabilities, or seizing business opportunities in new markets.
Our afternoon time centered on a series of dedicated briefings from various Infosys executives within the Manufacturing Industry practice business unit, chaired by Sanjay Jalona, Infosys Senior Vice President for Hi-Tech and Manufacturing, along with his associated manufacturing industry leaders. This business unit stated that it works with more than 100 global 2000 clients and that 40 percent of engagements are led from a business process consulting framework. While we are restricted from the mention of client names, we can relate that the names are impressive. Once more, the described engagements are far reaching, many with multiple-year timetables for innovation.
More importantly, Infosys has shifted to a shared-risk outcomes-based client engagement model where end results are predicated on specific client specified business outcomes. Infosys has now discovered that its core capabilities lie in combined services that span engineering, business process outsourcing and IT transformation. The firm’s broad global presence across multiple countries is further leveraged to assist manufacturers and retailers in implementing capabilities on a global scale, including needs in higher-growth emerging markets.
Five areas of investment capability and client transformation focus were described that include: Information, Digital, Infrastructure, Business and Supply Chain. Beyond IT and business consulting, the manufacturing practices have also focused on the delivery of specific services including product engineering and industry specific customer services. The firm is also developing impressive capabilities in the area of leveraging predictive analytics applied to supply chain and online fulfillment needs.
Our briefing emphasized the increasing importance that manufacturers currently place on transforming to more services focused business areas particularly in discrete manufacturing and aerospace settings. In some specific engagements, Infosys has assumed the ongoing management of a client’s legacy products that frees-up client resources to work on more innovative product offerings. Client names were again impressive, many of which Supply Chain Matters has featured in specific supply chain, B2B, and online fulfillment capabilities.
As outlined above, we were obviously impressed, and we were not the only analyst firm with that impression. The firm has clearly shifted toward delivering strategic capabilities for its clients, a theme that was candidly not the top-of-mind impression for India based firms.
One of the current shortfalls of Infosys is its ability to effectively market its broader array of capabilities for global based manufacturers and retailers and that conclusion was openly echoed by other attending analysts as well. We were informed that this will be addressed.
The takeaway for our readers is that we were impressed by the renewed focus of Infosys, particularly its Manufacturing practice area.
Disclosure: Infosys is a former sponsor and client of the Supply Chain Matters blog
Supply Chain Matters Guest Response- Aerospace and Defense Companies Need to Fly in New Formation Called the Extended Enterprise
The following comes from Accenture‘s Aerospace and Defense practice and is contributed by Damien Lasou. It serves as a direct response to our previous Supply Chain Matters commentary, A Premiere Week for Aerospace Industry Supply Chains and a New Challenge and provides views on the aerospace industry’s supply chain challenges in the context of the extended enterprise.
Imagine that a new type of airplane is supposed to be in commercial flight starting this year. But the engine for the plane will not be ready in time. Or the onboard avionics electrical system has software bugs that still need fixing and will be delayed. Or the timing on delivery of the airplane wings has been miscommunicated. The manufacturer thought it was going to arrive in time to be installed so the plane would be ready to go this year. But the wing maker thought the delivery date was some other time.
These types of scenarios are causing major challenges throughout the aerospace and defense industry. Products are usually delivered late to market. The quality and efficiency of information sharing among various suppliers has been unacceptable. Widespread collaboration doesn’t exist. Independent business remains the norm. Yet the industry – like so many others — has become so interdependent that what affects one group affects several others.
A coordinated system of collaboration that would make this system work more smoothly remains elusive. These challenges have resulted in several well-publicized delays in deliveries of major aerospace and defense programs to market, costing the industry in revenues and credibility.
Considering this state of the industry, fundamental systemic changes are needed now. A shift to a new and collaborative business model, known as the “extended enterprise,” should be one such change.
Accenture defines the extended enterprise as a network of firms, ranging from customers to suppliers and third parties. These companies collaborate to design, develop, produce, deliver and support a product. The extended enterprise encompasses all facets of collaboration such as processes, people and technologies needed to efficiently manage network inter¬dependencies. At its core, an extended enterprise is intended to improve operational efficiency and potential revenue growth, strengthen relationships with customers and suppliers, and accelerate product deliveries.
My colleagues at Accenture recently interviewed a select group of industry executives about how and why the extended enterprise movement is already starting to transform the industry. The executives based in eight countries–Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States–work for the largest manufacturers of aircrafts, aircraft engines, and components in engineering, service and support operations, and procurement. A summary of the findings and analysis can be found in a new report titled Defining the Extended Enterprise.
Although these executives cited numerous potential barriers to making such models operate effectively, they acknowledged the urgent need to pursue extended enterprise opportunities. Most have started such initiatives in the past year or two. To remain competitive, they understand they have to invest and focus more on building and participating in extended enterprise business models. But they said it is going to be a complicated and difficult challenge.
Multiple benefits are possible
According to the report, interviewees shared what they believe to be numerous extended enterprise benefits such as:
• Increasing efficiency and reducing costs;
• Stabilizing the supply chain;
• Facilitating control of key information;
• Gaining new capabilities;
• Leveraging innovative technologies;
• Mitigating financial and commercial risks;
• Managing resources and skills;
• Strengthening relationships with customers and suppliers;
• Improving consistency and coherence across enterprise groups; and,
• Leveraging deeper and more updated experience about international trade regulations.
Counterbalancing these benefits, the executives indicated they grapple with challenges ranging from cost pressures to scarcity of talent, to more viable competitors in emerging economies. They realize they have to ease pressures between familiar and new ways of working such as security versus openness; intellectual property protection versus shared innovation; and pooling of skills versus fierce competition for talent. Balancing all this effectively to create a high performance extended enterprise requires a major departure, new thinking and different behavior. Interviewees told us they are finding it difficult to structure their specific extended enterprise objectives within a collaborative context to gain business and operational benefits.
Gap between theory and practice
In pursuit of pervasive industry collaboration, our interviews uncovered the gap between theory and practice. Although respondents acknowledged the importance of collaboration with shared objectives and a common organization, few have progressed to practical steps and delivering broader relationships to achieve this. Concerns prevail about appropriate collaborative levels of collaboration and definitions of roles.
Interviewees expressed concern about how to define the right extended enterprise performance indicators, develop common standards, and comply with regulations. Confidentiality and data security are of particular importance. These two factors create tension between demands of openness and transparency and the need to protect intellectual property and data.
These interviews revealed that companies are exchanging talents and skills. But the more strategic approaches tend to be restricted to larger suppliers and integrators sharing talent more willingly, especially to address complex work. Significant tension exists regarding the need to retain competitive advantage versus requirements to add skills to drive innovation and adapt to changing customer requirements. Achieving this balance is difficult. While aerospace and defense companies recognize that exchanging personnel delivers major benefits, among them are lower costs and increased profitability for both parties, they remain wary of undermining their sources of competitive advantage.
Key factors that will drive growth
As a result of this work, we have identified and defined five building blocks to an extended enterprise organization:
•Collaboration and governance: working together to achieve a common goal with mutual understanding of needs and objectives; developing team-oriented or contractual relationships depending on closeness of collaboration.
•Talent and competencies: developing and sharing skills and competencies needed across the extended enterprise for mutual benefits while managing and retaining the best talents for competitive advantage.
•Agile operations: the ability to flex and adapt to changing needs across the extended enterprise; defined in terms of agility in new or existing relationships as well as adapting to changes across the ecosystem that impact processes or product deliveries.
•Data sensitivity and regulations: ability to execute business in compliance with aviation authorities’ rules, legal and contractual requirements, and government requirements; and to demonstrate at any time conformity the responsiveness of the extended enterprise to those requirements.
•Innovation: the ability to capture and integrate innovations across suppliers and technology collaborators, creating barriers to competition while maintaining control of the company’s intellectual property.
Of these five, allow me to delve deeper into two of particular note: collaboration and governance, and talent and competencies.
Collaboration and governance
Governance embodies one of the fundamental building block of the extended enterprise. The effectiveness of such an enterprise rests on the foundation of trust. Trust requires transparency. In this highly competitive industry, however, trust is elusive. Any omissions or allowances made in the information provided between collaborators will cascade through the entire ecosystem with the likely result the extended enterprise model will not work. For this business model to flourish, aerospace and defense companies would need a common vision of objectives, the roles of each party involved, decision-making processes, a common framework, IT governance and security rules.
If all members of the extended enterprise, for example, build an unstated contingency for their own delivery schedules, a program probably won’t deliver on time. To avoid this, corporate cultures need to profoundly shift. An authentic extended enterprise consists of an interdependent network of organizations in which no single organization has ultimate operational control. Governance needs to encompass all parties involved ranging from multiple suppliers to clients. These extended enterprises need to operate as a single virtual entity while maintaining their independence. Because each relies on the others and information they provide, the fundamental ingredient for success boils down to trust.
Talent and competencies
Talent remains in short supply in this industry. Strict regulations limit the extent to which talent can be easily imported from elsewhere. Maintaining intellectual property and assets, especially in the defense market, inhibits talent strategies that could be executed in a more open market. Talent scarcity drives more intense industry competition and raises a particular challenge for the talent pool available to small and medium-sized companies, which are essential to an extended enterprise operating effectively.
Aerospace and defense companies need to have the right people to operate with a mentality of taking risks. Developing local talent in the ecosystem has become more important. Building talent across the extended enterprise is critical. This requires that organizations sponsor relevant university faculties as well as share resources across the enterprise to drive teamwork and trust.
Developing a high performance extended enterprise depends on the ability to share skills, experience and knowledge throughout the network, and this sharing has to benefit the entire network rather than isolated groups. There must also be trust, which is a long-term process dependent on intangible factors. Trust is precarious because it can be destroyed quickly.
The goal of the extended enterprise is to be organized in a way that intends to benefit all stakeholders. The model should be project or program oriented whereby companies will join forces and be organized in a network structure to develop, for instance, an aircraft or engine. Because of confidentiality and competition, the model cannot work otherwise.
There is no turning away from the extended enterprise momentum. Companies need to face it and embrace it to achieve high performance.
Damien Lasou is the Global Managing Director of Accenture’s Aerospace and Defense practice. He can be reached at Damien.email@example.com.
Our European readers are acutely aware that the ongoing severe recession affecting the Eurozone has taken a severe toll on manufacturers and retailers. At the same time, time tested principles of market specialization, global outreach, and a highly skilled workforce can often provide a basis for a firm to outlast a recession in one’s home market.
In late 2010, in the midst of the previous global recession, Supply Chain Matters featured a commentary highlighting specialty small and mid-sized manufacturers in Germany, termed the Mittelstand companies. These German companies featured conservative, non-flashy management and came to understand that growth comes from a focus on market niches, sometimes in traditional industrial areas where bigger companies choose not to compete. They viewed the world as one global marketplace for specialty products or materials. Our 2010 commentary highlighted three lessons for growth and surviving a geographic recession:
- Building recognized product innovation, even when that innovation is within traditional industries.
- Understanding that niche markets can be huge when projected on a global scale.
- That small and medium sized manufacturing focused businesses can be an engine of sales and employment growth, providing they have an unwavering focus on operations excellence and continuous improvement in every process.
In 2013, Europe is enduring close to two years of severe economic contraction, yet the above lessons remain as guideposts for surviving the recession. Further evidence has come forth in a series of articles on European industry published by The Financial Times. One particular article, Skilled workers give Italy an edge, (paid subscription or sign-up for free metered view) should capture interest because it reinforces similar principles.
The article highlights Italian manufacturers Guala Closures, a global leader in the manufacture of premium bottle tops, IMA, a global producer of automatic machines for the packaging of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and other products, Luxxotica, global eyewear manufacturer, and Sogefi, a producer of specialized automotive components. While Italy endures nearly a decade of economic stagnation, these manufacturers are holding their own. As an example, Guala has grown fourfold in the past ten years, selling to more than 100 countries, with a presence of 24 worldwide manufacturing facilities. IMA which garners revenues in excess of €743 million, boasts that 93 percent of those revenues are derived outside of Italy. It sales network includes 70 countries with 23 global manufacturing centers. Sogenfi supplies Audi with a super lightweight spring made of composite materials.
FT points out that each of these companies stress innovative products in niche markets coupled with premium manufacturing skills and lean operations. Sound familiar?
While there are obviously other factors necessary for enduring a severe economic downturn in the host geographic region, including access to affordable credit, time proven principles of product innovation, an unwavering focus on manufacturing excellence coupled with a highly skilled workforce have endured to provide our community continuous evidence of their importance.