Job rotation is important at BASF. Before starting my current position I was Head of Purchasing at BASF Antwerp for four years. We’re the second largest BASF group site, and we produce a wide range of basic chemicals. Purchasing was a new field for me, which I was able to enter with a novel line of approach and a fresh viewpoint. My first impression was of considerable improvement potential.
I selected Solvint from four bureaus to perform a broad scan of the purchasing organization. After the scan, we embarked together on an in-depth transformation process. We wanted to shift the emphasis in purchasing from operational to more tactical and strategic. In fact we developed and set up an entirely new purchasing organization. Solvint trained our people to perform the new purchasing duties well. They paid considerable attention to change management through team-building and other means. There was also a pilot project for value-based sourcing for us to gain relevant experience for our new purchasing approach. We succeeded in completing this drastic purchasing improvement project with excellent results in less than a year. The new organization is rock solid. We now purchase much more with the same number of people: the efficiency gain is about twenty per cent. A better alignment with the business enables purchasing to deliver more value. In other words, both the impact and the image of purchasing have improved greatly at BASF Antwerp. Solvint’s approach is based on a sound theoretical model that is also simple to apply. With a strong contribution from BASF people, the bureau set to work after an extremely brief analysis phase. The focus was on realistic steps with change constantly in mind: preferably two small but successful steps than a single large, but more difficult, stride. Acceptance was high among the BASF buyers because of Solvint’s purchasing professionals’ motivation and passion for the field. I had the impression at times that they were so motivated that they would have worked for us for free if they had to.
If I were to summarize the delivered performance, I would say that Solvint has been our fast track to success.