Executive Spotlight Series: Connecting Silos Within a 9,000-Mile Supply Chain

As Vice President of Industrial and Supply Chain Strategy at Camso -- a multinational tire and rubber manufacturer with four business units and a 9,000-mile supply chain -- Joe Schnippert is faced with his share of daily challenges.  Amid port strikes, long lead times, and manufacturing line disruptions,  Camso has continually kept customer service in the forefront and maintained an aggressive focus on operational excellence. 

We interviewed Joe to learn about some best practices that have helped pave the way forward. Executive_Spotlight_Series_Graphic.png


We encounter high customer volatility, so much of our forecasting used to come from sales orders. We were constantly in a back-order position. We would build a plan, change it halfway through, then become out of sync with customer demand. The proliferation of SKUs and locations has grown and forecasting at the customer level was challenging.


We moved to a demand-driven supply chain model and redeployed inventory back to our manufacturing base in Sri Lanka. An extended value stream map is helping us see our end-to-end supply chain. Our model used to build to a plan and adjust that plan every 30 days. We’ve now changed the back end so we’re pulling set inventory levels, and replenishing those inventory levels as customers "pull." We still build a plan based on a forecast, but the actual production schedule is driven by pull. 

Running our forecasting system on customer order entry and request data has improved our ability to have the right stock in the right place. Working with the sales team, we've been able to statistically forecast high-volume items. But promotions or volatility on lower-volume items is a struggle. We need to spend our time on the low-volume parts because those are the ones that create noise and can disrupt a supply chain. Once we showed the sales team this data and collaborated, we started to drive the right results. 


Due to multiple acquisitions and system customizations, our challenge is getting 16 ERPs to talk to each other. It's a challenge to have the right data when its in different silos. People working in these systems make updates and edits as they see fit, and you lose data accuracy. And when you're globally located, team meetings start from 5 a.m. and last until 9:00 at night.


We’re starting step-by-step with inventory visibility and are now reviewing this weekly. We ask, which pieces are in transit? What’s the cost? Where are they in value stream? How much is the right level for each part? 

We're also driving discipline to follow processes and have accurate data. For example, if one group makes a change to their system, they shouldn't just inform 10 people in their office. Everyone needs to know in order to standardize.

Entrepreneurship is one of Camso's values. Aligning with this value is the goal of eventually have everyone use one consolidated database. 


We are still in silos and challenged with lack of visibility to total cost. We see the cost at each DC, the cost of manufacturing, inventory, etc., but the challenge lies in putting all of these together from end-to-end.


This year, leaders from four business units put together a council to visualize our end-to-end supply chain. We formed a vision and key principles to guide this initiative. As the owner of the end-to-end supply chain, makes all decisions based upon end-to-end optimization.


We had problems a couple years ago when the West Coast port strikes caused supply chain complications. We spent a lot of energy trying to get product in the right place. 

Production distruptions are bigger than service distruptions within a 9,000-mile supply chain. A manufacturing line that breaks down in Sri Lanka can drain the pipeline. 


Collaboration during these times can have a huge impact. During the port strikes, our shipping lines collaborated with us to be consistent. 

We also consider supply volatility in inventory planning and plan safety sotck to deal with distruptions. 

Camso is more clearly focused on keeping the customer in mind and we have an aggressive focus on operational excellence. The more we learn, the more we can improve.


Posted by LeanCor Consulting

blog author

LeanCor Consulting is a division of LeanCor Supply Chain Group. Today’s complex supply chains require vision, strategies, and innovative techniques to create competitive performance. LeanCor Consulting is a trusted partner for advancing end to end supply chain performance through diagnostics, assessments, and full implementation. Global organizations leverage LeanCor Consulting to develop vision and strategy deployment plans for improvement in all supply chain functions. We focus on elements of speed, cost, quality, and delivery, and are able to develop innovative solutions from operational experience as a third party logistics partner.

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