Barbara Kulmann

Head of SC Global Business Processes
Van Leeuwen Pipe and Tube Group

‘Streamlining business processes, not only within, but also outside the supply chain, and constantly working on improvements, form the foundation of our distribution company. A modern ERP solution is an indispensable tool in this respect. In 2020 we therefore invested a great deal of energy in the further roll-out of SAP S/4 HANA, which is the vehicle we are using to work towards a single operational and commercial IT platform.

In the supply chain this involved introducing the state-of-the art warehouse management system SAP EWM in combination with mobile solutions in the warehouse. SAP enables all of us to adopt a single way of working in accordance with standardized digital processes. We will make our physical stocks, spread across our storage sites, accessible to all Van Leeuwen sales departments. It is an important cornerstone in serving our customers more efficiently and with increased customization.

In parallel, many integration initiatives were launched to bring the two organizations together. In weekly MS Teams sessions, initiated in September 2020, we as Corporate Supply Chain process experts discuss the current state of affairs, new developments, and how to further integrate our processes. This way we keep each other well-informed and ensure that we develop the best processes based on a broad history, contemporary technology and our vision for the future.

Without question, the biggest challenge in 2020 was the global COVID-19 breakout. Many borders were temporarily closed, and most colleagues suddenly were forced to work from home – just like many employees of our suppliers and customers. Yet we consistently succeeded in having all processes continue as effectively as possible, without major delays. We even managed to have the supply chain processes ready fully on schedule for the planned July 1 go live date of our newly built high-tech warehouse for our company Kindlimann in Switzerland. A special achievement thanks to the combination of tremendous individual efforts and fantastic team work.’

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