Supply chain disruptions change end-user procurement strategies: Miele

Disturbances in global supply chains in recent times have led to a change of attitude among players in the chain, according to Konstantin Eckert, director procurement of production materials at Miele.

Speaking at MBI Infosource’s Stahltag in Frankfurt last week, Eckert cited the examples of the semiconductors shortage last year and the blockage of the Suez Canal. Incidents like that have taught players on the receiving end “how expensive it gets when you want to produce, but cannot”, he said at the event attended by Kallanish.

Such experiences have since promoted a new mindset of resilience among players along the value chain, Eckert finds. “We have a high manufacturing depth, and in case of a standstill, our fixed costs would eat us up,” he observed.

White goods maker Miele sources carbon steel as well as stainless steel strip, for which it holds separate annual negotiations at mid-year and year-end. “We have created a formal process for the negotiations, to create confidence and transparency with partners,” Eckert explained.

Regarding stainless steel, the company ensures awareness about its sources, especially for steels produced from nickel pig iron (NPI) and its sometimes problematic mining circumstances. “We keep an eye on producers and origins, as this is a factor in the value of our brand,” he pointed out.

The German company has so far secured supply deals for carbon-reduced steels with Salzgitter, thyssenkrupp and H2 Green Steel.

Christian Koehl Germany