Sustainable Supply Chain
As a logistics service provider, we operate along global supply chains and provide highly complex services for our customers. You can find a detailed description of our portfolio in the Company Profile section. We also coordinate the entire supply chain, establish and manage integrated logistics chains across the entire value creation process in the areas of project and process management, technology, IT and quality assurance. We predominantly work with products and components provided by our customers. This means we have only very limited influence on their upstream processes.
Wherever we can influence processes and set benchmarks ourselves, we strive to ensure sustainable standards. This applies, for example, to our order and purchasing processes, which are managed by our central Purchasing department and encompass more than 100 material categories. We also give consideration to energy efficiency – this is an important criterion in the procurement of lighting systems and forklift trucks, for example, alongside quality, price and delivery times. The same applied in 2020 for the replacement of IT hardware. Our main procurement markets are located above all in Germany and neighboring EU countries with high standards regarding sustainability.
The coronavirus pandemic has also given rise to supply bottlenecks. These particularly affected products in the area of personal protective equipment. Here, after a great deal of research work and changes of suppliers, we were able to build up a new network and secure supplies. Nevertheless for these – and other goods – longer delivery times are still common.
Clear regulations strengthen commitment
Section 17 of our General Terms and Conditions of Contract and Purchase regulates our standards with regard to Compliance, the environment, social responsibility and energy efficiency. We stipulate, for instance, that our suppliers comply with the applicable statutory provisions governing the treatment of employees, but also regarding occupational safety and environmental protection. We also expect them to take appropriate measures to reduce as far as possible the impacts of their business activities on people and the environment. We also take compliance with the principles of the UN Global Compact as a given. This includes among other things respect and protection of international human rights. Our suppliers are responsible for ensuring any subcontractors also meet our requirements. To make it even clearer in the future which legal and ethical standards we consider to be an indispensable basis for our business relationships, we are currently drawing up our own Supplier Code of Conduct as part of the general review of our policies and guidelines.
Our supplier evaluation system
We live up to our own standards with respect to sustainable business management by monitoring the relevant supply chains and exerting influence within the scope of our possibilities. In order to establish an organized structure for documenting and processing the related information, we have used a dedicated system to evaluate our suppliers since 2016. Using a comprehensive catalog of questions we record criteria such as pricing, quality, delivery reliability, environmental protection, sustainability and communication. This enables us to identify weak points and risks and to discover development potential. We then use these insights to develop measures that effectively improve quality or cooperation.
We choose which suppliers to evaluate according to their relevance for our business activities and the order volume they represent. The focus is on key procurement areas from the fields of intralogistics, major capital expenditures and consumables with evaluation being carried out in coordination with the responsible sites. We share the findings with our suppliers and they also flow directly into our procurement strategies as well as the supplier management of our purchasing teams. Overall, even in post-pandemic times, we will continue to rely more on online formats for face-to-face supplier meetings. If there are no complaints, this concludes the process without us initiating any follow-up measures. This was true for all supplier evaluations undertaken in the reporting year. If, on the other hand, we identify a need for change or improvement, we agree with the supplier on what steps they can take to actively develop their performance. Suppliers who are not able to comply with our standards in the long term no longer receive orders from us.