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OPEX Working to Improve Supply Chain Functionality

Alejandro Ciliberto - OPEX
Deputy Director of Supply Chain


José Escobedo By José Escobedo | Senior Editorial Manager - Tue, 10/31/2023 - 10:32

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Q: What strategic plans have you implemented at OPEX to optimize supply chain functionality?

A: During my tenure at OPEX, we have implemented a demand forecasting system to accurately predict customer demand. We focus on the development of contingency plans to mitigate risks and disruptions in the supply chain, such as alternative sourcing options or backup tools and services. In addition, we have a continuous improvement culture to identify and address inefficiencies in the supply chain. Nevertheless, our most important strategy is to develop strategic partnerships with key suppliers to ensure a reliable and efficient supply chain.

Q: What are the key challenges and opportunities for OPEX in the oil and gas industry's supply chain management?

A: This supply chain management faces several challenges and opportunities that require strategic planning and proactive management. Some of the main challenges are volatility and uncertainty. The oil and gas industry is characterized by volatile demand and supply, price fluctuations, geopolitical risks, and environmental regulations. These factors create uncertainty in the supply chain, making it challenging to plan for inventory, transportation, and procurement. Some of the opportunities can be collaborations and partnerships. Collaboration between different stakeholders within the oil and gas industry can lead to improved supply chain performance. Partnerships with suppliers, logistics providers, and other industry players can enhance innovation, reduce costs, and improve sustainability.

Q: Which skills are needed to be successful in supply chain management?

A: In my experience in OPEX, I would say that the most important skills (but not the only ones) are the following:

Leadership: Effective leadership is important in supply chain management to motivate and guide team members toward achieving the organization's goals.

Collaboration: Supply chain management requires collaboration with various stakeholders, so the ability to work effectively with others is essential.

Problem-solving: Supply chain management often involves dealing with unexpected challenges and disruptions, so the ability to identify problems and develop solutions is critical.

Communication: Effective communication is crucial in supply chain management, as it involves coordinating with various stakeholders across the supply chain, such as suppliers, manufacturers and distributors.

Q: At OPEX, how do you supervise and manage end-to-end supply chain operations?

A: Managing end-to-end supply chain operations in OPEX it is a challenging task that requires:

Establishing clear objectives: Define the goals and objectives of the supply chain operations, aligning them with the overall business strategy.

Developing a robust strategy: Create a comprehensive strategy that outlines the key processes, resources, and activities required to achieve the supply chain objectives.

Collaborating with stakeholders: Foster strong relationships and collaboration with suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and other partners in the supply chain. Maintain open lines of communication to ensure smooth coordination, as well as addressing any issues that may arise.

Establishing performance metrics: Define key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the performance of the supply chain operations. This may include metrics such as on-time delivery and order accuracy.

Q: How do you develop strong relationships with suppliers, vendors, and key stakeholders to ensure timely and cost-effective delivery of goods and services?

A: We maintain open and transparent communication channels with suppliers, vendors, and key stakeholders. OPEX also fosters a partnership mindset with suppliers and vendors that seeks to build mutually beneficial relationships, while understanding their needs and goals and working collaboratively to find win-win solutions. In addition, we regularly engage with suppliers, vendors, and key stakeholders through meetings, conferences, or site visits and involve suppliers and vendors in the planning process to ensure alignment of goals and expectations.

Q: What are today´s supply chain management trends in the oil and gas industry?

A: Some supply chain management trends include the emphasis on collaboration and partnerships across the supply chain, with a focus on building strong relationships with suppliers, vendors, and other stakeholders. Moreover, there is a need for enhanced supply chain visibility to improve decision-making, mitigate risks, and optimize operations, in addition to using data analytics to gain insights into supply chain performance, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions. These are just a few examples of the current supply chain management trends in the oil and gas industry. The specific trends may vary depending on the region, market conditions, and other factors.

Q: How does OPEX develop and maintain effective inventory management strategies that optimize stock levels and minimize carrying cost, while ensuring adequate supply?

A: This requires careful planning and continuous monitoring. Here are some steps that we follow at OPEX to optimize stock levels, minimize carrying costs, and ensure an adequate supply:

Demand forecasting: Utilize historical data and customer insights to forecast demand accurately. This helps in determining optimal stock levels and avoiding stockouts or excess inventory.

Supplier collaboration: Establish strong relationships with suppliers to ensure timely deliveries and accurate lead time information.

Continuous monitoring and improvement: Regularly review and analyze inventory performance metrics, such as stock turnover ratio, fill rate, and carrying costs. Identify inefficiencies or areas for improvement and implement continuous improvement initiatives to optimize inventory management strategies.

Just-in-time (JIT) approach: Implement JIT principles to minimize carrying costs by receiving inventory just when it is needed in the production process or for customer orders. This approach reduces holding costs and improves cash flow.

Q: How does OPEX select its suppliers?

A: Selecting suppliers requires a systematic approach that considers several factors. First, we define the selection criteria that will be most important, such as quality, delivery, price, lead time, capacity, and financial stability. Second, we conduct market research to identify potential suppliers that meet the selection criteria and send the request for a quote. Once we receive the proposals, we assess the performance of shortlisted suppliers based on their track record, references, and certifications. We then evaluate their quality management systems, delivery performance, customer service, and financial stability. Finally, we proceed with the negotiations of favorable terms with the selected supplier based on the evaluation results. Lastly, we discuss pricing, delivery schedules, payment terms, and other contractual terms to ensure a mutually beneficial agreement.

To ensure they meet the agreed-upon terms, we do a continuous monitoring of the performance of the selected supplier using established performance metrics, such as quality levels, lead times, and on-time delivery rates.

Q: What elements do you consider in fostering a culture of collaboration, innovation, and continuous improvement within the supply chain function?

A: We must establish a clear vision and goals and communicate them to the team, ensuring alignment and understanding, in addition to demonstrating leadership support and encouraging open and transparent communication. On the other hand, it is very important to encourage collaboration across different functions within the organization, such as procurement, logistics, operations, and finance.

Q: How do you stay up-to-date on industry trends, emerging technologies, and best practices?

A: To stay up-to-date, I personally attend conferences and industry events. These events provide opportunities to learn from industry experts, participate in panel discussions, and network with professionals in the field. I also have a strong collaboration with my peers where we engage in knowledge sharing and collaboration.

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