Customer and Supplier Management

WACKER strives to provide products and services that benefit its customers. Satisfied customers are the basis of our success. To steadily increase their satisfaction, we are in constant dialogue with not only customers, but also suppliers and logistics providers.

WACKER introduced “SMART” – a new customer management system – in 2011, initially for its three chemical divisions (WACKER SILICONES, WACKER POLYMERS and WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS). WACKER POLYSILICON followed in 2012. This highly integrated system allows customer data to be recorded, documented and combined from all SAP modules. The decisive advantage of “SMART” is that we have the same information each time we contact a customer, which improves customer service and support. A total of 1,600 employees from the Sales, Customer Service, Marketing and Technical Support units received training in the new system. The system supports Sales, for example, with correspondence and with complaints evaluation/processing. Every complaint is entered into SMART and systematically tracked until our final reply has been sent to the customer. Standardized measures, some of which are initiated automatically, ensure that the affected customer and associated team are always kept up to date on the order-processing status. The root-cause identification procedure initiated by SMART helps us to enhance our processes, and stops errors from recurring.

WACKER offers existing and prospective customers a further service: the WACKER Infoline. Specialists provide advice on products and related applications by phone or email. If someone asks a question, they get initial feedback within eight hours and a detailed answer within 48 hours.

We regularly solicit feedback from our customers about the quality of our products and services. WACKER POLYSILICON, for example, conducts annual customer surveys. The Siltronic business division analyzes the supplier evaluations which its major customers conduct each year. The surveys and comparative analyses have repeatedly confirmed WACKER’s excellent reputation over the years.

Our supplier management team is another area that focuses on sustainability. Our suppliers number 9,900 (8,800 in the Technical Procurement & Logistics department and 1,100 in Raw Materials Procurement). Over 80 percent of our suppliers are headquartered in a member state of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD has 34 member countries that are dedicated to the economic and social wellbeing of people around the world. We expect our suppliers to observe the principles of the UN’s Global Compact and the Responsible Care® initiative. This is part of our general terms of procurement. If we discern violations of these principles during the course of our collaboration, we discuss our observations with the supplier in question and demand improvements.

We expect our suppliers to have a management system that meets the requirements of ISO 9001 (quality) or comparable specifications such as GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice). Furthermore, we require our industrial suppliers to be certified to ISO 14001 (environmental protection). Our complaints management system enables us to improve processes at short notice. Our key suppliers’ performance is entered into an evaluation which we discuss with them collaboratively. WACKER honors the best suppliers and shippers at the annual Supplier and Logistics Days held by Technical Procurement & Logistics (MW).

Systematic review of supplier risks is an important tool at WACKER for correctly evaluating our supplier relationships and adapting our procurement strategies accordingly. Key criteria, whose examination depends on the specific procurement segment, include quality, risk in the event of non-delivery, availability and dependency, intellectual property protection and a supplier’s financial stability. We assessed around 500 suppliers each in 2011 and 2012.

For many years now, WACKER’s Siltronic subsidiary has been deploying its own risk management system for suppliers as a way of securing deliveries and services in the long term. Suppliers are assessed by criteria such as quality, delivery reliability and solvency. The system then categorizes them by risk. Where the risk to criteria fulfillment is acute, countermeasures are promptly taken.