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Elementis Specialties

Visibility improves efficiency and saves costs

Specialty chemicals company Elementis aimed to improve the efficiency of its European road transport service. It hired IDS for analyzing its supply chain and implemented a TMS. Both strategic choices are paying off in terms of efficiency gains. The company sees much potential for further benefits.

Interview with Marco Hesselink-Kerkvliet, European Director Purchase and Transport at Elementis Specialties

Elementis is a UK-listed global specialty chemicals company employing over 1,300 people at more than 30 locations worldwide. Comprising three divisions – Specialty Products, Chromium and Surfactants – Elementis Specialties provides high-value functional additives to many markets including architectural and industrial coatings, personal care and oilfield drilling. “I like to describe us as being the ‘salt and pepper’ of the chemicals industry,” says Marco Hesselink-Kerkvliet, European Director Purchase and Transport at Elementis Specialties.

One of the company’s manufacturing facilities in Delden, the Netherlands, ships approximately 36,000 tonnes of product per year to customers worldwide. “Almost all of the shipments are liquids, shipped in bags, drums or as bulk in tank container trucks. The volumes range from 1 tonne to around 20 tonnes,” comments Marco. “We wanted to improve the European road transport service by increasing the visibility and reliability, while improving carrier management.” So he enlisted the help of IDS to map the transport related processes. “The analysis revealed that the transport department was working inefficiently. Processing each order involved 16 handling steps. Employees were only able to deal with five orders per person per day.”

Access to detailed data in a single system
In addition to saving time and improving service, the TMS offers Marco greater visibility into the overall operation, enabling him to improve efficiency and reduce costs in many areas. “Now I have access to everything in one single system. I can see detailed data per carrier, per customer, per country – even down to CO2 emissions. In the future I expect us to be able to achieve a sizable reduction in CO2 emissions through ‘smarter’ planning of our freight flows.” Furthermore, the system shows us whether shipments can be combined and consolidated smartly. I believe that we could achieve a 20% cost-saving.”

Invoices checked within 24 hours
“Another area we expect to see huge cost-savings is invoice checking,” continues Marco. “Thanks to the IDS tool I can see any extra costs a carrier will be charging within 24 hours of delivery. The relevant invoice can be automatically checked and approved 24 hours later. This will save around 80% of the time we used to spend on dealing with invoice disputes. We’re also moving towards one invoice per month, which is even more efficient and has a beneficial impact on working capital. This and much more is all possible with the IDS system.”