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Insight leads to more efficiency and lower costs

The specialty chemicals company Elementis wanted to improve the efficiency of its European road transport service. It hired IDS to analyze its supply chain and implemented a TMS. Both strategic choices are paying off in terms of efficiency gains. Elementis sees even more potential.

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

Elementis is one of the largest specialty chemicals and personal care companies in the United Kingdom, with extensive operations in the United States, Europe and Asia. The listed company employs more than 1,300 people in more than 30 locations around the world.

Elementis consists of three divisions: Specialty Products, Chromium and Surfactants. “I like to describe us as the ‘salt and pepper’ of the chemical 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 tons of product per year to customers around the world. “Almost all shipments are liquids, shipped in bags, barrels or as bulk in tank container trucks. The volumes vary from 1 tonne to around 20 tonnes,” says Marco.

“We wanted to improve the European road transport service by increasing visibility and reliability while improving carrier management.” That is why he enlisted the help of IDS to map out the transport-related processes.

“The analysis showed that the transport department was working inefficiently. Processing each order involved sixteen processing steps. As a result, employees could only handle five orders per person per day.”

Access detailed data in one system
In addition to saving time and improving service, the transport management system (TMS) provides Marco with 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 system. I see detailed data per carrier, per customer, per country – even up to CO2 emissions. I expect that in the future we will be able to achieve a significant reduction in CO2 emissions by planning our freight flows in a smarter way.” Furthermore, the system shows us whether shipments can be cleverly combined and consolidated. I think we can achieve a cost saving of 20%.”

Invoices checked within 24 hours
“Another area where we expect huge cost savings is invoice control,” Marco continues. “Thanks to the IDS tool, I can see within 24 hours of delivery what additional costs a carrier charges. The relevant invoice can be automatically checked and approved 24 hours later.

This saves about 80% of the time we previously spent handling invoice disputes. We are also moving towards one invoice per month, which is even more efficient and has a positive impact on our working capital.