Prepared for growth
Alfa Laval offers a highly diversified product range with a broad geographical presence. This brings complexity in terms of securing on-time deliveries, quality and efficient sourcing, and increases the need for strong coordination between the three industrial divisions.
Operations is the focal point of this work and secures structure and professional management in the following areas:
– Coordinated manufacturing and assembly of components and products developed from the Group’s three main technologies. Manufacturing is today linked to 37 sizeable units, designed to provide optimal geographical coverage, but also to ensure that capacity is allocated as evenly as possible across the units. The products manufactured are sold in all divisions.
– Purchasing, which is managed in an organization with responsibility for both direct and indirect materials for manufacturing facilities and distribution centres. It also handles all in-direct procurement, including services.
– Distribution and logistics focus on components and spare parts. Alfa Laval has a global coverage with eight distribution centres, spread across Europe, Asia and North America. Distribution and Logistics is also responsible for Alfa Laval’s overall transportation needs.
A global supply chain with strong regional presence
Preparing for further growth
With the growing demand for a number of Alfa Laval’s key technology areas in recent years, investments in new and existing sites are required to increase production capacity. During the year, Operations has stepped into planning and preparation mode to make sure that the capacity investments will be executed according to plan in the coming years.
Over the past year, great emphasis has directed to optimize the manufacturing structure, refining production systems, and streamlining purchasing and logistics in a way that delivers both quality and productivity. This has equipped the organization with an efficient structure and strong competence to execute on the expansion plans in the years to come in response to an anticipated increase in demand.
Smarter and more sustainable production
Securing an organization ready to serve future demand is not only about capacity, but equally about ways of working. A key element in building a stronger and more sustainable organization is new, innovative production systems. Some of this work is conducted in the context of continuous improvement programmes, while the more comprehensive changes are linked to the transformation known as Industry 4.0.
The emphasis is on increased automation and digital production development, developed in a way that makes these investments more cost effective and safer for our employees. Greater automation is important at Alfa Laval, given its diverse product range and where more efficient production systems are making a difference.
Similarly, technologies such as additive manufacturing/3D printing are creating new opportunities among a group of customers that may have extended service commitments for components, and where volumes over time are relatively small. Additive manufacturing enables components to be designed in a way that would not have been possible using traditional methods. The technology is both cost-effective and more sustainable, as it requires fewer inputs in the manufacturing process. In addition, the development of manufacturing technologies and production systems is expected to play an increasingly significant role in new growth areas such as fuel cells, hydrogen production and energy storage.
Alongside products and solutions, flexible, precise and cost-effective production processes will be part of the offering that makes Alfa Laval a competitive supplier in new and existing growth areas.
Competence is key to success
The Operations organization’s strengthened manufacturing, sourcing and distribution platforms also help the company retain and recruit professionals with the required skills. The fact that strategically important issues are handled at Group-wide competence centres is a strength when needing to act fast, building culture, sharing competences and establishing new ways of working. Products and processes are increasingly digitalized at these centres, which also makes day-to-day work stimulating and more appealing.