Bas de Jong, Operations Manager, Contract Manufacturing, Corbion The Netherlands
Oriol Albós Borràs, Director Contract Manufacturing and Logistics Europe, South America and Asia, Corbion Spain
Peter van ‘t Veld, QA Manager Contact Manufacturing, Corbion The Netherlands
Marcel Chabot, Logistics and Supply Chain Coordinator, Corbion The Netherlands
Andre Medugno, Procurement Manager, Corbion The Netherlands
We are a team responsible for contract manufacturing (CCM) at Corbion. So what exactly is contract manufacturing? In simple terms we are responsible for ensuring the availability - for both internal and external customers - of product produced by third party manufacturers under the Corbion brand name.
There are several very good reasons for outsourcing the manufacturing of Corbion products. We may not have the capacity internally to manufacture a product; we may not have the technology or skills in-house to produce it; or we may want to develop the market first before doing big investments. In all cases, our team supports our Corbion colleagues - usually in sales and product development functions - across the world in getting the product manufactured and delivered on time, and to the highest quality. To achieve this we have a handpicked global network of third party contractors ready to manufacture the product under the Corbion name.
Flexibility and agility are the keys to our service. We need to move fast. To give you an example, we recently received a request from a member of the business development team. They needed to produce a new product very quickly but this wouldn't be possible internally due to some technical limitations. Could we help? Within six weeks we were able to make it happen and get that product produced.
The process starts as soon as we receive the request. We then begin analyzing our portfolio of third party suppliers to find the best fit (we work with manufacturers across the world – from Europe to South America, to Asia). From there, discussions begin. We visit with them, brief them and get cost estimates, and hopefully start work. Naturally, a major task for our team is ensuring that all these partners maintain the standards we expect – from quality to safety, to the type of organizational culture they have. Ultimately, we are placing huge trust in them.
The main goal is customer satisfaction, which means that we are continuously monitoring the performance of our contractors. It’s very important because, like the rest of Corbion, we’re looking for continuous improvement. Is there another potential partner out there that could be a better fit for us? Our team is constantly on the lookout – through our network, attendance at industry events, and careful monitoring of the marketplace – for the next contractor who can add value for Corbion.
As you can imagine, ours is a dynamic environment. We’re talking all the time to our Corbion colleagues across the globe; and we’re doing the same with our external contractor network. What makes the job fun of course is that we have huge diversity in the types of products, people, and organizations we deal with: Different markets, functions, businesses, nationalities, and cultures. For that reason, cultural savvy is key. Personal relationships and contact are essential in our business, especially when using contractors in the far corners of the world, so we’re frequently on the road visiting with them. We’re not just there to check up on them; but also to learn from them. For example, one of our biggest contractors has an excellent safety program running, some elements of which could work at Corbion!
One of the keys to great manufacturing is great planning. Our goal now is to be more proactive with our internal colleagues in identifying contracting opportunities and triggering growth for them. We want to create value for Corbion. Today our colleagues generally come to us with their challenges. Now we’re planning to approach them earlier in the product lifecycle. We have a unique view of what’s happening in the manufacturing arena and our goal is to use that insight to help Corbion get product to market faster – which is good news for everyone.