The manufacturers of building materials are in the business of supplying essential materials to highly demanding customers. The delivery of those materials is extremely time-sensitive and manufacturers must ensure the reliability of their own manufacturing operations. This is why CBC Australia provides such an essential service in terms of parts supply.
As the General Manager of Operations for CBC Australia, Crispin Dobson is responsible for ensuring all the links in the CBC Australia supply chain are working efficiently to deliver to clients in this segment.
“Manufacturers of building materials are supplying the construction industry and their customers are on tight schedules. The manufacturers synchronise their delivery operations to building sites to meet strict access and material handling time slots. They have to have reliable operations, reliable factories and adhere to delivery timelines,” Dobson explains.
As a result, manufacturers have to plan maintenance carefully and also make sure they have the resources available to them in the case of an emergency or unplanned breakdown.
“They have to be very responsive to any equipment failure or breakdown. Which translates to them depending on our services and our ability to supply the right parts, at the right place, at the right time.”
CBC Australia provide an unparalleled service in that regard. Not only does the company have a wide range of products in its portfolio, strategically located stores around the country means they have a competitive advantage over any other supplier. This is supported by a highly skilled staff base and a concentration of staff in industrial areas where building material manufacturers are typically based.
“Because we have the bricks and mortar – as in we have 88 branches around the country in predominantly industrial areas – we offer a convenient and unmatched service to these clients,” Dobson says. “Importantly though, our team are familiar with the needs of these businesses and that gets translated into requirements across our supply chain.”
Being able to anticipate what customers need is at the heart of what CBC Australia does as a business. This is based on an ongoing relationship with customers in the building materials manufacturing segment that goes back many years.
“In terms of the supply chain, we are acutely aware of these customer needs and take this into account in our planning,” Dobson says. “Further to that, we manage our supply chain with a forecasting system that bolts on to our Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. We’ve customised this extensively in the last few years to provide more localised customer usage information. In terms of the manufacturing segment, this has meant we are able to better forecast the product types and quantities that we need to have available.”
Essential components in plants such as bearings, electric motors, drive shafts, pulleys and belts, will need periodic replacement or servicing. While manufacturers of building materials will have preventative maintenance programs in place, equipment breakdowns can occur and if so, the companies rely on CBC to have the replacement parts they need.
Moreover, Dobson and his team have collaborated closely with CBC suppliers to improve delivery times. A big factor in this has been the ability of CBC to provide suppliers with 18 months’ worth of future product demand forecast.
“While this forecast is not a commitment, it is an excellent indication of our buying intentions. We’ve been able to achieve 70% accuracy with our forecasts which is about as good as it gets (without a crystal ball). It means our overseas suppliers can book time on their production lines to secure our needs,” Dobson asserts.
Again, this finessing of the supply chain translates back to direct customer benefit.
“Because we have such good relationships with our suppliers, we can collaborate closely with them to propose alternative spare parts for our customers – perhaps because these components are cheaper or longer lasting or with superior materials – and this enables our customers to improve their own efficiencies with better, newer replacement parts.”