What happens when the formula fails?
How we would normally secure the right amount of raw materials (at the best cost to satisfy our customers) would be to contract the annual volume in Q4 of the previous year. But given the impact of the pandemic on the demand mix, the approximation fell very short of 2021’s actual demand pattern.
“We had to manually collect the forecast of more than 120 sites,” says Ignacio. “In doing so, we noticed that some sites were over-ordering (to rebuild depleted stocks), increasing the gap for those sites that weren’t getting enough to satisfy their orders.”
Facing the raw materials shortage head on
The response from across the company was quick and efficient. “We set up an urgent taskforce with key stakeholders, including the direct involvement of our CEO, to optimize the allocation of our available TiO2,” says Ignacio. “I was relieved when we ended up with a realistic and aligned forecast for 2021.”
“We still needed to find 40,000 tons of extra TiO2 in a very tight market,” he says. “We eventually got it with the help of a dynamic cross-functional team, not to mention the support of our CEO, who kept the pressure on our suppliers to come through for us.”
The crisis made us stronger
“I feel really proud of my team,” says Ignacio. “We managed to keep working on all the other important work on top of dealing with our urgent needs. All throughout this crisis, we needed to think differently, act faster and do better.”
He adds: “It’s strange, but in a way these challenges have been helpful to our development as individuals and as a team – even though it’s not a situation we could deal with long term.”