When the Covid-19 crisis strengthens customer relations
Last spring, when the Italian plants were shut down because of COVID-19, the Sicurglass (Sekurit Transport) plant was exceptionally authorized to start up production again to meet the needs of its customer Siemens. Stephanie Seuken, Category Manager for Windscreens and Car Head Components at Siemens Mobility, explains how this event has strengthened the relationship between the two groups.
How long has Siemens been working with Saint-Gobain?
Siemens Mobility and Sekurit have a long common history in the railway industry. I've only been here since 2012, but the business relationship goes back much further. For many years, Sekurit has been producing lateral and front windows for our trains, whether they are high-speed trains, suburban trains, metros or light rail trains.
How was your collaboration with Saint-Gobain during the Covid-19 crisis?
During the lockdown, our Krefeld (Germany) plant, which produces various types of trains, was not interrupted and our order book was full. However, it was difficult for us to honor these contracts because many subcontractors could not deliver to us because their factories were closed. This was particularly the case for the Sicurglass plant in Fisciano (southern Italy), where production came to an abrupt halt while we were waiting for windscreens for one of our urgent commuter projects.
So we communicated a lot with the Sicurglass factory to find a solution. Saint-Gobain, with our support, approached the local authorities to defend the essential nature of its continued activity. In the end, the public authorities agreed to allow the plant to resume production. However, it could not ensure full production capacity. We therefore drew up a delivery plan together, which enabled us to adapt our own production.
What do you take away from this collaboration?
If Siemens Mobility was able to maintain production during the Covid-19 crisis at its Krefeld plant, it was undoubtedly thanks to its subcontractors, such as Sicurglass. The support of the Fisciano plant in March and April undeniably strengthened our business relations. Through its actions and communication, Saint-Gobain has demonstrated that Siemens is a very important customer. I've often heard that Siemens is, but in this situation, words have truly been translated into action.
This collaboration was characterized by a high sense of responsibility on both sides. And I am sure that we will maintain the high level of communication that we have been able to have over the past few months in the future. Because thanks to direct and frank communication we have been able to meet challenges from which we have all emerged as winners.