MADRID - Seat President Pierre-Alain De Smedt is responsible for the company's purchasing program. He believes that a global Volkswagen purchasing strategy can be pursued while Seat maintains close relations with Spanish suppliers.
What is Seat's purchasing philosophy?
Our company's strategy has its roots in the philosophy of the VW Group. The platform strategy, together with the multi-brand approach, basically defines the direction to follow. Our decisions must benefit the customer.
What qualities does Seat look for in a supplier?
We expect our suppliers to be able to adapt themselves to a process of constant improvement. As we change and improve our processes, we expect our suppliers to do the same.
This means they should aim to take more responsibility within the development process, by supplying more assembled components just-in-time to our assembly lines. This implies that they use advanced technology, they deliver high quality, and that their business sustains a long-term partnership.
How many suppliers does Seat have now - and expect to have in the future?
It is not our policy to set a limit to the number of suppliers with whom we can work at any given moment. We want to work with the best suppliers to achieve the best results for our customers.
It may seem that there is an industry trend to reducing the number of suppliers as new vehicles are developed. This is simply a consequence of the greater integration of suppliers in the process of developing new vehicles.
Those suppliers who accept new responsibilities and functions within this process can assemble the components provided to them by several manufacturers.
How independent is Seat's purchasing department from VW Group purchasing? Is there any latitude for local decisions?
The global purchasing structure of the group is highly integrated, and this affects each of the brands, including their manufacturing operations around the world.
Seat's purchasing department has the same organization as any other VW brand. It has the same processes, the same criteria for selecting suppliers, the same final goals.
Obviously, the people on the teams are different, but their decisions are coordinated and agreed by the different purchasing departments in the group. We follow this process even when buying components used only by Seat models, though responsibility for the decision then rests with Seat.
Did Seat select suppliers for the Arosa, which is currently built at Wolfsburg?
So far, Seat has not been directly involved in the process of selection for Arosa suppliers.
How does Seat help those small suppliers who cannot globalize?
Other VW Group brands signed contracts with Spanish suppliers worth Pta58 billion ($385 million) last year. Seat bought Spanish-made parts worth Pta341 billion last year. This shows our commitment to the domestic industry.
But globalization means that suppliers must be ready to deliver their products everywhere in the world.