“The purchasing area for any company that does business abroad is critical and neural”

“The purchasing area for any company that does business abroad is critical and neural”
“The purchasing area for any company that does business abroad is critical and neural”

With a vision focused on expanding collaboration and technological adaptation, Sebastián’s leadership is crucial in navigating Argentina’s foreign trade environment, marked by continued economic restrictions and challenges.

Within the company, where I work as Product Development and Purchasing Manager, we have as a group several Business’ s units: auto parts, trucks, motorcycles, assembly and production plant for shock absorbers. Following that, we have a large import volumeboth raw materials (semi-finished products for the assembly of vehicles) and finished products that are directly finished from abroad.

We import around $150 million annually, with approximately 7,000 SKUs. Between 70% and 75% is completely imported, the rest is National Production of shock absorbers, for which we buy the steel locally, that way the product is 100% national.

Logistically we had a very big challenge the year of the pandemic when stopped activity from Chinaand where there was container shortage, causing complexity in terms of how to bring the product. In that sense, we had the flexibility to grow and add business units, suppliers and strategic partners, and in this way we were able to overcome that stage.

The last few years were complex, with limitation of payments and imports. We had an important challenge because the Internal market I was very hungry for products, it continued to function and we continued to be very competitive, with a lot of sales potential.

The challenge was not to cut that supply chainso that it is the most just in time possible. We worked a lot with import permits and the difficulties we had in getting them approved, not to mention the limitations on remittances abroad to make payment through the single free exchange market. In this context, the external supplier had to be made to understand that the country was going through a unique situation, due to the shortage of reserves.

In this sense, the first impact that we tried to take care of was that relationships do not deteriorate. In Europe, or any other country, you explain what the dynamic of restrictions we have is and they really can’t understand it. All this led to us, for example, having to make trips to see suppliers. Ultimately the supply chain was not cut. In fact, we were one of the few suppliers from the sector auto part that never interrupted the sale or supply to his clients.

I think creativity is one of the key words, and flexibility to adapt to change. In this sense, the work teams they had a high stress level. It was a complex stage, but teamwork was able to overcome it, also having a soft skills management very oiled, because it is key to contain and reduce anxiety.

We work a lot on communication, which is essential, since we are concerned about being transparent with the information and not creating false expectations, given what we can or cannot do in these difficult contexts for the management of foreign trade.

In what is auto part, mainly with three: China, who is one of our suppliers and where we have an office in Shanghai that has 20 people from the group, along with Chinese staff. That is our first channel of merchandise entry. Also, we are in Türkiye with a significant amount of product because the Turkish market is very solid. Finally, Brazil It is a very important strategic partner, where we have a wealth of product that we are looking to expand. The situation does not stop us, the group has the exercise of looking at the long term.

Also India It is a very strong country in terms of the automotive industry and with an interesting engineering pipeline from Europe. It’s a world to explore.

Brazil is an attractive market for several reasons. One is because of the proximity, which is key due to logistical times and the import tariff part. Furthermore, the lead times of production and delivery are much shorter. In this sense, the alliances that we seek to weave with our suppliers is that they are with a representation and with distribution.

“Brazil is an attractive market for several reasons. One is because of its proximity, which is key due to logistical times,” says Sebastián Heidenreich (Illustrative Image Infobae)

We export shock absorbers that we produce at Venado Tuerto. Much of the production is exported, in addition to production for the domestic market. We export with our own brand to several Latin American countries: Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Peru and Bolivia. Also, we manufacture for a Dutch brand of premium shock absorbers worldwide; and a Japanese shock absorber that is exported to Europe.

For me today is crucial, because we are the ones who talk to the suppliers and draw the first outlines on how all the subsequent steps related to the import.

When there was a shortage of containers we made a pivot and turned to the ground transportation. We take those definitions from purchases. He shopping area For any company that does business abroad it is critical and neural.

We pursue the same thing that we seek with the supplier of the finished product, an alliance with a supplier that is solid, reliable and with whom we can maintain a long-term relationship. Transportation in Argentina is critical, whether from the domestic market or when there are imports, with everything related to the port chain wave container deconsolidation.

From the logistics side, the challenge we have has to do with stock management. We have a 12,000 m² distribution center in Moreno, a hub where everything that is auto parts is found. The motorcycles have a different hub, being an external supplier, as do the tires.

We have approximately 600 clients distributed from north to south in Argentina. We have a warehouse in Venado Tuerto, with which there is interplant transportation to store in Buenos Aires, which is the order processing point, which also houses all the finished product that comes from abroad, whether it comes from Marine transport or of trucks. Everything arrives in Buenos Aires and from there it is distributed to customers.

We have a very ambitious plan to generate a general inventory of all the stocks that are here in the center of distribution. We have 7,000 SKUs, of which maybe 5,000 are high turnover SKUs and 2,000 that have much lower turnover. We have done a very exhaustive job to polish the inventory and the purchase, so that it is with high moovers (high turnover items) and space out purchases a little more from slow moovers (items that hardly rotate).

We had the strategic thinking of having very high stocks because today the replacement of the purchase It has to be very surgical.

Furthermore, the just in time For customers it is a very high value. This is accompanied by a migration to a different WMS system than the one we were using, which gives us a huge leap for order execution and merchandise entry.

Expectations are always positive. There was a decline in the local market, with a drop of between 15% and 20%. We believe that there will be a recovery of activity little by little. The issue is the slope with which the curve takes the rise, but expectations are positive.

The fact that the group is so large allows us to participate in various markets. For example, we work with trucks, a type of vehicle that, due to its useful life, is likely to be renewed more frequently. On the other hand, we also work with motorcycles, since many people choose them because they are a vehicle for movement that provides a quick and accessible solution.

We observe that the market has fallen because our clients’ stocks have been filled. People are more expectant and speculative about the replacement of the part. But by having more solid macroeconomic variables, lowering inflation levels, and having a little clarity regarding the direction of the country so that purchasing power begins to rebuild, I think we are going to have a slightly more open market again.

We have to develop products and have a complete catalog. We cannot be held back by context. We need to continue developing and try to be the number one mobility solution in Argentinathat’s the goal.

 
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