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Glass packaging firms must be 'nimble, innovative and consumer-centric': O-I chair

By Ben Bouckley , 07-Feb-2012
Last updated on 08-Feb-2012 at 16:22 GMT

US glass packaging company Owens-Illinois (OI) says it has made important changes to its supply chain setup and engineering teams to increase its customer focus.

The Ohio-based company said it planned to integrate its supply chain operations, while a new technology group would allow it to align its engineering expertise with its R&D capacities.

Chairman and CEO, Al Stroucken, said: “The evolving dynamics of the consumer packaged goods industry call for glass container manufacturers to become more nimble, more innovative and more customer-centric.

"By integrating our supply chain in a consistent manner across the globe, we gain better visibility into our cost structures and speed decision making, both of which benefit our customers.”

Nimbleness, innovation, customer focus

Asked if the mention of nimbleness, innovation and customer focus was O-I's response to glass volume declines in markets such as Australia, a spokeswoman told BeverageDaily.com: "It also holds good for developing markets, but you're right that it's most critically important in mature markets. But even in developing markets competition is growing within the packaging industry.

"But in developed markets the success of glass packaging is becoming more dependent upon nimbleness, innovation and customer centricity. So that's key to us globally, for different reasons, depending on whether you're discussing mature or emerging markets."

Explaining the supply chain move, the spokeswoman added: "At the regional level, late last year we reconfigured how our regional organisation was working, so that there's an integrated supply chain focus within each region. Our procurement and logistics teams are collaborating more at the regional level across the supply chain, with that data informing production planning by the region."

She added: "The new announcement reflects the reconfiguration of our corporate structure, to align with what we did on a regional level. So it changes the way teams work together."

By focusing its engineering talent on new technologies and solutions, O-I would increase its value for customers, enhance its flexibility, and reinforce its sustainability credentials, Stroucken added.

The new ‘technology group’ would focus on technologies to help O-I retain global leadership in glass container manufacturing, the company said.

The O-I spokeswoman added: "For the past four years we've had a renewed focus on R&D within O-I. We created a centre of excellence here in Ohio, and we've been building-in our innovation capabilities on a global basis. Streamlining the engineering organisation is a continued progression."

Personnel changes

As a result of the restructure, management changes mean that Ed Snyder (who joined O-I in 2007 as senior vice president and chief process improvement officer) will now head up the company’s Integrated Supply Chain organisation.

He will oversee O-I’s global manufacturing base, environment, health and safety, quality, performance management, procurement, logistics, supply chain and glass recycling.

Ron White (current vice president and chief information officer) will take the role of chief process improvement officer, overseeing the company’s Lean Six Sigma, sustainability and corporate communications teams

White will continue to lead O-I’s information technology organization, including its SAP program.

Giancarlo Currarino, formerly vice president of global engineering, is O-I’s new vice president and chief technology officer responsible for engineering, research and development, machine manufacturing and equipment sales, and licensing.

As part of the reorganisation, Rich Crawford, O-I’s senior vice president and chief technology and operations officer, has elected to leave the company.

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