With 20,000 suppliers globally, more than 10,000 of whom are active, Sisecam Group is one of the most influential buyers in the international glass industry. Dr Selma Oner, Chief Procurement Officer, discusses her team’s strategic role in the co-ordination of procurement functions, as well as the group’s development of an integrated supply chain. John Wallis reports. The full version of this article appears in the July/August issue that has been mailed globally and is also now available free of charge in the digital archive*.


Sisecam Group is widely acknowledged as a global leader in flat glass, household glassware, glass packaging and glassfibre, as well as soda ash and chrome compounds. Production is undertaken by a workforce of 22,000 people in 14 different countries, with sales conducted in more than 150 national markets. In terms of production capacity, the group ranks among the top three for household glassware, the top five for flat glass and glass packaging, the top six in synthetic soda ash production and is the world’s leading producer of chromium chemicals.

As Chief Procurement Officer at Sisecam Group, Dr Selma Oner is responsible for co-ordinating all procurement functions, liaising with Corporate Management and providing approvals for strategic decisions. She also supports internal collaboration, knowledge sharing, compliance with best practices and established category management processes. These initiatives ensure a strategic view of the procurement function that anticipates demand, understands the supply markets, develops and implements the best sourcing strategies to maximise value-for-money, while ensuring programme delivery within time and quality boundaries. They also serve the Sisecam Group’s strategic aspirations to become one of the top three global manufacturers in its core business lines.

Dr Oner graduated from the Department of Industrial Engineering at Istanbul Technical University in 1995, before receiving her Master’s degree and PhD from the Department of Industrial Engineering at Bogazici University. She completed the General Management programme at Harvard Business School in 2014, having started her professional career as a Research Assistant at Bogazici University. Ms Oner joined Sisecam Group in 1997 as a Logistics Engineer at Pasabahce Cam San ve Tic AS and later served in various management positions within the same organisation, before becoming Supply Chain Director at Trakya Cam AS. In 2017, she was appointed Group Procurement Co-ordinator at Turkiye Sise ve Cam Fabrikalari and was confirmed as Chief Procurement Officer for Sisecam Group in 2018.

In fulfilling this role, Dr Oner has developed substantial expertise in the building of effective sourcing strategies, based on the dynamic analysis of data and involving all business stakeholders. Extensive experience has been realised in the use of detailed market analysis to create scenarios regarding potential market development. In addition, she enjoys her responsibilities as an effective coach, leading teams through complex negotiation processes and overcoming the challenges posed by the current transformation era.

In terms of internal relationship management, Dr Oner assists others with the management of internal customer issues and expectations, while also exhibiting expertise in generating and analysing business cases and routinely showing a high level of value delivery and strategic awareness in financial and commercial areas, while displaying the ability to focus others on wider financial implications.

Supply chain management strategy

In order to successfully implement our company’s strategies, investments and growth plans and to continue our success story, we need to be strong and competent in all levels of our global supply chain, extending from our suppliers to customers” Dr Oner confirms.

Accordingly, the supply chain function plays an important role in the process of forming company strategies, which perceives the whole picture, manages decisions with an analytical approach and creates operational strategies aligned with corporate strategies.

Sisecam Group employs a customer-oriented structure and constructs its operational infrastructure and competencies in line with customer expectations. In this respect, the success of supply chain functions is important for the group in order to ensure accurate service levels in a stable and cost-efficient manner to establish and continuously develop a supply chain that can adapt to internal and external variables. Via the central restructuring of the procurement function within the past three years, important steps have been taken to reveal a holistic approach to the supply chain, providing significant cost advantages and effective risk management.

The group has been adopting digital transformation, not only in terms of digitising its production lines and facilities but also increasing the digital capabilities of the business units such as supply chain, finance and human resources. A holistic approach to this journey is a key focus, with Sisecam aiming to integrate business processes with innovative technologies.

According to Selma Oner, the ‘Roots and Wings’ digital transformation project is proceeding within the different Sisecam Group companies and its central functions. “The aim of this project is to empower the infrastructure in order to hasten digital transformation and enhance business processes” she explains. “Moreover, a complementary master data transformation project involves every business function within digital transformation. In addition, interpreting data in business processes by advanced analytics applications is to be an important focus and will lead to enhanced operational excellence.

When considering that the Sisecam global supply chain involves more than 40 production plants in 13 countries and over 10,000 active suppliers, it is suggested that digitalisation is key to the effective management of these operations. In particular, it will help to follow plant performances efficiently to take action and to maximise total profitability. “The ability to generate a price on a much wider basis lets us reduce our costs by nearly 6% every year” says Dr Oner. “When you have a bigger demand, it is easier to reach bigger suppliers and the prices decrease.”

Accordingly, Sisecam carries out comprehensive digital transformation programmes in many functions, while processes are designed and modernised in accordance with today’s business expectations and dynamics. In this way, it is aimed to integrate the systems in the supply chain to monitor all operations digitally, to establish decision processes on a high rate of data analysis and to increase decision-making agility to the highest level. In particular, different projects are carried out in order to support decision support processes with optimisation solutions. In addition, the Sisecam Academy organises comprehensive training programmes in order to raise awareness of digital transformation, to inform employees and to gain different perspectives.

Suppliers are expected to be aligned with these priorities” Selma Oner confirms. “We are increasingly expecting our suppliers to strengthen their planning competencies, effectively manage the variables in the market and their operations, maintain a high level of co-ordination with Sisecam and adopt a performance-oriented business approach.

Dedicated procurement team

In total, nearly 300 people make up Sisecam’s procurement team. Most are located in Turkey, Europe and Russia, focusing on operational excellence and sustainability, as well as supplier and risk management through digitalisation and the global procurement infrastructure.

Every year, approximately 70 product development projects are realised for alternative materials and supply. During those projects, Procurement Category Managers and Supplier Development Specialists work closely to identify possible development areas with suppliers that give a competitive edge in the market with advanced technological products. Site visits to strategic suppliers are undertaken during this product development phase.

A series of important criteria is employed when selecting individual suppliers of plant, equipment and materials for Sisecam projects. “As well as the bidding price, suppliers are evaluated according to their operational performance, financial stability, geopolitical risks, continuity risks, ethical compliance and a strategic ‘edge’, such as dependency of companies to suppliers or customers” Dr Oner explains. “We are planning to invest in a Supplier Suggestion system, through which we expect to receive improvement and innovation projects led by suppliers to help Sisecam maintain a competitive advantage.

Sisecam’s procurement transformation was initiated three years ago, focusing on optimisation and transparency throughout the value chain. “One of the group’s competitive advantages is its ability to operate an integrated supply chain” Selma Oner concludes.

Even though we are a glass producing company, we also operate upstream of our supply chain, producing chemicals and industrial raw materials. This shows that we are very strong in vertical integration throughout the entire supply chain.

Further Information: 

Sisecam Group, Istanbul, Turkey
web: www.sisecam.com


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