Purchasing and materials management

Purchasing is a shared service provided by the HHLA Group’s management holding company in Hamburg. HHLA Group purchasing supports corporate strategy by means of its professional management of procurement activities. The aim is to establish a consolidated supplier base that is characterised by maximum , top quality and optimum life cycle costs.

HHLA’s supply chains comprise capital goods (such as port handling equipment) as well as consumables and other services (such as maintenance). The overwhelming majority of suppliers are from Germany and other European countries.

The strategic purchasing function supports and advises Group companies as part of its holistic management of product groups, suppliers and contracts so that the service and performance requirements of internal customers are met as completely as possible. Market developments relating to new technologies, innovations and the service performance of specific suppliers are considered in close cooperation with the operations and technology departments. Now that the transformation of the purchasing department has largely been completed, it is firmly established as a strategic partner within the Group. It is involved in procurement projects at an early stage, providing value-adding support and expert advice on market, supplier and innovation developments. In this regard, the purchasing department ensures that all Group requirements for the procurement processes are observed in accordance with the framework guidelines. These guidelines are binding for all employees.

In order to develop viable future solutions for port infrastructure, HHLA remains committed to its strategic and collaborative partnerships with selected suppliers while taking into account both economic and ecological aspects. Products, facilities and processes are systematically enhanced by drawing on the potential of digitalisation.

When selecting partners, great importance is attached to reliability, quality, innovative strength, cost structure, economic stability, sustainability and compliance. Compliance with these criteria is monitored by an IT-based supplier management system. This also facilitates a continuous review of the degree of fulfilment and the supplier base.

A comprehensive project for the consolidation of the existing product groups was launched in 2021. As a result, there will be three main product groups in future: technical purchasing (generally comprising the previous equipment & energy and MRO groups), construction purchasing, information technology (IT) and indirect purchasing. In 2021, the technical product group accounted for 43.9 % of the Group’s managed purchasing volume, while IT, indirect services and materials accounted for 25.4 % and construction for 30.7 %. The total managed purchasing volume amounted to approximately € 232 million.

The challenges resulting from the pandemic, such as price increases and capacity shortages, have been effectively counteracted so far by the Group’s preventive risk management. For example, alternative suppliers were swiftly turned to when needed, and their numbers increased.

We continued to drive the automation of purchasing processes for day-to-day requirements. In the reporting period, 56.5 % of all purchasing processes were handled fully automatically by means of the systems (previous year: 48.1 %). The main increase was in the automation of procured stock items. This enables us to streamline processes and ensure both non-bureaucratic procedures and compliance with process standards. By systematically continuing these optimisation and automation measures, further automation potential is expected for the 2022 financial year, in particular as a result of an updated e-procurement system that went live at the start of 2022.

The automation of processes is also continuing in materials management. A system was rolled out to support mobile working. The first stage involved mapping the inventory processes. Further activities like incoming and outgoing goods are to be gradually switched over.

In the area of process optimisations, vehicle fleet management was improved in 2021. The previously decentralised structures were revised and centralised as part of a project managed by employees of the department. Another example is the optimisation of building cleaning services. Uniform Group standards were implemented here, marking the beginning of standardisations in the facility management department.

After mainly focusing on optimising the key procurement topics in 2019 and 2020, the purchasing department concentrated again on strategic alignment and modelling the entire process chain in 2021. Its efforts centred on the issue of product group management. This was implemented for the top product groups. The concept will be rolled out to other product goods in the coming years. Supplier management is a further key topic. Plans include the replacement of the tool currently used for supplier management in 2022. The aim is to use a standardised and integrated system as part of the revised catalogue tool.

The department also continues to focus on centralising and mapping Group standards. The objective over the coming years is to integrate foreign associates more closely.

Value added

Production value – intermediate inputs (cost of materials, depreciation and amortisation, and other operating expenses); the value added generated is shared between the HHLA Group’s stakeholders, such as employees, shareholders, lenders and the local community.