Our business depends on building partnerships with our stakeholders, especially our customers. Our trust-based relationships are driven through our five values: Integrity; Commitment; Passion; Seamlessness; and Speed. By carefully nurturing these ties, based on a consistent high quality product, excellent service and global supply security, we can build strong and lasting links with our customers.
Our objective is to develop long-term relationships through customer engagement that align our sustainability agendas. To achieve this objective, we have established a cross-functional engagement model, through which we deploy our key account management (KAM) program.
This engagement model is designed to increase touch points within the customer’s organization, enabling us to remain aligned to their priorities and focus on building truly valuable partnerships. Our success is assessed by the extent to which our product portfolio interests our customers. Based on these engagements, we have also been able to develop timely new products to meet customer needs.
To facilitate an open dialogue with our customers, we launched a Customer Satisfaction Survey in FY2014. The second annual survey held in FY2015 provided us with valuable feedback: our customer satisfaction levels continue to be high.
In addition, we implemented the Net Promoter Score (NPS1) in FY2015, which asks our customers to rank Birla Carbon’s performance against our peers. NPS is calculated based on how customers respond to a single question: On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend Birla Carbon to a business partner or a friend? The responses are then compiled and compared.
After a year of implementation across all of the regions, it is still too early for Birla Carbon to draw solid conclusions from the NPS. We are continuing to collect responses actively and are working on refining the overall system. Early indicators suggest that our results are good: we have a great deal of pleased and loyal customers across all regions. We have also determined the specific motives behind those who did not score us highly, and we are actively problem-solving with the intention of improving customer loyalty.
Transparency is key to building joint strategic sustainability approaches. Our customers regularly visit our manufacturing locations and offices to conduct audits, during which they review our processes. Our customers highly value global supply security, which our business continuity strategy and risk management approach is designed to ensure.
In FY2016, we engaged with several of our customers and their sustainability teams to discuss and review our materiality assessment. We also discussed our carbon black Life Cycle Assessment approach, supporting their own product LCAs.
We also partner with our customers to better understand their expectations for new products and their sustainable attributes. For instance, rolling resistance is a key concern for our tire customers. Our objective is to develop and commercialize new carbon black grades to further lower the rolling resistance of the next generation of tires. These tires will consume less energy in vehicle propulsion, resulting in greater fuel economy, thus emitting less CO2.
Engaging with Key Customers
We are immensely proud of the relationships that we have built with our customers. These mutually beneficial relationships not only provide the foundations for good business, but also for aligning our sustainability vision.
In FY2016, Pirelli invited us to participate in their Global Stakeholder Dialogue, aimed at consulting its stakeholders on their sustainability strategy. Policy-makers, academics, suppliers, the financial community, customers and NGOs took part in this event to help Pirelli validate and refine their sustainability approach.
Mr. Filippo Bettini, Chief Sustainability and Risk Governance Officer, initiated the dialogue with a presentation of Pirelli’s Sustainability Plan 2020 plan, achievements, and challenges to date. The group then reviewed and discussed Pirelli’s materiality assessment, considering the evolving global context with a focus on macroeconomic uncertainty, increasing regulatory framework, changes in social behavior and demographic trends.
With the aim of gathering further information to anticipate and prepare for the future, Pirelli formed three stakeholder working groups, to share perspectives on the evolution of areas relevant to their business:
Birla Carbon joined the product lifecycle discussion, in which raw materials sustainable innovation was faced as a key element towards Pirelli’s product carbon footprint reduction targets.
Our customers want to see that we swiftly respond to their feedback through robust processes and procedures. If a product-related issue is brought to our attention, scientists from our technology centers assess the problem before issuing a detailed report. All customer dissatisfaction, whether regarding products, sales or the supply chain, is reviewed thoroughly before responding to the customer.
1The NPS model, developed by and registered to Fred Reicheld, Bain & Company and Satmetrix, measures customer loyalty by asking for direct feedback.
Partnerships for the Goals
We engage with our customers to search for more sustainable business approaches.
Key Account Management (KAM) program developed to foster stronger customer relations