We deal openly and honestly with our business partners. We expect our business partners to adhere to business principles consistent with internationally accepted ethical standards.
Bekaert has a strong presence in diverse sectors. This makes Bekaert less sensitive to sector-specific trends and it also benefits our customers, because solutions we develop for customers in one sector often form the basis of innovations in others.
Sectorial breakdown of Bekaert’s combined sales in 2018:
Bekaert Japan celebrated its 50th anniversary in June 2018 at the Belgian embassy in Tokyo. Country manager Masayuki Nakatsuji and his team invited key customers and suppliers to the celebration. In their speeches, CEO Matthew Taylor and then EVP North Asia Jun Liao emphasized the importance of Japanese corporations for Bekaert, both from a business and a cultural perspective, highlighting what binds us: “We have the same urge to seek improvement and excellence, to be the best of the best, to be ‘dantotsu’.” Bekaert produces steel fiber products in Japan, and works closely with many Japanese companies as a preferred supplier for their global manufacturing organizations.
As an example of bringing customers into the heart of our business, the Bekaert Mexico team organized a workshop for livestock farmers on how to install fencing products.
Belgo Bekaert Arames took the first prize in two online surveys among ranchers and farmers. The newspaper O Popular and agribusiness magazine Revista AG each organized an online survey polling ranchers to choose their favorite companies in specific categories. In both surveys, Belgo Bekaert Arames was chosen as the top of mind wire company, earning the company a Pop List award (O Popular) and a Touro de Ouro (Revista AG).
Growing customer insight is not only relevant to our marketing & sales or business development teams. Bekaert organizes a Customer Week every year in various locations around the world. Through information sessions, workshops and customer visits, employees from all departments learned about who our customers are and how we can best serve them.
In 2018, we further expanded the concept geographically. Bekaert Wire Indonesia, for instance, organized the event for the first time. Four key customers came to display the products they manufacture with Bekaert steel wire and shared information on what they find important in terms of quality and service. Meeting customers in person and learning more about their processes, products and markets, made the event a true eye-opener for our employees.
We actively cooperate with customers in sustainability initiatives. We support our customers’ sustainability programs by implementing specific actions in our respective policies and by joining sustainability initiatives and standards to accommodate their priorities. Acting as a socially and environmentally responsible supplier helps our customers achieve their sustainability targets too.
More than 80% of Bekaert’s global portfolio of R&D projects targets distinct benefits in terms of health & safety and the environment. They help achieve the sustainability ambitions of our customers and of our own operations. These R&D projects consist of innovations that:
It is our aim to increase the share of R&D efforts with a direct sustainability link to 90% by 2025. Therefore, we have added a specific classification in our R&D project management tool, to enhance measurement and prioritization.
The 2018 edition of the Global Tire Tech Forum organized by the China Tire Industry Association (CRIA) was held in Hefei City, Anhui Province. More than 260 international and Chinese representatives from all players in the tire supply chain participated to the event.
Bekaert was invited to give a key note speech on super tensile/ultra tensile steel cord developments supporting the reduction of tire weight and rolling resistance. The event was a perfect opportunity to meet up with industry peers and customers interested in value creating solutions for the tire industry.
In co-developing new products with customers, Bekaert pays particular attention to the confidentiality and secrecy of customer and research data. As a market and technology leader in various markets, we are aware of the compliance rules and the necessity to have the systems and behavior in place to ensure intellectual property rights and data privacy. Bekaert has received no formal complaints from customers regarding such potential infringements.
In 2018, Bekaert implemented all necessary measures, policies, procedures and processes in order to be GDPR compliant. The confidentiality principles on data privacy of this EU regulation are obviously also respected towards our customers worldwide.
We work closely with customers and suppliers by engaging in co-development projects, by conducting feedback initiatives and satisfaction surveys, and by performing industry analyses together. Customer surveys are executed annually or bi-annually in all sectors and regions and are based on either standard methodologies or customized on request of the specific customer.
(GRI 102-43 + GRI 102-44)
To better service agricultural fencing customers, Bekaert North America is developing an online self-service portal. Customers have been invited to share their feedback with the purpose of making an interface that truly adds value to them. This fits in Bekaert’s strategy of installing customer excellence.
Bekaert completed a Net Promotor Score (NPS) Survey across all businesses and on a global scale. In 2017, the first customer group covered 50% of Bekaert’s Top 80% revenue customers. In May 2018, the remaining 50% were asked to participate. It was the first time that Bekaert organized a global, full scope NPS survey.
The combined score from both phases was 49, much higher than the average for international B2B manufacturing companies. The survey gauged the loyalty of customer relationships by measuring the likelihood that customers would recommend Bekaert to other companies, colleagues or business partners. ICMA Group, an independent market research agency, handled the coordination and analysis of the survey.
The Net Promotor Scores for international B2B manufacturing companies usually average 20 to 30. Bekaert was very pleased with the score of 49. Furthermore, the 28% response rate, compared to a typical benchmark of 10% to 15% for online surveys, reflects the high level of commitment of our customers to work closely together as business partners.
The more important results for Bekaert are those for each business activity and region, from which we can learn to better understand and improve customer relations and excellence. A new NPS survey is planned for 2019.
(GRI 102-43 + GRI 102-44)
Apart from customer-specific R&D, Bekaert also seeks international partnerships with universities and research institutes to foster open innovation on various research themes. The academic partnerships particularly focus on physical metallurgy, metallic coatings and modeling. In 2018, we continued our cooperation programs with academic institutions, technology clusters and research partners from different parts of the world. Two partnerships were added in 2018: University of Eindhoven (The Netherlands) and University of Prague (Czech Republic).