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 2019:
Bekaert has production facilities and sales offices in 44 countries and builds lasting relationships with customers and suppliers, wherever we do business.
Our geographic presence and product offering are aligned with the local business opportunities and demand.
In 2019, multi-functional teams of the Bekaert plants in Russia, Turkey and India visited the respective neighboring tire plants of Yokohama and Bridgestone to learn how our tire cord is processed. They also saw first-hand how important it is to deliver consistent high-quality products, as the slightest variations can have serious effects on the production process of tires.
Such meetings and visits contribute to building constructive customer-supplier relationships. The teams exchanged ideas about customer stewardship, mini-company approaches and safety programs, and concluded that even after working on common goals for many years, they can still learn from each other.
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 Bekaert plant in Hlohovec received a Supplier Premier award from our customer Eaton for the delivery of hose reinforcement wire products. Eaton especially appreciated the on-time delivery, the faultless quality and our business relationship in general.
Our colleagues from Bekaert in Sládkovicovo received a supplier award from Michelin for their efforts in ensuring customer satisfaction.
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.
Bekaert has implemented all necessary measures, policies, procedures and processes in order to be and remain 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.
By increasing our insights in our markets, competitors and our customers, we will continue our focus on value creation. One way of gauging what our customers expect from us, is the Net Promotor Survey. The overall score for the Net Promoter Survey this year was 44, a confirmation of the strong results last year, compared to the Net Promotor Score benchmark of 20 for international B2B manufacturing companies.
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 2019, we continued our international cooperation programs with academic institutions, technology clusters and research partners.