Cost leadership

Energy & alternative fuels and raw materials (AFR)

The Energy stream recorded substantial improvements in energy efficiency that contributed to reducing energy consumption. Initiatives in the areas of electrical energy management, grinding and fuel-mix optimization, and productivity improvement were key drivers for the performance achieved. In addition, Holcim launched and implemented the STAAR program (strategic and technical assessment of AFR business), further increasing the use of alternative fuels and raw materials and supporting the Sustainable Development Ambition 2030 of the Group. The implementation of the compliance program for ACERT (AFR certification) ensured transparent and sustainable operation of the AFR business under the strong global Geocycle brand.

Several ongoing or completed activities have created a sustainable base for continuous efficiency improvements, which will be leveraged further in the future. Energy and AFR exceeded their targeted savings of CHF 300 million by CHF 24 million, contributing total benefits of CHF 324 million.

Logistics

Logistics is a key topic within Holcim not only because of the size of the Group but also due to the different locations and the diversity of the plants. As part of the Holcim Leadership Journey, the Logistics stream launched and executed several local programs. Major contributions were achieved through network optimization, through which inter-unit and distribution flows were optimized. Third-party logistics sourcing assessments and improvements, increased capacity utilization, and other operational planning programs supported the generation of savings.

Logistics realized total savings of CHF 267 million, overachieving the announced target of CHF 250 million.

Procurement

As part of the comprehensive transformation of procurement across the Group, the global category management approach has been firmly established. The category management approach relies upon cross-functional interaction and requires integrated management. Within the Holcim Leadership Journey, global category management has been rolled out ahead of schedule, with global as well as regional governing councils put in place. Focus is on workforce training and capability building to ensure sustainable results.

The procurement transformation is nearly complete, with strong support and collaboration from all areas of the business. The Procurement function has firmly established a base for the category management approach to fully exploit its potential. The projected savings potential of CHF 250 million was exceeded with a total contribution of cost savings of CHF 438 million.

Fixed costs

Holcim has always strived for optimization and reduction of its fixed costs. The economic environment in 2012 and subsequent years compelled the Group to adapt its structure and footprint to the challenging market conditions. A variety of local initiatives was executed, which contributed substantially to the savings achieved through the Fixed Costs stream. Significant traction was achieved already in the first full year of the Holcim Leadership Journey, and the contribution target for total fixed costs (CHF 250 million) was exceeded, with CHF 255 million being realized already in 2013. In 2014 the Fixed costs stream achieved additional savings of CHF 111 million. Contributing to the stream’s performance were not only local initiatives but also process excellence, further restructuring measures, and the establishment of business shared service centers. The complementary strong emphasis on net working capital reduction supported this development.

The Fixed costs stream contributed cumulative savings of CHF 405 million, representing a key factor in the success of the Holcim Leadership Journey.