The supply chain
The group’s relations with 7,000 approved suppliers are based on ethics, transparency and mutual respect, focused on optimising economic performance and ensuring service quality.
The purchasing model was set up in 2004 with the aim of making purchasing more professional and optimising Group savings. It led to an increasing role for Aquanima, a specialist purchasing company and Grupo Santander subsidiary. Aquanima has a team of specialists covering all categories and uses a methodology that enables it to document negotiation processes in a system that ensures decision making traceability.
The Group’s main instrument for obtaining maximum savings, transparency and objectivity in procurement deals comes in the form of online or electronic negotiations that enable real-time competition between suppliers.
In 2012, the new supplier authorisation standard came into effect aimed at improving processes and optimising supplier management. Among other changes, the standard introduced a new supplier segmentation and began to take into account not only how much the Group spends annually with each supplier in each geographical area, but also the potential impact the suppliers’ products and services have on business.
During 2013, several activities were carried out to reinforce the management of our procurement processes and internal operations within a framework of sustainability, such as:
- A new control model being implemented in the various areas of the Group, which has its origin in the demand made on the part of internal auditing and whose main objective is to strengthen aspects of control over the purchasing function. This model is based on a series of indicators at key points that give off alarms of possible deviations from the target values and allow you to enable corrective action.
- With the objective of optimising the management of suppliers in a responsible manner, this year we have proceeded to modify the Policy for the Approval of Suppliers as far as sustainability aspects are concerned. We are focusing them towards complying with the Ten Principles of the Global Compact and we are extending the existence of certification related to environmental management, labour and social responsibility.
- The training of staff at Aquanima on sustainability also implies a reinforcement regarding the integration of the criteria of social responsibility in our internal operation. Training was given directly by sustainability areas of the Group’s entities.
Roughly 92% are locally-based, i.e. they operate in the same geographical area in which the purchase, service and billing are carried out.
As a basic tenet of sustainable procurement, in the main countries in which the Bank operates most contract suppliers are required to state that they respect and meet the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact, of which the Group has been a member since 2002.
A supplier approval process for direct tenders which incorporates sustainability criteria has been rolled out to the Group's main countries. Also, and to ensure transparency, users and suppliers taking part in direct tenders must declare any relationship with the Group. This requirement has been introduced in the main countries where the Group operates.