Frank Vorrath, Johnson Controls: “We are undergoing a bi-modal transformation”

The fact that most of us can maintain a comfortable temperature in our homes and places of work is thanks to the founder of Johnson Controls, Warren Johnson. In 1883 he invented the electrical thermostat and started what today is a $37 billion business. Based in Milwaukee, Wis. USA, with 150,000 employees worldwide, heating and cooling systems, that optimize energy and operational costs in buildings, remain part of its core business.

By Helen Armstrong

It is also the world’s largest manufacturer of automotive batteries, including lithium-ion battery technology, and it makes automotive seating, a business it is in the process of spinning off. The spin-off is part of the transformation Johnson Controls is undergoing to enable it to become one of the most operationally capable companies in the world. As we enter an era of smart buildings that have a variety of embedded technologies, the company is well positioned as a global leader in building products and technology, integrated solutions and energy storage.

The company’s planned merger with Tyco, a global fire and security provider, later this year will bring together product, technology and service capabilities to serve various end markets including large institutions, commercial buildings, retail, industrial, small business and residential.


Frank Vorrath, Vice President Global Supply Chain, Johnson Controls:
“We are undergoing a bi-modal transformation of the front and back end”


This presents new opportunities for the company’s supply chain operations, says Frank Vorrath, 45, Vice President Global Supply Chain. With 20 years’ experience in supply chain and logistics management, Vorrath was hired in 2015 to lead Johnson Controls’ global supply chain. Married to Nicki and with two children. Vorrath lives in Germany since 2012 and commutes between two offices in Germany, in Hanover and Burscheid, and Milwaukee, Wis. USA.

What is your responsibility regarding the supply chain? “My role is leading the enterprise supply chain excellence transformation. The company began its transformation journey in 2013 in manufacturing, where historically we have been very strong, and extended it in 2015 to its supply chain networks. Supply Chain Excellence is a key element of the Johnson Controls Operating System, which is being implemented enterprise-wide to establish, reinforce and leverage best practices, standardising the company approach to operations. My role is strategic and involves setting the direction for our Supply Chain Excellence transformation combined with change management and ensuring the organization is aligned.”

What is the strategy of the company: Operational excellence, product leadership or customer intimacy?

“Our aim is to become the most operationally capable company in the world which means advancing operational excellence that is built on efficiency and a strong drive to lower total cost. But we do not neglect product leadership and, most importantly, being responsive to our customers’ needs. Our role in the supply chain is to build end-to-end capabilities that help our company establish a strong and competitive ecosystem. I believe that in the future a company won’t just compete against another company. Rather every company will be part of an ecosystem. Success will depend on how a company can develop a strong and sustainable network that creates value for all partners and serves the customer in better ways. Our vision and strategy in Supply Chain Excellence is to support our organization in its drive for greater efficiencies, higher quality, lower costs and stronger customer relationships. In this way we can create a competitive advantage so that customers choose Johnson Controls.”

What are main business challenges that drive supply chain pro jects at the moment?

… Read more …

supply-chain-movement-22-q3-2016This article was first published in Supply Chain Movement 22 – Q3 | 2016

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