Better Together: Global Teamwork Ensures Excellent Customer Service

At LyondellBasell, we are committed to providing excellent customer service. A strong, loyal customer base is critical to our success. Biennially, the company hosts its own EXCELLENCE Awards ceremony to recognize its employees’ extraordinary work. The EXCELLENCE Awards mark the highest honor an employee can receive from the company. In the customer service award category, LyondellBasell highlights an individual or team who demonstrates exceptional and high-quality customer service to internal or external clients.

This year, the customer service award went to a team of employees who successfully mitigated a situation that could have become a major supply chain disruption. The team involved in devising a solution included employees from the company’s Rotterdam and Houston offices and Milan, Italy Customer Service Group and Wesseling, Germany Manufacturing Group.

The Situation

In 2019, a technical issue led to the shutdown of the company’s Morris, Illinois plant, which disrupted production of a product key for fuel tank production. The product was for a main customer, and an urgent solution was needed to ensure manufacturing was not impacted long-term. Getting the plant back up and running quickly called for hands-on global collaboration. Engineers from the company’s Wesseling, Germany plant were sent to Morris to help solve the problem and eventually restart the plant, but not before the shutdown presented a host of other challenges that also needed to be resolved right away.

One of the challenges of the shutdown resulted in LyondellBasell having to obtain and ship a specific customer product from its Wesseling, Germany plant. The logistics challenges were big. Many tasks needed to be tackled to ensure high-quality shipping from Germany to U.S. customers. Racing against the clock, the project team determined the best course of action was to ship the products via airfreight instead of by sea. The shipment time from Germany to the U.S. would have been prolonged by about four weeks, risking damaged customer relationships and additional costs for the company.

"Everyone on the taskforce was dedicated,” said Eileen Xiao, LyondellBasell senior account manager, Polyethylene Export. “We had daily calls and worked overtime to get it done.”

On-time customer delivery was the team’s focus. They managed critical details to align cargo space and airplane schedules for loading and distribution, in addition to ensuring the right documentation for customs and compliance.

Zahir Omar, LyondellBasell transportation procurement buyer, a new father at the time, joked, "my one-year-old baby was also a member of the project team."    

The agility and teamwork of these employees allowed the company to supply customers without any impact. LyondellBasell employee Zuzanna Frans, responsible for the production schedule and new to her role during the shutdown, noted that the achievement was a global effort, and although the pressure was huge, the initiative allowed every individual and the entire team to grow.

The winning project team included: Breanne Burkett, Jeff Crosby, Sabrina D’Aragona, Scott Dunk, Zuzanna Frans, Anna Jedrzejewska-Gross, James Krohn, Elena Kusman, Zahir Omar, Annukka Partanen, Colin Roberts, Michael Schuch, Germana Simonato and Eileen Xiao.

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