As Oman Air transitions from a regional carrier to a global airline, it also is creating a lean, quality-oriented supply chain, says Fred Vessali, who was hired as general manager for supply chain management in early 2011.

“In the past, our practice was to go out and get three quotations for any of the goods or services we were going to procure and look at who was the cheapest,” says Vessali. “Today, we want to be more value-added and work strategically with our suppliers.”

One example: Vessali is not only creating report cards to measure the performance of its suppliers, Oman Air asks its best suppliers to score how it is performing as a customer.

In 2011, Oman Air laid the foundation for that change. Vessali’s team implemented a program for continuous improvement, outlined new processes for procurement, inventory management and logistics and achieved ISO accreditation for its quality management system. “As part of this program, we created new quality metrics, a new quality policy and supply chain management core values,” says Vessali. “We are also running workshops focused on lean methodologies within the department and sending some of our people for Six Sigma and lean management training in Dubai.”

In 2012, Vessali plans to roll out the new processes he just designed. “Ultimately, the thing that we are trying to achieve is a total solution for supply chain management,” he says.