Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics with Radu Palamariu

#45: Paul Graham Chief Supply Chain Officer of Woolworths Group

June 04, 2019 Season 1 Episode 45
Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics with Radu Palamariu
#45: Paul Graham Chief Supply Chain Officer of Woolworths Group
Chapters
Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics with Radu Palamariu
#45: Paul Graham Chief Supply Chain Officer of Woolworths Group
Jun 04, 2019 Season 1 Episode 45
Radu Palamariu
Paul serves as Chief Supply Chain Officer at Woolworths Group, the largest supermarket chain in Australia.
Show Notes Transcript

Paul serves as Chief Supply Chain Officer at Woolworths Group, the largest supermarket chain in Australia. Prior to this, Paul was Global Chief Operating Officer and Chief Executive Officer for Europe, Middle East and Africa for DHL Supply Chain.

Paul has also been a board member of one of Australia’s largest wholesale and grower produce companies La Manna Group, Executive Chairman of a large multibillion-dollar marketing services business Williams Lea-Tag and has served on various government and university-linked advisory boards. 

Discover more details here.

Some of the highlights of the episode:

  • Data movement is actually more important than the physical movement of goods.
  • “Collaboration is going to be a key part of any future strategy, particularly around supply chain.”
  • The Supply chain strategy of Woolworths to counter the competition from e-Commerce players.
  • Meeting customer’s need and expectation – delivering fresh food.
  • “One of the challenges that we’re going to have in supply chain is the hunt for talent – intricate skill sets around technology automation, planning, and predictive analytics are going to be challenging.”


Follow us on:

Instagram: http://bit.ly/2Wba8v7
Twitter: http://bit.ly/2WeulzX
Linkedin: http://bit.ly/2w9YSQX
Facebook: http://bit.ly/2HtryLd



Support the show

Speaker 1:
0:00
Hello and welcome to the leaders in supply chain podcast. I am your host, Randy Palomar, you managing director of Elequil global. Our mission is to connect this [inaudible] ecosystem in Asia and globally by bringing forward the most interesting leaders in the industry. And it is my pleasure to have with us today. Paul Henry Graham also serves as chief supply chain officer, will work group the largest supermarket chain in Australia. And prior to this he was global chief operating officer and chief executive officer for Europe, Middle East and Africa for DHL supply chain. All has also been a board member of one of Australia's largest wholesaling grower produce companies. Lamana group. He is the executive chairman of a large multi billion dollar marketing services businesses, Williams Lea tag and has served on various government and university linq device reports. He has also been awarded the Public Service Medal by the government of Singapore for services to the logistics industry. Paul, it's a pleasure to have you with us and thank you for taking the time today.
Speaker 2:
0:58
My pleasure. Thank you.
Speaker 1:
1:00
Um, so let's start, maybe if you can, if you can tell us a little bit about your, your beginnings. Uh, I know that your career spends in across many, many years. How did you, how did you start? How did you end up in supply chain logistics? What's your story?
Speaker 2:
1:15
Yeah, interesting story. Um, I uh, was, uh, left the school, didn't go to university, uh, took a summer job working in a country called Emery air freight at the time. Uh, and, uh, basically just helping out around the office. Uh, in the days when we had telex machines, rarely. So I would sit in the morning and split the telexes is down one for the office manager, one for the following cabinet and one going to my supervisor at the time. Uh, and, uh, I enjoyed getting on the machine in the morning and talking to people all over the world. Uh, and uh, really, um, I guess, uh, found that exciting and then really went from there into customer service, sales operations. Uh, and the rest they say is history, but I like the people aspect of it. I like the service aspect of it. And I really enjoyed the fact that, uh, you know, who are helping people and building with companies on a global basis.
Speaker 1:
2:10
Yeah. Wow. Fascinating. Cause originally I'll talk just a little bit further because I know that your background is extremely diverse and also extremely international. So you're, you're by birth, you're from Northern Ireland and then, um, and then you spent, you know, you spend time pretty much all over the place. Rates are, you are, you are in Europe, you were in, in Asia for many, many years. Now you're in Australia. Um, um, how did you, I mean, how did you also ended up working in all these places, in all these continents? What was there, you know, was there a trait of storyline treat?
Speaker 2:
2:46
Yeah, there was no, there was no master plan. As I said, I ended up in the industry sort of by default. Really loved the people aspect of it. Uh, you know, uh, love the fact that, you know, talking to different people around the world. Um, uh, I came Australia as a, as a migrant, a typical sort of a migrant, uh, in, in the, uh, early days. Uh, leaving what was then a pretty troubled Northern Ireland. And I guess, you know, my father was in the, uh, in the armed forces. So I spent the first three years of my life living in Malta and where he was based and then we moved around. So I guess the, the moving aspect of it, uh, I don't know how many times I've moved now. My wife can probably tell you better.
Speaker 1:
3:26
Uh,
Speaker 2:
3:28
it became a, you know, an aspect that, that, that that's always been part of my, uh, uh, my career. And it primarily was around the fact that it was an interest in people and interested in cultures and really wanting to, uh, uh, I guess, uh, stimulate myself with parts of the world. And, uh, you know, I still have that interest in, uh, it's been a great part of my career, that ability to, uh, you know, travel the world and, uh, and work in many different geographies, some wonderful people.
Speaker 1:
3:59
And also you have this, um, this part of, I mean it's also you have a very interesting background in a sense that you've seen both sides of the coin or what many people in industry can see the both sides of the coin. You've been for many years with DHL, which is, which is a leader in the logistics side and you've, you had significant experience now with Woolworth and, and with other, with other boards that you're sitting on also on the, on the supply chain, on the retail side, on, on, on, on that side of the business. So you kind of have both. And one question that we got, um, from one of our listeners, if all comes from the three pl side, uh, and he was, he was curious what would be three nuggets maybe from a project or process or type of people perspective. It doesn't matter that you took from the three pl side, the client side and made a lot of difference.
Speaker 2:
4:49
Yeah, good question. Uh, you know, having spent large card, my career, you sit on the three pl side dealing with many, many different industries in different stages of development and transformation, different challenges. Uh, I think, uh, you know, it's interesting to understand the dynamics and the speed, uh, in retail, particularly at the moment the industry is going through, uh, you know, revolutionary change in terms of the demands that customers have, uh, the, uh, the speed at which we need to move to satisfy those demands. Um, and I think what it, uh, it highlighted is that, you know, on the three pl side, you know, we have many skills sets that are applicable to many different industries. And I was able to identify that, uh, you know, it's important that we don't just think and I structured, you know, this is a retail law, therefore all apply our retail solutions to this.
Speaker 2:
5:40
Um, you know, there are different solutions that really, uh, come to play in that. So if you look at now online shopping and the speed at which you know, you need to pick and water and meet that, uh, type of, um, urgency, uh, uh, there's not a lot of difference in that between picking urgent spare part for a computer that's broken down and trying to get that to an engineer to fix as well. So I think we can apply, uh, a number of skillsets that come from the diversity that three pl deals with, uh, to, uh, problem solving, you know, for retailers or for others. I think the other side is to, uh, understand that, you know, a customer doesn't really want your margin in the three pl side. What they want is for you to get rid of your inefficiency. And I think we need to be much more vocal on both sides of the fence, the call out, the practices and processes that drive in efficiency for both parties. And I think sometimes that's either a subservient relationship or retire ourselves up in contracts so much, uh, that we get away from actually moving opportunities that will drive out costs and improve efficiency. I think the three pl is still sometimes look at any of those actions is that means the of the customer trying to reduce the market. I think the customer recognizes you need to make money and should be satisfied. The fact that you're making money, what they want to hear and efficiency.
Speaker 1:
7:09
Um, and, and in terms of the, you mentioned speed and you mentioned the, well, the, pretty much the retail world is, is, is changed or has been changed dramatically from the, uh, emergence and the kind of constant growth of ecommerce. Um, do you have a supply chain strategy? I mean, I'm sure you do that actually, but you know, what, what is this place and stretches you Woolworth when it comes to countering maybe the competition from, from ecommerce players?
Speaker 2:
7:38
Okay. Yeah, I mean, you know, in the food business, probably slightly different from the general merchandise and business, but you know, you mentioned there about the change in consumer habits. Uh, you know, customers shopping now seven days a week, uh, customers wanting to receive product, uh, you know, deliver it to their own within a two hour window, one hour window. Um, uh, you know, wanting to use, uh, you know, the, the, the browser and the, the Internet to validate, you know, what specials are on, what products are available, uh, and really have a very low tolerance. Right. Uh, I'll, uh, the fact that you don't have a product in stock, particularly if it's a product with some promotion or that the quality of your product is not up to their expectations. So, you know, where we may have had in the past more static supply chains, lodge, you know, dcs, uh, running to a fairly regulated schedule, uh, lost that, still critically important and moves the vast majority of the volume.
Speaker 2:
8:39
Uh, you know, the online, uh, business, uh, is requiring a very different mindset and a very different supply chain. Uh, clients are becoming less and less tolerant observers, failure, uh, becoming less tolerant. I'll, you know, product not being to the quality that, and I think all of that, you know, puts a substantial pressure on supply chain and the ability that we need to have to be much more nimble and much more agile. Uh, so going, uh, you know, I take the sort of analogy that, um, you know, if you take the old days of the, uh, of the airlines where you had national carriers, I ran to a schedule, but my had a price and that's what you had to pay and you had to go with their schedule. And then the budget carriers came in and really change the nature of how we fly and really saw the value in standardization and reducing waste and getting quick turnaround time, et Cetera, et cetera.
Speaker 2:
9:34
So, you know, the retail and consumer landscape is going to that change as well. Uh, no longer, uh, there's a customer, uh, have to be pushed into a certain format and a certain way of, of shopping. Uh, you know, they can do, uh, what they want to do from the comfort of the lounge room at home. Uh, and that creates significant new challenges, but also exciting challenges I think for supply chain. And that's also, you know, rally while we've seen supply chain now really become a much more prominent factor in business, uh, particularly retail businesses. Uh, because people recognize that you can have the best merchandiser, the best buyer, uh, have the best promotion plan. Uh, but at that product's not available. Uh, then, you know, customers have significant choice these days, and I will take that up, uh, their business elsewhere. So we're saying in supply chain now, uh, you know, in the role of chief supply chain officers or whatever, they may be called a really been a, a, a much more critical part of the overall, uh, you know, business strategy rather than being seen as a, as a service. Um, uh, that comes in after the event. It's now becoming, uh, you know, front and center of the ability to actually enable, uh, a strategy to be a successful and particularly around retail.
Speaker 1:
10:53
MMM. MMM. Oh, absolutely. And I mean, it's, it's, it, the, the fundamental changes that we're, whereas before maybe, uh, in order to compare prices and whatever it may be as consumers and as all of us, maybe you had to go to two shops. Now you can do it in a, in a living room basically with the convenience of your phone and, and browsing the web. So that makes it a lot, a lot easier. And, um, and it also comes with a huge set of challenges for the, for the retailers and for, for everybody's selling things, but pretty much because, um, yeah, consumers is, expectations have increased dramatically. Um, and it must be quite, quite a challenge also in terms of differentiating yourselves. So you find another question that'd be good, right? In terms of, you know, you need to at in, in Australia you need to differentiate yourselves from the other retailers. There's one, but you also need to, um, and I mean I think Amazon has a pretty strong presence in Australia and there's other ecommerce into, and do they present, um, uh, that, that prison there? How do you differentiate and how also do you leverage, because obviously being the largest supermarket chain, you have advantages in terms of scale then in terms of network. Um, so how, how do you set yourself apart?
Speaker 2:
12:09
Yeah, look at, it remains a challenge, I think for all retailers. You know, for us it's about the customer experience. It's about, uh, you know, putting our team in the stores well first and making sure that they have, uh, all the tools, uh, and, uh, worked with. They need to create the best customer experience in store. Obviously having a range of products, uh, that are, uh, you know, uh, attractive to the customer, uh, that meet the needs of those customers, be it in a certain demographic area, certain ethnic area, um, and having, you know, a range that suits their personal needs as well as the broader community needs. And also, I think, you know, being seen as a positive contributor to the community and to society, we are, uh, you know, presence in every community around the country and we take no, very seriously the responsibility you have to serve in those communities.
Speaker 2:
13:04
We employ a lot of people in those communities and looking at, no, how do we use products from those communities. So it is about, you know, culture and the experience that the customer has when they come into the store or shop online. Uh, and within a supply chain, it's, it's creating the framework, uh, to enable, uh, our stores to provide, you know, the very best service, making sure they've got the perfect order, the limit to them, obviously in the safest way possible, uh, and making life simpler for them, uh, so that they can spend their time serving customers, uh, making sure that the product, uh, you know, looks great and, uh, in the stocks are available. Um, uh, but I'd say, you know, to constant a day to day a challenge. And as the, uh, habits of retailers change and consumers change and we see demographic changes and we see, you know, uh, focus on healthier food or, uh, in a more Vegan type of, uh, uh, of, uh, requirements. Uh, then all those things need to be satisfied. Uh, and you know, dovetailed into the, uh, the overall plan. And as I say, you know, when they do that, uh, there is, uh, always, you know, a, a ripple effect to go through supply chain, right. The way through, obviously to that, to the supplier themselves.
Speaker 1:
14:24
Hmm. And, and this, this also has to do a lot with, um, being able then close to, uh, and being able to monitor the customer trends and being close to the customer needs as a lot to do with technology. Um, and, and pretty much we've seen huge changes and transformations that are being on that are ongoing and being enabled because of technology, um, uh, nowadays in supply chain. And one question that we got, which is a very good one, is how do you see in general that the role of technology right in, in supply chain and, and do you see, you know, uh, things like, uh, I don't know, machine learning, Internet of things, uh, uh, big data in terms of how do you see it in terms of transforming and helping you with your supply chain operations?
Speaker 2:
15:12
Yeah, look, but my belief now is that, you know, we've, we've sort of reached the tipping point. I think now that the movement of data is actually more important than the physical movement of goods. Um, you know, if you can provide at the right information from a trusted source where the, you know, you're the end customer, the supplier, the transport or the shipping line, the three pl, uh, that, uh, we can all look at that same single source of data. And we know that that data is accurate. Uh, that allows us to, uh, make far better decisions. Uh, even, uh, where it relates to a, uh, a customer experience that is, uh, maybe disappointing because the delivery is light. Uh, but if they trust that data and it says, okay, we will be 30 minutes late, then you can actually turn that experience into a more positive one because they know over time that, uh, the information we're giving them is accurate.
Speaker 2:
16:08
So the world of big data is upon us and how we assimilate and use that data is absolutely critical. Uh, both in terms of making better decisions, not just decisions based on, uh, we active, uh, situations where we know something has gone wrong, but also big data in terms of looking at proactive, uh, changes. So you knowing that a well of funders coming in and could cause traffic disruption and then using predictive analytics to estimate what that will do to the road network and how you then change your delivery schedule to accommodate that. Um, having, you know, predictive analytics and big data, uh, looking at, uh, you know, uh, historical forecast in an overlaying that to future forecasting. Uh, and how you then manage your, uh, you know, your volume throws volume flow, sorry, through your network. Uh, so we are in the age of big data.
Speaker 2:
17:04
The challenge we have is that we have many stakeholders involved and what we need to do is continue to collaborate. Uh, we need to continue to develop, uh, applications in, in open language, uh, and uh, build our API's and our integration tools so that, uh, it makes it easier for a collaboration. Um, and then we have to make sure that we've got obviously the right security, uh, to protect, uh, the data, uh, and then use that proactively, uh, to make better decisions and to take out waste and to improve customer service. Sort of say, I think we are, we're a reached the tipping point where, you know, the movement of that data end to end, uh, it'd be it from a supplier, you know, overseas, right the way to the last mile delivery. Um, you know, that is more critical now than physical movement. And I think, uh, you know, that that creates more challenges for supply chain because, uh, all our, uh, you know, dirty laundry is out there in the open for everyone to see. Uh, but it should all should also forces to collaborate more and to, uh, work a much closer. I'm removing the bottlenecks or the challenge does that are in place for delivering that perfect customer experience.
Speaker 1:
18:19
And maybe, maybe she can, um, we can share because I think there's a, there's a lot of value into, into, into practical examples. And I know that you, you're young, you're done, you've done a lot in, in Woolworth as well as into each other. So actually want to, one of the questions that is that we got is one, um, one of the listeners asked if you can, if you can tell us one example of a technology innovation that was implemented at a, in the, in the Woolworths supply chain over the last one, two years, that made a big difference for you guys and why did it make a big difference?
Speaker 2:
18:52
Yeah, I think we're no different to any other retailer continuing to look for opportunities to use technology. Well, uh, you know, we really, uh, put a lot of effort into creating in a better visibility, uh, around, uh, you know, where, uh, product is, uh, around the, you know, the temperature control that product. And then using that data to, uh, you know, uh, helpers, uh, streamline our planning processes so that we are able to, uh, get better utilization of our vehicles and create a higher degree of predictability, uh, in terms of the service schedule. So we've been investing in that sort of end to end visibility platform. Uh, working with our carrier partners, uh, working with, uh, technology partners as well to create, uh, I, uh, suite of tool that allows us to, um, you know, get that visibility and to start pushing that data into, uh, a, uh, you know, cloud based platform that allows us to then use that data in a meaningful way. Whether that be for, you know, our stores are where before our supplier base, uh, to ensure that, uh, everyone, uh, you know, uh, has the right, uh, data available to help them manage their respective area of the business.
Speaker 1:
20:14
And in terms of, in terms of, uh, the technology and the it competitive or competencies, right, in terms of the, I just, uh, domain, do you prefer, and do you prefer to build it in houses in better to build it in house is in better tools or cities? You know, is it a case by case type of a type of a scenario?
Speaker 2:
20:35
Yeah, it's case by case. I think, look, you know, we're, a lot of companies in the past would have their own infrastructure in house and, but things were built in house. I think, you know, all industries have moved, uh, from that that we obviously have, you know, cloud based computing now. Yeah. Uh, we have, uh, you know, large technology, uh, providers, we have small startups. Uh, we have companies in the middle, so their whole range of different providers out there. And I think it is a horses for courses approach. Uh, for me the key things are that it has to fit into a, uh, you know, the longterm ecosystem. Uh, it has to be a sustainable. Uh, I think one of the challenges we have today is that, uh, you know, technology is moving so rapidly, um, you know, how do you, uh, you know, Provide Comfort, uh, to, uh, you know, your, your business, that, you know, the application landscape that you're on, the architects you are creating. It's going to create that sustainable, uh, platform for success. And I think, uh, you know, a lot all companies are going through that journey. Uh, and, uh, I think it is an exciting journey in many ways because of the innovation that we're seeing and the rapid movement of technology. Uh, at the same time, uh, you know, uh, it provides challenges because we are moving away from, you know, what has been a fairly historical way of looking at how technology gets managed, uh, within, within a, within a business.
Speaker 1:
22:08
MMM. I mean, I know we've also seen, I mean, I guess we've also seen over time and then it's, it's, uh, without naming anybody, but there's been, there's been a few, there's been a few instances where we're big a big internal implementations. I have not worked that well. And then companies have opted out for, for external ones and the other way around as well. Um, but, uh, but also what, what, uh, what, there seems to be a, almost a, a, a trend as a, as well as in terms of building really solid partnerships. Right? So, um, obviously let's say we'll worth, do you have a very solid scale and a very solid footprint in the market and you partnering with maybe more Nimble But, uh, you know, start up entrepreneurial type of a company and you give them access to your, um, to your scale.
Speaker 1:
22:57
And at the same time they might give you, I mean, they might offer you a, a value in terms of them thinking a little bit older if the box in terms of how to do things that can work well as a, as a synchronicity a I was talking to, um, I was talking to other detour port in, in Europe and they're doing all sorts of things. They basically allocated the part of the port just to force startups to experiment different things in different products and different services that they could offer as as extension to the port. So it's, it's interesting how this kind of plays out in the current context as well. It's kind of symbiosis between large companies and startups and, and trying to, uh, you know, trying to help each other. So, I don't know if you, if you have also explored something along those lines yet or, or not.
Speaker 2:
23:40
Yeah, look, we have, I mean, everybody's looking for that sort of secret sauce, uh, to, uh, to, to create differentiation. I think, as I said before, you know, collaboration is going to be a key part of any future strategy, particularly around, uh, you know, supply chain. Uh, you know, uh, we created a business called will exactly that. Uh, you know, I was looking at partnerships, looking at, you know, what we can do around that innovation as well as developing, you know, great ideas that we have from our own team. Um, and I think, you know, this is the way of a, of the future I think is clear recognition, uh, from, from most businesses now that they're sort of, you know, stand alone on an island, uh, and do everything yourself. And, you know, you've got the, you know, the best answers to all the problems, uh, is absolutely, uh, you know, clearly you recognize not to be the way forward. And I think, uh, you know, having collaboration, uh, having a clear mindset as to what your overall strategy is, but also cure recognition that you're going to need your business partners, suppliers, customers, a whole bunch of different areas, helping continue to shape and develop that, uh, including, uh, looking at, you know, partnerships in the technology space, uh, in format development, whole bunch of other areas, other thinking that contributes to a better experience overall for the customer and allows you to keep pace with the rapidly developing changes that are occurring in technology and consumer habits.
Speaker 1:
25:16
And, and I wanted to ask also about, uh, about one hot topic and it's, it's, it's, I mean, it's particularly hard to in Australia, but to be honest, it's, it's, it's kind of spreading all over. We just heard the automation piece in the warehouse automation piece. How do you see the trends and maybe the Australia, maybe the rest of the world may be China. Um, in terms of the, in terms of automation, in terms of, obviously there's a big challenge around blue collar workers and not having the workforce sometimes too to operate this, this warehouses. Um, overall, how do you see the next couple of years unfold in when it comes to this?
Speaker 2:
25:52
Yeah, look, we are in the age of automation, and that's not just automation within warehouses and supply chain in a few better an airport now and check in, you know, barely. You're not speaking to anybody. It's a machine you're typing in your name and, uh, in that prints, the boarding pass, if you get through passport control. Now, again, you're dealing with, uh, automation. Uh, so you know, many aspects of our daily lives now are touched by some degree of automation, but, you know, tapping your phone for apple pay versus, you know, pulling out a credit card or putting out a actual hard currency. So I think, you know, uh, it, it's, it's impacting many areas of our life. And obviously in the supply chain, it is also impacting. It's not just about, uh, you know, uh, labor, uh, and automating the labor. It is, as you say, in many markets, the availability of labor now and in the future we'll also be challenged.
Speaker 2:
26:49
Uh, but it's also, uh, you know, uh, very much to, uh, improve, uh, the, the quality of the experience for the customer. Uh, so making sure that we are picking that perfect daughter, making sure those pallets are stacked safely, and that we're able to deliver the product to the store so that the store can get that product under the shelf in the safest, most efficient way. So, uh, automation is not focused on addressing, you know, one area. Uh, it's, it's focused on addressing, uh, many areas and like, uh, you know, all technologies. It's moving at a rapid pace. Uh, and I think we'll continue to see, uh, in a substantial growth in automation, uh, in, uh, you know, inside the warehouse. Uh, you know, also, uh, in, in many areas, uh, of, uh, of our daily lives in the back of the store. Uh, you know, uh, in vehicles, um, uh, a whole bunch of stuff. Uh, so I think it is upon us and the key to that I think is making sure that, again, we're clear on why automation is the right solution. And as I say, it's a multi faceted, uh, you know, rationale rather than just, you know, one, one, one, one aspect of it
Speaker 1:
28:01
and one on one, probably one of the lowest hanging fruits. Also since we're on the topic of automation, um, and, and there's been a huge increase I think in most companies using, uh, using it in one way, shape or form is the rpm or the right, that robotic process automation to, um, uh, to basic or the a look at their backend processes and also try to try to streamline, uh, those lots of, I'm actually very proud because one, I want a Romanian companies, the leader in that they started in Romanian out there at got it in New York, you might know the Ui path. Um, so they've done some, some very good things around Rpa and as you rightfully said, I mean, automation is upon us. Big Data isn't, is upon us. It's um, you know, it's just a matter of how to adapt the best integrated.
Speaker 1:
28:52
Um, and this kind of leads me to also to the question, uh, and it's, it's pretty specific question, but I think it's a, it's important to, to address it because it's kind of gives a glimpse into, uh, again, into, into what retailers are having to face, to be faced with. Because on the one side, you, you have to rationalize this key used to limit the complexity or another side. You have to, you know, potentially move away from this season on water to a constant supply chain model. Um, ideally that doesn't need to replenish, but of course, um, there's seasonal products and there's nonseasonal the products, right? So the narcissism like that and not dog food or, or highly seasoned like mangoes. So, uh, the question when for that, somewhere along the lines, like there's products that don't fit any of these categories, right? So disclosing their general merchandise, how do you plan a plan for them? What we're worth and how do you best, you know, maximizes a little bit in terms of your supply chain operations around it?
Speaker 2:
29:50
Yeah, I mean, you know, as I said before, you know, where we would have sort of very fixed seasons and very fixed customer offerings, uh, and you know, not just us, but all the powers, uh, now, uh, you know, consumers recognize they have significant choice. They are very demanding. Uh, you know, weather patterns are changing, fashion is changing rapidly in other days where you would launch a summer, summer range and that was it. That was fixed. Uh, you know, now people can go and buy the summer range in winter from another, another geography. Uh, so, uh, you know, all those challenges create further challenge in supply chain. I think it also gets back to using big data and using those trends and the data that we get from our customers around what we need to have in the store or available online to them. I think in a world, so moving, uh, from a, uh, you know, sort of static, uh, traditional, uh, you know, sort of supply chain into a much more rapid express like a supply chain.
Speaker 2:
30:56
So if you take an express hub network versus a traditional full truck, uh, you know, large scale, uh, with distribution network, we are seeing the blending of those two networks. So we're having to have certain characteristics that feel like an express network with the rapid, you know, replenishment, uh, you know, fresh food, small format stores, you know, breakfast, lunch and dinner three times a day at the same time trying to fulfill, uh, you know, that more traditional large store format that has a winter range to somewhere range has, you know, a range of permanent skews that are always available. So I think, you know, nothing is constant anymore. Uh, it is about reacting to customer demand that customer demand continues to change every single day. And therefore our nimbleness and agility as a supply chain at using data to help make decisions, but also having people, we have a mindset that can have that adaptability, uh, that are not fixed in a certain way of working. And at the same time, uh, you know, looking at how we create that flexibility and agility, uh, within a, a network that has been built with large scale, uh, assets, uh, that don't have rubber walls. Um, so how do you flex that static network, uh, in a way that allows you to respond to those customer needs, but also to respond in a way that drives efficiency and as economical,
Speaker 1:
32:34
just a to increase the complexity apart from consumers changing their minds and, uh, and the changing their behavior. Nowadays. We, we, we seem to have a lot of trade wars also going on so that, that is there just to, just to add one more element to, to make sure that it's ablation is really needed to be flexible and, and, and, you know, try to, uh, try to be, um, tried to be, uh, adaptable to anything that could happen in the ideal case.
Speaker 2:
33:03
Yeah, I think that's a good point because, you know, we are in a world of change your political change, uh, you know, weather events, et cetera. Uh, and therefore, uh, you know, having, uh, the, the plan B in place, you know, what if I can source from this place anymore, what if a major weather event prevents me from getting that product in, in what is your plan B and how do you activate that? And again, I think that is having the right skill sets within your organization. You can build those plans and have those plans are constantly updated at the same time. Uh, you know, using technology and the partnerships you have with suppliers and others to communicate those changes and implement those changes rapidly.
Speaker 1:
33:51
Um, and, and one other hot topic on the agenda, um, is, is, uh, and sometimes it's literally hot. Uh, it's climate change, right? So it's, um, uh, a lot of people are being very concerned about it and for good reasons. So, um, the question that we got is also what they bought sustainability strategist. Will you or have you already implemented in your supply chain worth to, to try to address this again?
Speaker 2:
34:18
You know, it is one of the trends that we've seen for some time now is obviously customers, consumers, uh, in our societies, uh, continued to be concerned about climate change and sustainability. Uh, you know, we want to ensure that we are responding, uh, to, uh, societies, uh, challenges around that. Uh, you know, we were the first company to remove plastic bags in Australia for example. So we see ourselves very much wanting to establish best practice when it comes to that. Uh, uh, you know, food waste is a, is a, is a huge challenge, uh, globally. Uh, and again, I think it is in working in a collaborative sense with your supplier base, with your end customers to look at ways that we can create integrator efficiency, uh, to look at ways that we can reduce food waste that we can take, uh, you know, uh, kilometers out of the network, uh, to reduce the amount of travel time that truck spend on roads.
Speaker 2:
35:20
So, uh, I think it is, um, you know, there's no, uh, there's no quick answers to this, but it is about having, uh, a very strong commitment, uh, as a, as an organization, as a community, as a society. Uh, you know, from the board of directors, right the way through. That's every team member. Uh, and looking at ways that in our daily lives, we can, uh, you know, do something that, uh, will overall improve, uh, you know, uh, the environment we live in, right? We're also seeing investors, um, you know, uh, take our far a stronger approach to, uh, investing in companies that they believe have committed to a sustainable agenda. Uh, and that's going to change the landscape. Uh, you know, if there are funds, uh, and, uh, investors who are, we'll look to only invest, uh, you know, the Capitol encompanies that they believe are fulfilling a strong, uh, you know, sustainability, uh, agenda, uh, then that will continue that change the way companies do it. But I think it starts with having a, a genuine commitment, uh, to do the right thing and to work end to end to explore opportunities that will help a driver a much more sustainable future.
Speaker 1:
36:40
Um, and you talked a lot and we talked a lot during the podcast about customer experience and how supply chain, um, uh, is there actually too to make sure that the customer, you know, the customer is satisfied and, and pretty much any businesses is and should be in, in, in the, in the focus area of, of, uh, satisfying the customers. Um, but this question is a little bit different in the sense that how do you, um, how do you almost select and make sure that also your suppliers, um, the people that you work with, um, they, they are the ones appropriate to help you in this journey of, of, uh, uh, insuring your customer experience is a great one. And what are some of the key things to take into consideration when you're selecting a versus B?
Speaker 2:
37:27
I think it, you know, starts with that common commitment. Um, you know, we all like the deal in our daily relationships, in our family relationships, uh, with people who share the same values that we have. And I think it starts with, uh, looking at, you know, suppliers who've got the same commitment. We share the same values around even the customer. Fantastic experience. Doing that in a way that minimizes our, our carbon footprint and, uh, commitment to, uh, you know, uh, sustainable, uh, you know, uh, products. Um, uh, I think that's the most important thing. And then being very open to work on innovation. Uh, you know, what can we do around packaging? Uh, what can we do around supply chain, uh, well can we do about reuse or waste, um, and where there is waste and inevitably, uh, you know, that's going to occur quickly and fresh food.
Speaker 2:
38:21
Uh, how do you then partner with community organizations who can still use that, uh, product, uh, to ensure that people who, uh, are disadvantaged have access to, uh, fresh and available food? So I think it is taking a, an Indo end, uh, you know, starting with common values, a common commitment is critical. Oh, making sure that, uh, there's a process in place to constantly look at how you're refining, uh, the product, uh, to ensure it meets customer needs, uh, in all aspects, you know, look, taste, uh, nutrition as well as, you know, the way it's made and the package unit comes in, is that as sustainable as possible? And then we do have, uh, areas of our waste. Uh, how do you still get value out of that product too, to society rather than it going into the landfill?
Speaker 1:
39:15
Hmm. Yeah. Um, what would, what would you say in terms of the next five to 10 years ahead of us little would you see as some of the key challenges in supply chains, you know, globally? Um, and some of the biggest, let's say, biggest headaches for, for chief supply chain officers to manage me? Yeah. Look, yeah.
Speaker 2:
39:35
Trend, obviously, uh, you know, we talked today about big data and the, and the, and the sheer volume of data that we're going to have to deal with. How do we deal with that, uh, in a way that allows us to break it down into its component parts, uh, to provide the data, uh, to the many, many stakeholders in the end, in, in the end and supply chain that you relevant to them and allows them to make better decisions. That's certainly going to be a significant challenge. And one that's already, uh, a promise. I think the rapid speed of supply chain, um, you know, customers now shopping in a global world, uh, they're sitting on their sofa with their mobile device in their hand and they're looking at a, at a global, uh, you know, endless aisle product, uh, and, uh, they, you know, firmly believe that by hitting that button, uh, you know, that product will magically appear on their doorstep in the shortest timeframe possible.
Speaker 2:
40:33
And really, uh, intellect can come from, you know, tens of thousands of kilometers away or it could come from just around the corner. Uh, the consumer actually doesn't really care. So I think, you know, those increasing consumer demands, um, and the service criteria that goes with them, we're going to have to get, as I said before, much more nimble, much more agile, much more collaborative end to end to ensure that we're maximizing, uh, you know, not just the efficiencies, uh, of our supply chain, but also the efficiencies of others. Uh, I think the third challenge is going to be the hunt for talent. Uh, you know, we are, uh, looking at different skill in supply chain, uh, skillsets around big data, skillsets around automation, skillsets, uh, around, uh, you know, strategic planning, um, uh, around how we knit together. Uh, you know, collaboration and partnerships. Uh, and these are going to bring challenges as well as opportunities think, uh, you know, having spent my whole career in supply chai, uh, it's an incredibly exciting time, uh, to be in the supply chain industry.
Speaker 2:
41:42
Uh, if you're interested in technology, uh, you know, we're doing some incredibly exciting things in our industry around, uh, you know, technology. If you're interested in automation, robotics, we're doing some incredibly exciting team. If you're looking at wanting to shape a customer experience, uh, and have a profile within an organization that it's critical too, uh, enabling that, uh, then against an exciting time to be in supply chain. So I think the hunt for talent and continuing to develop, you know, core operational skillsets as well as some of those more, uh, intricate skill sets around technology automation, uh, planning, predictive analytics, uh, I think that's going to be a challenge. But, uh, also, uh, an exciting opportunity for people, uh, who want the really exciting, uh, and as I've shown, uh, you know, uh, a global Global Korea.
Speaker 1:
42:35
Yeah, interesting that you mentioned talent. And of course I'm always happy cause, uh, you know, it's our business. Um, but, um, um, talent is, is probably, and the human capital side of things is probably a recurring topic in terms of, and, and it's also something, you know, interestingly enough, uh, and most conferences, usually people talk a lot about the technology side, but they kind of forget that without people, you can't really do anything with the technology. Um, I wanted to ask you, when do you see currently, uh, the, the gaps and you spoke about big data is sort of spoke about different technology skills, but when do you see the gap and the biggest challenge? So let's say when you're recruiting or your team is recruiting for talent, where's the hardest type of hard skills and maybe hard skills and soft skills to find, to take your supply chain to the next level of currently, right. What's the, what's the hardest type of skills to get?
Speaker 2:
43:28
Yeah, we were in an interesting time because we are moving from, uh, you know, I guess the supply chain that's been in place for the last, you know, 15, 20 years, uh, fairly manual in its operations. Um, you know, into one that's now being driven far more by technology. I'm moving into automation a far more rapid and fluid supply chain. So, uh, it is a challenging time to look for talent because you're looking at these new skill sets around, you know, big data around analytics, around automation, um, uh, around, uh, you know, integrating partnerships and collaboration. Uh, at the same time, you know, core operational skills are also critically important. Uh, you know, you still have to load that vehicle or vehicles to ask the, get out of that depot safely and still has to reach its destination in time and deliver the products and the perfect order.
Speaker 2:
44:24
Uh, so, uh, you know, trying to find people who've got that operational, uh, experienced, but are also attuned to the future and around the importance that data plays and analytics play, uh, and been able to transcend that journey are very, very difficult to find a, and we've got to be careful that, you know, we don't just look at the new roles, uh, and, uh, you know, the use of data and, uh, in automation, uh, without recognize the fact that, you know, core operational disciplines are still at the very heart of, uh, you know, supply chain in, I started my career in the freight forwarding business and, uh, you know, transcended in the being in the logistics business and see myself as that. Yeah. When Duane supply chain, uh, expert and people have asked me, what is the difference within the freight forwarding business and the supply chain business.
Speaker 2:
45:20
And I said that in the freight forwarding business, you're like a an artist. You may get a blank canvas today. You paint that canvas as best you can, uh, but then you have to sell it for as much as you can get that, that canvas, you know, goes away cause on that plane or on that ship and it's lost and start again from scratch. Whereas obviously supply chain is an incremental day to day, uh, improvement that process engineering. So I think the great thing is we need all types of skills and supply chain these days. Uh, it is an exciting place to be. Uh, and we've got to continue to make our industry attractive. Uh, two people, uh, and whilst we are focusing on the new skills that are required and going to be increasingly required going forward, we still have to anchor ourselves on the fact that it's about day to day operational execution. Ah, that is still critically important, uh, to, uh, satisfying our customers.
Speaker 1:
46:12
And I, I'd like to also ask you and stand up as we're drawing close to a, to an end. What I'd like to also to ask you, because you've had a long, long career, um, if you were to look back and if you're to share maybe for people that are just starting or they're just graduating, what would be some pieces of advice that you have received, maybe that have been most helpful to you and that you would want to share? Uh, you know, for somebody that wants to become one day, a chief supply chain officer or officer or the CEO of a, of a, of a company.
Speaker 2:
46:42
No, the most important thing to me and the reason that I love this business is it's a people business. Uh, you know, so, uh, you know, always be conscious of being able to relate to people, uh, particularly, uh, you know, frontline team members who are out there doing the hard yards every day in the warehouse or on the road. Uh, so, you know, uh, always understand that you knew your number one responsibility is the obviously keep them safe, but also to, uh, take feedback from all areas, uh, are, uh, of the business, uh, you know, get out of your office and get into the field constantly to get that feedback because you can easily get yourself, uh, in a sort of ivory pal situation and lose touch. I think the other great thing is to, uh, to be constantly curious, uh, you know, the constantly challenge.
Speaker 2:
47:33
Yeah. Why can't we do that better? Uh, to be interested in people and cultures, particularly if you're fortunate enough like I was ma'am, I have a job that allows me to travel globally. Uh, you know, when I used to travel the various geographies, uh, I'd always read up on the gossip columns and the sporting columns about what was happening and people ask me why. So it gives me an immediate connection point, you know, from going into India can talk about the latest Bollywood movie or that, you know, that the Indian creek captain just scored a century, uh, one because I'm interested in their culture and, and them as people and it gives you that connection point. So how'd that curiosity towards culture towards people. And I think the other thing is constantly challenge yourself to people earning. Uh, as I said at the beginning, I started off splitting pallets is with a telex machine and thought that was, you know, incredibly wonderful, uh, for, for a young kid who came out of, uh, uh, Belfast and lived in our house.
Speaker 2:
48:27
It didn't even own a telephone to now obviously, you know, we're making multimillion dollar decisions on the end of a mobile. So, you know, that change is being significant and I challenge myself everyday too, uh, to learn and to develop and to take feedback from others. I think the last thing, uh, would be, uh, two, uh, ensure that, uh, you know, your, your humble, uh, I think, you know, living in Asia, uh, taught me a lot of things but you know, humility, uh, and uh, making sure you spend time to listen, uh, and uh, you know, respect everyone's view. I think there's a great, uh, characteristic for for anybody to have been in any, any, any aspect of life.
Speaker 1:
49:14
No thanks for sharing. Definitely, definitely all very relevant and top points and also thank you for, for all the case studies and the good, um, the good information that you shared with us and examples of, of things that, uh, that uh, you are doing and you are seeing in your observing in terms of what's developing in supply chains, whether it is a global stage, it's the original stage in Australia. So many, many things. Thanks for your time and it's been a pleasure to have you as our, as our guest today.
Speaker 2:
49:43
Thanks all the best occupation.
Speaker 3:
49:46
Thank you for listening to a podcast. If you liked what you heard, be sure to follow us on Rod Palomar u.com/podcast for all the show notes, links, and extra tips covered in the interview. Make sure also to subscribe to our emailing list to get the news in the nick of time. If you're listening through a three in platform like iTunes or stitcher and you like what we do, please kindly review and give us five stars so we can keep the energy flowing. You'd get more people to find out about our podcast. I'm most active on Linkedin, so do feel free to follow me to stay tuned for our latest articles as well as future guests for the podcast. And if you have any suggestions or any other idea, please feel free to write to me. I respond to all and also please make sure not to miss our next episode where we will be having a few under sea level and top leaders in supply chain joining us. Stay tuned.
×

Listen to this podcast on