Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics with Radu Palamariu

#58: Fabrice Thomas Vice President, General Supply Chain for Agilent Technologies

October 25, 2019 Season 1 Episode 58
Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics with Radu Palamariu
#58: Fabrice Thomas Vice President, General Supply Chain for Agilent Technologies
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Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics with Radu Palamariu
#58: Fabrice Thomas Vice President, General Supply Chain for Agilent Technologies
Oct 25, 2019 Season 1 Episode 58
Radu Palamariu
Agilent is an American public research, development and manufacturing company established in 1999 as a spin-off from Hewlett-Packard
Show Notes Transcript

Fabrice has been working for more than 20 years in supply chain, from Railways at Alstom, to Industrial Robots at ABB across Europe, America, and Asia ; at Agilent Fabrice is in charge of Procurement and Logistics, a team of +1000 people with sites located in US, Danemark, Germany, China, Malaysia, and Singapore.

Discover more details here.

Some of the highlights of the episode:

  • Handling supply chain in a high complexity and low volume environment like Agility
  • How to sell an automation project to the business to balance cost vs ROI
  • Engaging people to embrace transformation - how Agilent does it
  • How people, tools, and culture helps in achieving maximum results.
  • The most difficult talent to find in supply chain
  • Life-long learning 

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Speaker 1:
0:00
Hello and welcome to the leaders in supply chain podcast. I'm your host throughout Apollo, Mario managing director of Oakland global. Our mission is to connect the supply chain ecosystem in Asia and globally and that we want to bring forward the most interesting leaders in the industry today. I'm very happy to have with this for barista ma was the vice president of global supply chain for Agilent technologies, how breasts has been working for nearly 20 years in supply chain, from railways at Alstom to industrial robots at ABB across Europe, America and Asia that Agilent Fabrice is in charge of global supply chain, which is a comprising of a team of 1000 plus people with sites located in the U S Denmark, Germany, China and Malaysia. And Singapore. Edge land for, uh, for our listeners is an American public research development and manufacturing company who was established in 1999 as a spinoff from Hewlett Packard.
Speaker 1:
0:57
It provides analytical instruments, software services and consumables for the entire laboratory workflow and it focuses mostly on six core markets, which are food, environmental and forensics, pharmaceutical diagnostics, chemical and energy, as well as research. But Fabrice, pleasure to have you with us and thanks for joining us today. Thank you. Radu and let's start a little bit by asking you to tell us about your journey from transitioning Alstom railways, trains type of a company, then you went to ABB on the industrial robots, uh, unit, and now you're with Agilent. Tell us a little bit about your, shortly about your story, your career, and then how you transitioned this. Three big
Speaker 2:
1:43
startling is that, um, I think you need to go back when I started three MoCo earrings in a supply chain and a bit late 20 years ago or something that is, and I started with different position as supplier quality. So play with development, having different function, uh, ad artist's term when I was already working from France, but managing different site, there would have been the principle of supply liquidity, so player development. Then still being in France, I morph step-by-step to the industrial sourcing structure. Where are there time where we're working on the transfer of all of activity from high country to India and to, uh, to China. This is where I start to learn about Asian country age and culture and wealth doing business in Asia. And in 2011 that had been proposed a tool to move as a director for supply chain of Alliston transport for Asia Pacific.
Speaker 2:
2:36
And this is really where I started my career in the, in the jail working definitively outside of our friends. But it was already 10 years that I was working at arson and after one year I decided to engage myself in the NBA for the two years that I felt it was the necessary acquisition of knowledge to make a transition to the next step. And at that time I was like 40 years old. That is so are really the, not yet the mid crisis, but uh, at least professionally you must probably. But as I thought it was a necessary, uh, a learning that have to hide in order to prepare the next day of, of Mike area. And exactly, almost at the same time that I was finishing the MBA, I was already on anticipating looking for, for another job. I had the opportunity at ABB robotic to become the head of supply chain while we, we're still based in China where they had the biggest uh, the biggest factory and interesting speaking, I remember when I had my interview with the one that would have been my, uh, my boss later on he was the head of, uh, of this factory and all the operation in the, in the world.
Speaker 2:
3:39
He told me that at the management team at the board of this ABB robotic supply unit that is called [inaudible], we hung the urban jr and what we need is someone who is more business acumen. So in order to have a certain weight we say among the other manager, I need to have someone who has the experience in supply chain but also who has an MBA. So cumulation of boss finally was the right one. And this is how I start my journey in four years until total at a, at ABB robotics quite is quite interesting because it was a very industrial company. ABB, the well, okay, a big MNC already know what the, what is the plus and minus working at that some previously. So the complexity of it, the relation with the cooperate and this kind of stuff. But working in the specific environment from China and bigger factory in China, that's give us sort of certain freedom to experience some transformation within separate is quite well supported beta management.
Speaker 2:
4:39
The biggest achievement we had at the time at TVB was to move from a typical supply chain who is procurement and purchasing at a time and logistic and supply supplier quality and Sean's form after two years I was there into a value chain organization that, that this really, I think specific to that market that we have been able to um, to make that transition at that period 2016, the market, the robotic market and it'll be in China, uh, was booming and there was not enough supplier, uh, of robot but also supplier of competent to manufacture the robot in order to serve the market and the customer. Usually whatever's property, you can have RF queue saying, okay, we know the price of the product. We think the price of the product that we're going to buy, we know the performance of the product, so we have selected three, four potential suppliers.
Speaker 2:
5:33
The one I'm going to have the market or the one who will be able to serve the quantity that we want. And there was a significant bottleneck both for the robot manufacturer but also for the competent and this is where supply chain became how we see a competitive advantage for the company toward the customer because the supply chain, as long as there was a ball to purchase enough competence from its own suppliers, bringing it to the factory. Then the second step was for sure the factory tool to set the robot was about to commit to what the final customer, yes. That they would have a certain number or robots in a certain timeframe and that was making the difference and this is where we decided to transform the supply chain into have a, an interesting value chain and making it a competitive advantage where the company can increase all the revenue or that was managing all these kinds of things.
Speaker 2:
6:25
In total, I was seven years in China from 2018 and uh, I think that was the end of my cycle in China. And uh, everybody know about the fluctuation that we can have in China that time and get a contact from a headhunter in Singapore call me and say, okay, we have quite good experience to propose you. You'll never work for an American company, always French and Swedish company in your County plan. That would be good to uh, to join American company was quite interesting because my initial the graduation universities in biotechnology, so I knew Ajilent from that time a little bit. So I'm not unfamiliar with the product and the job that they were promising me. You see, the one that I have today as a global supply chain vice president was based on what I know, what I knew or what the competency I acquired over the past 20 years.
Speaker 2:
7:20
But the big challenge that they will propose me to end dollar, big transformation, a digital transformation and a real one. And very, I remember when I was interviewed by, you're the one who is my boss, actually the CEO of the company and Rick and sent that, you know, if I look at our organization supply chain to what our competitor, I think we are among the best. But if I look at our supply chain and compare with the the rest of the world or the rest of the industry, we still have a big gap. So that was a challenge also for them because usually they are only promote internally the different candidates. And I am the first one that they brought from outside to become a vice president. And even more challenging ours, the first fringe guy taking that kind of position in a very American company, in term of culture based in Singapore with a strong Singaporean, I would say a mindset behind that. So in a nut shell disease, a disease about 20 years of experience and how finally I, uh, I'm learning in Singapore and in that position of, uh, of supply chain, global supply chain nervous precedent, the
Speaker 1:
8:31
fascinating and uh, I mean that's, there's, there's life. You know, sometimes it takes you to two very interesting parts of the planet as well as parts of the corporate, um, cultures and corporate organizations. Um, uh, for the more wanting to go a little bit deeper into what Agilent does in particular, cause it's, it's quite specific products. It's a, at the end of the day, probably most of us is as mere mortals, let's call ourselves mere mortals. We would not unnecessarily engage with the type of equipment because you use cell for laboratories, for hospitals, for forensics, for research. So [inaudible] is highly skilled and highly sophisticated types of, uh, types of equipment. What are some of the biggest challenges from a supply chain perspective, from a [inaudible] perspective, from a putting it together and delivering it perspective? Uh, when it comes to this type of
Speaker 2:
9:23
products, firstly it's, it's related to the footprint of, uh, of agility. Agilent has a roughly 10, 12 factory in the world, uh, adjuvant grow externally every year or so we acquire and we integrate different company. So roughly today we should have like 12, uh, important footprint with each factory as a specialty, as a product in hand, uh, which make quite complex in, in dumb of supply chain because there's, there is a high level of concentration on one product of all the technology which are related to the supplier and the final product. So which make it a little bit difficult. The usual lever that we use in supply chain on the volume which does not exist. This is really a high mix, low volume, a highly depending on the suppliers because the technology inside the product has an AP from Agilent but or the component are depending, are related to once a player usually.
Speaker 2:
10:25
So there is this dependency which is a, which is quite high. Uh, we have a lot of factory also in us and you know, always the complexity of the trade war in between China and us. That bring a little bit of, uh, of challenge also there. These are products which are technically speaking extremely complex where the level of quality, which is expected by the separate, uh, from the supplier is also also very high down product that standard for many years and the customer, so the spirit plant has to be able for available for 10, 15, sometimes 20 years. There is not a high speed of replacement of those products. So if you take something like automotive principal on supply chain, you take completely the opposite and then you other one business where they'll do what they want suppliers. So that, that's really the thing. Then it was a, the the, the strategy in term of supply chain was some years ago really to leverage on the cost perspective to move everything pleasure.
Speaker 2:
11:24
And to China, we are already, we are factory in Shanghai, in [inaudible] in Singapore and then you realize that for the past two years and between the fluctuation of the RMB or the do the currency there, but also as I said, we're seeing because of the terrif then we have to completely re dispatch our footprint. So I would say that the juniors was following a little bit the trend for the past 10 years and realize that now there is a little bit of backwards step that Dafoe passion that they have to to be under. There is a little bit the challenge that we are facing now and uh, attaching and supply chain. And
Speaker 1:
12:01
in terms of, so you might, you mentioned a few, a few of these challenges and obviously the trade trade Wars trade war has, has added to the complexity and has made things a lot more um, um, complicated for most supply chain professionals. And if anything at the end of this for sure. Um, I guess the one conclusion is that global supply chains will finally be very, very agile cause there's no, there's no, uh, there's no other solution, um, uh, out of this, what am I going to call it, mess or you can call it a blessing in disguise. I don't know what you want to call it, but, um, but tell us a little bit in terms of, you know, you, there's a lot of talk also about digital supply chain and everybody has a roadmap and I know that you have a roadmap roadmap at Agilent. What are some of the key initiatives that you're trying to drive? Um, maybe let's start there. What are some of the key initiatives that then, that you're trying to drive? And then we go a little bit more into that. I would tell always a [inaudible] they
Speaker 2:
13:01
are, but, but there's trick 12, which is all for when I joined, when I joined, I joined, uh, CEO of the, the, the, the, the boss of all the operation as decided to engage the company in this digital transformation. But usually you say that internally, the, this transformation or the plan is a little bit on per week and the same that there was a lot of improvisation or in the base case, this is driven by it all. We try new technology, not exactly knowing where we're going to go and he's kind of stuff. What, what is, uh, the big difference I will say, and I was positively surprised is this structure behind this digital transformation. So there is six pillar to support this organization, but the most interesting and we said this is the principle of having startup within our own organization. So we have a certain, we have three think dunk that we, uh, we, we we call it based on mega trends, technology and all are supported by incubator.
Speaker 2:
14:01
So if I take on the, the one on the automation for example, which is one of the, the big train then within this structure, because this is not an organization, this is metal of the people that have a job every day, but that just want to be engaged in this transformation. You have incubator on the automated guided vehicles, uh, on the robot typically. And the M of those incubator is to try new technology, to learn about new technology, to learn about the application of this new technology in our environment. And another point of time to decide how it can be scaled up and becoming one of the solution in our, uh, in our process warehouse or manufacturing center. If I take simply the, uh, the example of the automatic guided vehicle, somehow we heard about this from a four for four years, but [inaudible] never use it.
Speaker 2:
14:51
And the past six months we have explored with different suppliers, what are the AGV, how they are working, the one that are connected to the RP, the one that [inaudible] moves and these kind of things where we could use it in which kind of application. And recently we have decided to acquire six of them from different brands to put them in Shanghai, in Germany, several in Newark, one in Singapore. And the idea is in the next three months to operate them in different rooms, different application, then to write a proof of concept. Therefore then to be able to decide, okay, where we could use those AGV in our structure, in our concept. Uh, what for, and what could be the benefits of the benefits of it. So this is a journey which is organized by, uh, the, the, the management of the operation. But we are all the people, they have their part of the game to play, to support that because you cannot ask an organization if I don't make a mistake, we should be like a form 4,500.
Speaker 2:
15:52
I'm saying that this in operation covering all manufacturing and supply chain one year ago, something like this, all the people, they are the opportunity to learn online what we call the school of digital innovation. And there was three level on this call of division innovation. Each level was about eight to nine hours of course online to learn about artificial intelligence, about automation, what the digital transformation and science signs on and on the number of they have. Uh, I think today there is more than 65, 70% of the total organization. And I follow this, uh, this, uh, this learning journey. So, which mean when you, when you speak to anybody in the company of a, you know, one organization about what is digital transformation, what are the big train and what are the AGV, what are the robots, what is artificial intelligence? Nobody's an expert for sure, but at least the outcome labeling.
Speaker 2:
16:49
Yeah, there is a common management, there is a flavor behind this. So it's easy and this is one of the sink we need to discuss after is how you engage the people. It's to by explaining them, basically giving them a little bit of flavor of that transformation. And instead for them to be passive and receiving these digital transformation to understand and feel that they are the actor of their future and they are building their future and they don't have to wait and big things happening that they could be replaced by a robot and all these, these nightmare thinking, but that they handled their future and they make the change for the company for sure, but also for themselves.
Speaker 1:
17:31
Hmm. So how do you do that? I mean there's the, there's the probably the million dollar question because usually when all these initiatives and then what I'm seeing over and over again, the common themes of all the conferences that, that, that happen on supply chain is that it's that how do you manage and take and lead and almost, um, I dunno, um,
Speaker 2:
17:51
uh, people on the journey, right? How do you get them on the journey? There is a [inaudible] behind the stories is process methodology and there is a commitment of a certain number of manager and this is bad for the other, uh, vice president and senior director. This is one of our objective to make that transformation happening. So this is really a global objective led by, uh, by our CEO. We started by, I was able to explain it by training and explaining to people what is really digital, what is really you should talk transformation. And for the one were interesting. We offer them the possibility to get on engage in those incubator and to test some new technology. Another phase of this is we have what we call digital champion in the site. So there are people who can look after any possible technology at the site level, experiment, any kind of technology, getting contact with any kind of university or consultants or whatsoever exploring by Missy.
Speaker 2:
18:49
And from the moment they think that as a certain value then to bring it in the incubator where we have a structure to taste the product and afterwards to move to the, to the scalability. So there is a, this is not imposed. This is um, a proactive journey that we offer to tour to the team. So this part is purely on the digital transformation but digital trends or digital side of the transformation. But when we speak about digital transformation, this is not only about technology, it's first not about technology, it's about business. So our organization is structured in four main branch. If I may say there is three manufacturing area, three manufacturing division to make it simple. And the global supply chain, which is a, which is trying to, so the four VP that we have, we are, we all have a transformation plan. In the case of a global supply chain.
Speaker 2:
19:43
The top five projects are the one we have set up from last year and that's going to last for the next three years. Most probably they are the most complex and I will come back on that project to handle that transformation. Behind this we have about 20 smaller project or mid size project, less complex but always with the business impact and then behind is we have about 50 other smaller projects still focusing on supply chain which are impacting one site or one technology. If I look at the five big projects that we have, we have automation of the warehouse. I think all the logistics company that as logistic they are looking at is that for sure a second one years on the supplier relationship management definitively. I think all companies also to get is there is nothing new but always this is in the concept of the, in the context of Agilent there is one which looks a little bit wet, but the quality management system we call it because the thing is that we are a very decentralized company and entering the digital.
Speaker 2:
20:47
This transformation is handled at the same speed and the same intensity across the different logistics center across the different factory that we have is essential in them of success. You know, they're not to faced with an unbalanced situation where you have a one region which is ahead of the others and creating those silo and so on. What we really want is to keep one global supply chain, uh, across the world. Then some specific activity or project related to China cause this is still one big project all focus on the company and one which we call about the supplier transaction collaboration, which is the materialization of the PO and PR. So among those five project, nothing very different I think than other company but putting the context of Agilent, that's a big leap frog that we want to operate. And behind this, those 20 projects always a around the transformation until we have project a project about people development and leadership.
Speaker 2:
21:52
Some specific where of thinking about is, which is about the career development succession plan. I could preparation of the workforce of the future because this is something also that we are, we have to endo and some more specific one related to our to our business, so all in one those 70 something project for supply chain. This is how are we going to handle the [inaudible] transformation. This is supported by a team in supply chain. That's why supply chain is not only procurement and logistics. We have those two big pillar, but we have also an organization which is related to our strategy, so we have project manager where the respite seventies to drive those project to support those a those projects. We have a big quality organization also and we have an organization that focus one of its focus it about communication and then all the communication for global supply chain one small because of repeating a hundred of times the same message. This is somehow the only way to be sure that we will touch the plus 1000 people that we have in the world. And this is a very big part of the success of making that transformation is to be sure that there will be no one left behind. And then the people understand that moving on with the future. This is not losing his job, this is taking his future in hand and be, but of this, uh, this transformation.
Speaker 1:
23:15
So let me ask you, in the last, you've been with the company for one year, what would be, if we were to take a very concrete pragmatic project and it might've not been finalized or sometimes 12 months is not enough, but something that you've, you know, you've seen move quite quite a lot though. It's been, it's been fairly successful already. You're seeing also the already the results. You have some lessons learned. Maybe you can give us one example. So far,
Speaker 2:
23:39
I think the most, the most interesting one is on the warehouse automation. When I joined the company, uh, this product project was existing or what stuff trying to exist for the best tool two or three years and provided the centering Guild of return on investments in Atlas. And when we took that project thing, we, we, we have changed your approach. Not saying that a little bit of shortcut what people think when they, the move to automation saying, okay, how many people are, will, uh, I will replace it because of one robot or these kind of things. And we, we turn, um, we turned the approach completely DEO or the way around, I'll say, okay, if we move to automation of those, those way house, how much would we be able to do more with the same? And finally, if we invest, or right now how long we will be able to stand without opening a new warehouse, by keeping the same number of people or by hiring slowly or this by improving the quality, improving the efficiency.
Speaker 2:
24:40
So it was presented much more as an investment for the future. And actually we have a project that say if we invest right now, if we transform one of our house right now, that's going to send for the next at least 10 years. That's the principle that the philosophy we change here. But where I was a little bit a bit surprised because they're seeing this is really related to an American listed company, is that the concept was on the paper and making validating the concept was quite sick, quite simple and people were quite happy with this. The complexity of it was much more about how much we cost, but more ofL are materially bring back and not only in term of simply arrive, but what would be the impact on the PNN, what will be the impact in terms of investment or capex, but also directly, and this is what is interesting and I and I learned a lot and I think this is, this was really the right way, is how much it will impact the cost per logistics.
Speaker 2:
25:43
Like all the costs per shipment to the final customer and what would be the cost year after year after year. So it become a very financial exercise where we have really pushed the supply chain into bringing commitment on the number. The concept is quite easy, quite easy. You put the Noto store in the warehouse, okay, you put an ARP and at the end I and that's fine, but here this is really okay if we give you that amount of money, how much it will improve our direct competitiveness at the end of the month. Some are very, very, very strictly financial approach. Extremely interesting. Finally, the mistake we did most probably is we are too ambitious at the beginning and where we are presenting the application for several hours at the same time and we realized that it was a lot of money and there is no company that can invest so much money at the same time.
Speaker 2:
26:38
So where where we have been there a little bit more realistic. Finally we set different roadmap. It's okay they are going to be a one way house and in pilot we're going to have a second one a few months after and sell the one she wants a week. So we became a little bit reasonable. Mainly driven by a buyer. Also the final turning point because nobody can can sign a blank check for a X million and say, okay, I'm going to go, I'm going to play with him these visits or it's really a more, yeah, more pragmatic approach. Very big learning I had.
Speaker 1:
27:10
Mm, no, and then I, and I love the, the point that you making from, from again, from experience and it seems to be a common pain point across the industry is that there is a usually, or sometimes a lot of, a lot of people from the supply chain realm have challenges in terms of correctly verbalizing and building this case. That is an issue if you want this, this business story of, I mean, it's not a story, but it's like concrete numbers. This is how much you're gonna save. This is how much you're going to, this is the ROI. That's where it breaks down. Because, yeah, logically it may make sense and all, but you know, maybe the, I mean most likely the business people in the C level will not realize or will not make the connections that you as a supply chain professional make.
Speaker 2:
27:54
And this is where, which pointed, it's absolutely the right, this is the way I finally realized that the glow, the job of global supply chain, this is not anymore about procurement and logistic [inaudible] doing well, selecting the supplier, being able to manage the inventory. That should be a common baseline transaction. Yeah, the, the spot finally is necessary, but this is not where you create most of the, uh, the value that you saw. So really if you want to bring the supply chain or value chain creative competitive advantage moving simplistically saying from a cost center to a profit center, somehow it's the capability of the management team in supply chain to transform that supply chain. And really to become a business owner. Because this is finally what is the job of supply chain. It's managing an ecosystem made of X hundred of thousand sometimes of supplier buying hex thousand of competent to bring them in a warehouse or in factory, in order for people to deliver on another product and to make it profitable was what we call the savings and the code. They bring the quality and did the delivery on time. So this is managing it goes he said and more and more how we say I'm at that level of expectation. This is really more becoming a business or no.
Speaker 1:
29:19
So how, how would you, there is such a thing as optimal performance. Well at least the equation that we were given in the question asked by one of our listeners was that optimal performance. There is a balance between people and basically talent systems, tools and thirdly, culture of the company. So you have this, you know, people tools and the culture. How do you
Speaker 2:
29:42
combine these three in an optimal way to achieve maximum results? And again, maybe Vietnam, keeping it concrete because it's a little bit of a theoretical question, but you know, maybe, maybe also from your past. It doesn't have to be now from Agilent, but what's your view on this? I think the first thing is that you have to share a vision and this vision as to be pragmatic and decision as to be bold, to be understood by everybody what we are speaking and with all the respite with most have a four person in the warehouse that manage forklift every day or two. A person, the supply chain organization with the head of finance division must speak exactly in the same way and when they think about what supply chain attention it is doing, how would they transform, they should be able to have exactly the same speech from that backbone.
Speaker 2:
30:27
Then you can think about how I should develop the people because this is one of the aspect, a generic, he's quite an interesting company because this is a very decentralized, a very international, but I the same time, there's a strong culture. We insist on the value of, of agility and from its origin. There is a strong American in France, so this is this duality that we have to to to consider being very American at the same time. International and you look at the seniority of the people in the company. It's quite long. The people, they stay in the committee for many, many, many, many years. When I say money, this is 20 so to even some that in 40 years, because this is a good company because we have people that love to work for that company, did they share the value of it? Our job is also to help them to understand, to acquire the knowledge and to be part of those transformation and not just to suffer of it, have to be passive on that, but our responsibility is also to energize permanently that human structure that we have in your hand.
Speaker 2:
31:33
By bringing new talents from outside that could be young, inexperienced talent or people with more expertise from different culture. The difficulty is not about the competencies. That's another problem. Finding the right digital scientists all under these two days is quite a difficult, but the difficulty for us is to be sure to find that people that match in term of culture and that understand the vision and the journey we want to to to have with them. So most of the interview we have with the people after screening a little bit, the competency technical competency in the experience. It's more a speech about what you are looking for in the next company in the new company. How they understand that won't have value. Our culture, our, they understand our transformation. I remember for the, for the ending that I had very few interview, uh, with uh, with the agility before coming I only had one end of dinner and the interview was with the, the, the, the CEO for my boss actually.
Speaker 2:
32:34
And that was standing for only one hour and he introduced the discussion say, okay, we have checked everything that you uh, you are able to do in supply chain and procurement also there will be no question about it. We know and the one hour was about people culture value, how I would understand the complexity for me to be the first non Agilent and non American person ah, broke in that, in that position. So this is really this match that, that uh, that we are looking for. Understood. And when and when you share that vision, when you are able to assemble the right people into the team, into the puzzle permanently and energize the management of the team is finally a very simple, everybody know his position, everybody understand his contribution, everybody's share one vision. There is no discrepancy for sure. Not everybody's always happy. This is not this net. Well we know, we know perfectly, this is the world of the company, but I found at Agilent significantly less discussion not to say conflict or argument in between the site and the corporate or in between the people themselves because the value and this vision that we offer supersede any kind of further discussion not to source and that break significantly the cidal. Yes, that's helped to at least
Speaker 1:
34:08
and since we are on the topic of people and which ultimately makes or breaks companies and that they make or break companies. Let's talk a little bit about also the skills and the more technical skills is and it, it can also be soft skills, right? It's hard skills and soft skills needed now and also needed for the future. So what, when you look at your team, what's the toughest to find? So this one, I guess you've addressed the cultural one, so right, the culture fit is important and key, but then let's talk hard skills. Maybe what's some, some of the difficult skills to get to push your supply chain team globally forward and maybe also increasingly in the future?
Speaker 2:
34:46
It's okay if I, if I look at the um, the middle management or the, uh, the, the, the um, individual contributor, the most difficult is to find people around digital science [inaudible] disease and at least because when people that are doing that job on that study, they don't think about coming to work for supply chain. That there is a need. The, the question in between what we do, people think we are, which is procuring moving pallets in a warehouse, something that is, and really the high level of skill that they have in data management that they are understanding [inaudible]. So this is the difficult, the first difficulty that they want to go to Google. They don't want to come to, or they're in the worst case, they go to bank in Singapore, but for sure they don't go to manufacturing. And that's, that's where also we have to bring a little bit more of fashion around the [inaudible] brand but also about, uh, about supply chain.
Speaker 2:
35:43
That's the first skill that is difficult to find. The second one is at the middle management level. So the, the, the people that four for [inaudible], people who understand what is transformation, not only what is digital transformation, but really what is transformation and to have the, the, the, the knowledge around the, that know the methodology that no, that transformation is not just moving one process or implementing one year P, but there is a, a big portion of the [inaudible] transformation, which is related to the people and to the modification of the job of the people money, get journals, do the, the profile of the person and to have this sensitiveness around how I manage the people. Then the how I help the people to acquire new competency to handle their deaf future. So I always say the difficult one is about people who have this competency in transformation because this is not something that you learn in master at the university decision or is something that you learned after most.
Speaker 2:
36:42
Probably the sort of one. And you see, I don't know if it's really new, this is really people who have the knowledge in term of management. And I realized more and more in such big company that becoming a manager, it's because you are better than the people in your team one day or the others. But there is a few acquisition of knowledge and competency around management and most of the time people they become manager and then they experience life of what is a manager. I don't know if it's related specifically to uh, to Asia or to Singapore now that I'm living there for almost eight years. But this is more and more challenge, I believe.
Speaker 1:
37:22
And I will echo that. I mean the best, uh, the best sales person is not the best sales manager. It's quite a different skillset. I mean, just taking sales as an example is basically applies to everything. Finance, manufacturing, supply chain. Um, I think a lot of, uh, yeah, I mean, but that process of, of just making the best at that particular job, uh, managing it doesn't usually actually, um, eel results. So, uh, so it's a different, it's a different skillset altogether. Um, that I wanted to ask specifically yourself because you're in a position of, uh, you know, have a global head of supply chain very personally, right? And, and, and at the personal level, what keeps you, and I hope he's not keeping you up at night, but they'll ask you like that, what keeps you up at night in terms of what you personally feel you continuously need to learn, develop and acquire skills, competencies, you know, learning, um, to stay top of your game
Speaker 2:
38:14
simply because if I look at my job, there is many parts in this, there is the procurement and I believe me personally, if I say, uh, I'm far to be an expert in procurement, in strategy, in supplier management and so on. And there are companies that are far better than me, a or shore being far better than me. That could be in the automotive, that could be in the around the tick and they have much more competency than I have that that for sure. So I still need to live on that time. But I look at the logistic side of it. When I came in in, in, in Agilent, I know how work a warehouse, but when I see the complexity of the warehouse in the regulatory business with all those custom clearance complexity and so on, then I have, I could stay 100 years in a company not having the expertise of the people that have it definitively.
Speaker 2:
39:06
When we speak about digital transformation, I saw in 2017 if I remember that I had this missing knowledge. So I went for one week in a university in New York city university to learn about digital transformation and that's really opened my mind and move my, my understanding from digital transformation is developed knowing everything about ASAP Google or whatsoever. But absolutely not that the job was the transformation, but he's on digital opportunity or digital option and that my job would never have to be an expert in SAP if I just speak up on them, but there are some people in my team that have this competency and my job will be to aggregate the different competency around that, that project. So every time we enter into those digital transformation, we're also automation. I was speaking before, I'm not an expert in warehouse automation that for sure, but I done by by doing by acquainting some, yeah, not edge here and there.
Speaker 2:
40:06
A dematerialization of the pure PR and so on. Yes, that's exactly the same. So you need to keep this excitement of discovering by yourself with your team. I don't don't feel the, the, the tip, the humidity of thinking that bringing better people that are experts in your team. This is your job. I will never, when I have a project, I would never been better than the 10 people around the table. That's really not my job. Job is to be sure that we agreed date the right people around the table to make that job, that job happening. So keeping that, that humidity and also keeping the curiosity outside of the world, what happened in different industry. Because if I look at one small coming back on the warehouse automation, that's for sure. If I go to company like DHL, did we check your whole heads down 10,000 better? That doesn't mean I need to be exactly like them, but that means that there is somebody, some benchmark that they have to look after. If I go to see a, I don't know Dalbello or those really 10 cents company that every single night, everything digital, I will never have the same. But they are here and they're somebody that can bring added value and make the difference for my company for origin to what competition. So this is a combination of learning through that transformation and keeping the curiosity of what happened out.
Speaker 2:
41:31
And I want to ask you for, for our younger listeners, what
Speaker 1:
41:34
would be career advice? Something that's been really useful for you as you've progressed? And you know, maybe at the beginning of your career, I dunno, maybe throughout your career and that you can share as a kind of like a mantra, right? Those are the, you know, guided principles of that have helped you a lot to progress along.
Speaker 2:
41:51
I believe the long life learning definitively. I am a middle point in my side. If I can just make a very short story, uh, when I've been graduated for the first time, then I moved to university, which was a nightmare. And the disaster, uh, I should not never been a scientist, but finally I have been graduated after three years from the university and then I realized that it was not for me. Then I moved to uh, uh, business school, which was not most probably always said a top notch one, but, but then I needed it okay to have a job and start to work. So I experience different job and, but I stopped my career like this, which was not a super top notch, but it was like this. And when I turn a certain to I seek something that is, so 10 years after my real first graduation, I went back to school at the same time that I was working for one and a one, a one and out of here.
Speaker 2:
42:45
And when I turned 40, I did my MBA and then 42 I went that for one week in the, in in this New York city university. And most probably before 50, I will go, which will happen quite soon. I will go again for six months or one year to school. I think that we have to be conscious that what we learn at the beginning when we are 24 so fast, that just expecting learning by doing from a company a in a narrow environment, which is what the, the, the one that the companies offering is clearly meeting our space, uh, to, to, to acquire or extend our knowledge and thinking some price of fracture by getting out of the company, learning, meeting different people, different experience that the best thing that people should or should, uh, should think about. So investing in re tenures on the real breakthrough, not only two, three days, something that is, but on the graduation, which is quite a good objective, most poverty. That would be my best advice for the people who start their care. Yeah. Super. Thanks for sharing that. Then
Speaker 1:
43:58
funnily enough, the last guest on the podcast shared the similar, a similar, yeah. Similar. He, yeah, he had done a, so the Derrick was the chief supply chain officer of Henkel. He had done a PhD, has done a master and he's done, I think his cycles was every five years. So he [inaudible] but, but it wasn't, I mean it depends on the complexity cause if you actually graduate and it can be, but he was doing like a one week or two weeks so, but very much echoing the same principle of you know, keep yourself learning, keep yourself excited, keep yourself always experimenting. Um, so thanks for that for Reese and thanks for all the sharing today and for a couple of the good case studies and appreciate your time and great to have you. Thanks for your time. Thank you for listening to our podcast. If you like what you heard, be sure to go to www.ellicottglobal.com and click the podcast button for all the show notes of the interview.
Speaker 1:
44:50
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