Arla is the farmer-owned dairy cooperative with 11,200 farmers in seven countries and has a unique impact on strategy: Arla has to deal with the 14 billion liters of milk produced by its farmers annually regardless of price or demand and is the fourth largest dairy company in the world with respect to milk volume.
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Some of the highlights of the episode:
Radu Palamariu: 0:00
Hello and welcome to the leaders in supply chain podcast. I'm your host, Rod. A problem? Are you managing Director of Global? Our mission is to connect the supply chain ecosystem by bringing forward the most interesting leaders in the industry. I'm very happy to have with us today, Sam. Enough for who is the E. V p and chief operations officer at our last foods. I realize the farmer own dairy cooperative with around 11,200 farmers in seven countries and which has to deal with 14 billion litres of milk produced by his farmers annually and basically is the fourth largest dairy company in the world with respect to milk volume. Sami joined Island Foods in Generate 2018 and he is leading a team of 13,000 colleagues based across more than 70 dairies, 120 distribution centers and operations in five continents. His responsibilities include Arla's manufacturing and logistics operations worldwide. The global procurement of goods and service is as well as the support functions like quality and food safety, health and sustainability. He has been working for the last 25 years in F. M. C. G and has had leadership roles within businesses such as Unilever Record Beckons, Earth Unknown and Esther Order. Prior to joining our lap Sami, thanks a lot for making the time, and it's a pleasure to have you with us today.
Sami Naffakh: 1:21
Thanks already. Oh, thanks for having me on your A podcast. It's a pleasure to be here, and I'm very happy to have that discussion with you.
Radu Palamariu: 1:28
Maybe. Let's let's start firstly, you with a little bit about yourself because you had a very interesting career in supplies. And you have, ah, versatile background. You successfully transitioned across several FM CG brands. Several geography is you worked on multiple continents. Maybe just tell us a little bit very shortly. I know it's 25 years, but tell us a little bit very shortly about that.
Sami Naffakh: 1:53
Well, look, I'm ah, from a personal standpoint, I have melted cultural background and I've been moving quite a lot with my parents when I was a child. So I guess that created some attraction for ah, for moving and discovering new stuff. And having said that, I actually started pretty slow. I I actually was in the same location for the 1st 7 years of my carrier But then he got accelerated. Um, I would say geographical mobility and functional really t was always a wish. That is something I really wanted to do by curiosity and also as weii thio discover new new things and learn new things The corporate mobility and the changes. Ah, from various companies was Maur Ah, question off between teas. Um, but in all cases, you know, that's ah really proved to be great in terms off learning, but also in terms of driving agility and has had to be adaptability, I guess it's like everything. The more you practice and the more you learn from past mistakes. And I've made some mistakes when moving, Um the better you get at it,
Radu Palamariu: 3:05
that's what that's for sure. In terms of you as the c. O. R. Lem up, I wanted to touch upon some mind blowing numbers. I mean, you're I like the fourth largest milk producer in a processor in the world. You deal with something. I was reading around 14 million liters of milk per day. Tell us a little bit about the scale of complexity of that supply chain.
Sami Naffakh: 3:31
Yes. And you've said a lot already in your in your introduction. Ready? But you're right. It say's about 14 billion litres of milk. Ah, on a yearly basis, and that's about 38 million per day. And and, as you said, ELISA Cooperative, which means that we don't control the demand on one side. But we don't control the supply on the other side. Neither the way the cooperative works is that we are obliged to take every drop off milk, which is produced by every farmer on the daily base. And we have to make the best of that near the best use and create the most value out of that milk for farmers, which were then given back through the price of milk that we pay. So it is a pretty It is a pretty large scale and and complex ah organization. Um, as you're saying, Ah, in my scope, I have procurement on both direct and indirect that having said that excludes milk due to the nature of the co op. So you know, and like other FMCG, our game is not to pay the lowest price for the baby, but to pay the highest price for the milk. So it's a dedicated organization It's a large scale manufacturing organization, and as you're saying, as you said in your introduction, there's about 75 plants. 60 of them are in Europe, mostly in northern Europe. The rest is in our international markets. Um, it's a large logistics and transportation ah organization. We have about 100 and 20 distribution centers. We also have a huge fleet of Frank's. We collect the milk, we transport goods between our factories and our distribution centers, and we also transferred from the distribution centers to the customers. So it's a lot of kilometers that we're driving on an annual basis. And then, of course, there's a ll the support services which comes together with with operations planning, safety, quality in food safety, engineering, etcetera, etcetera.
Radu Palamariu: 5:29
I'd like to ask you just to drill a little bit deeper because you're set up on specifically the point off. You looking to pay the most that you can because ultimately you work for your farmers. Actually, Andi, the fact that you also don't you have to manage the complexity and under certain you're not controlling the demand. What are some of the challenges? Of course. Some obvious waas They come with that. And how do you even navigate?
Sami Naffakh: 5:57
Well, it's your putting the finger on what it is exactly the year, the key challenge of that business, which is, and you have to look at this in ah, in three in three horizon, the one the 1st 1 is the purely operational. Ah, horizon wishes on almost real time. At least on the database, you have to look at the flows of milk, which is which is coming through and decides. You know how you're going to use your available assets and capacity to make the most value out of a milk. Um, and of course there is. Ah, there's some forecasting on both the demand and supply, but this is not a precise exercise. There's always a some volatility and some differences between the actual demand and the actual flew off milk you get versus what you had forecasted, which you have to be able to react very quickly and where it gets very difficult. Is that, of course, you can do this by having a huge amount of available capacity, but that is very costly, and there is not a high margin business, so you want to reduce that available capacity to minimum so that it doesn't cost you too much. But you want to have enough to be able to manage that. They leave volatility that you have s so that's that's a that's a pretty complex exercise. And then on the on, the tactical and strategic arise. And it's all about, you know, making some bets about where do you see the demand evolving? Where do you see the consumer is moving to? Where do you see the markets, especially on the commoditized, more on the commodity side of things moving too, and therefore investing in the right capacity in the right assets at the right time, bearing in mind that it takes, you know, which we if we take the the investments, we're gonna make a mozzarella wish. I know you're gonna come back to it takes 18 to 24 months before be between the time you decide to go for something and the time you get that capacity available. S O. You know, you have to be pretty forward looking and and again, you can't afford to get it wrong because you get it wrong this because frequently extremely costly
Radu Palamariu: 7:54
spilled milk literally. It did kind of skills milk. And I know, I know you mentioned that. And I was I was sharing before we we went online on that That I'm gonna ask You mentioned that in the article that he published on Linked in the cost of Spilled milk and the cost of Wasting On. And I know that you have a very interesting case. That and I wanted maybe you can share it with our listeners This Well, I think you already have some very tangible results in terms of the savings that you've managed to pull out of out of driving apps, excellence and efficiencies in the in the in your supply chain. So maybe we can touch upon that now.
Sami Naffakh: 8:32
Yeah, if you if you want Todo as a said, this is a pretty low margin. Ah, business. Ah, and and we play on the number of segments. Ah, you know, we do have branded business, which by essence, is more profitable. But we also have ah, a lot of private label business and also some commodity businesses. And those are pretty thin on the margins, so we can't afford to have a lot of inefficiencies, ineffectiveness and and As a result, we are, you know, pretty relentless in trying Thio identify and eradicate all sources off waste that we can have and that's, you know, material waste, milk waste, but also product waste, energy, waste, efficiency, waste. You can name it as much as you want, and the approach we're taking ah, is always the same. And that's what I'm going through in that in that article in Lincoln and the first step is really to understand at the rights granularity where do we waste and why do we waste? Um, and that's easy said. But that's not easy done, especially when you have a large scale and pretty complex operation with a lot off plants and within each plant, a lot off processes and technologies and and the way we've been doing this is really free leveraging, ah, digital capabilities, the data, big data and analytics. So, you know, we had to create an architecture if I o. T where we could get information almost real time on all the points where we believe we were wasting. Ah, we're creating waist and then we had to create the art infrastructure to be able to collect the data structure it unit for my zits and then analyze its to Dr Action. There's been, Ah, it's been a pretty intensive work we've been going through over the last 18 to 24 months, which is really paying off. Um, as whereas we're speaking a second pillar that we've been actively working on is really effective collaboration between the various entities in the business so that we have a better both forecasting but also responsiveness. So how do we work better between our commercial friends who are planning the demand and dealing with customers on the markets and our milk friends who are dealing with the flow of milk and forecasting? Ah, and managing. You know what's happening on the farm aside so that we try to be as Proactiv and as responsive as possible in managing the end foreseen and the volatility on both demand and supply and the last thing wish you alluded to is really to work on the parliaments and and train and give new tools to people on the shop floor, but also to give him the power to take the right decisions at the shortest interval the time interval possible. So a lot off work really in training, driving the capabilities and empowering people on the show floor to Dr Action. Real time.
Radu Palamariu: 11:36
I want to probe a little bit on this last point because it's ultimately is the crux that most I mean is the crux is all changes. It is the people and is the mindset they just usually the hardest changes in technology technology is available, but, you know, people need to use it. I need to use it. Well, how can you give us some examples of how How did you manage to do that? In our law? How would you drive into you have certain I don't know you in You encourage people to fail. You. You do quickly reviews I Is there something practical tangible that you could share with our distance of how you inculcated culture off? Um, ownership in and basically responsibility.
Sami Naffakh: 12:17
Yeah, So it would Ah, you know, I would articulate this Ah, around three main Ah, three main areas. And that's something that we call the line centric organization the CEO in Allah Foods and something we've been working on together with the Boston Consulting Group and the free the free main, um, components of it is first to put the line or the shop floor back at the center of the attention, and that is related to servant leadership. So we had to change obits. The mindsets in our operations, where the people in the lines or in the in the warehouse shop floor are not there to serve others to achieve their objective is the other way around. So the shop floor is the center of the attention, and everything is gravitating around it and is there to serve it. That should be the obsession. And that seems obvious. But at least in the case of Arla , this was quite a paradox in change, where you know guys, what you do on your processes and your admin stuff, and your fancy stuff that you like working on etc. Forget about it as long as it doesn't help and support the people who are driving the day today, hour by hour operations on the shop floor in both involve factories and logistics operations. So that's that's the first point. And that's Maur kind of mindset and leadership change. The second thing was to recreate, as I said, line centric organization where we created cells using, you know, putting together operators, but also maintenance technicians, which we pulled out of their officers and put directly on the line to work in a team with the operators. People working on considers improvements. People work in the quality and those this is a group owns an asset so they can on the line or a couple of lines or an area in the in the warehouse, and they're responsible, accountable and empower to drive the performance on the area that they're responsible for. So you already give the power back to the shop floor and you empower them. And of course, you trained them and you give him new tools to be able to succeed in that in that quest. And the last thing I would say is that we've reduced the ah, the time interval where we're saying everything that can be resolved by this team that I've just mentioned in in their shift has to be resolved there without any kind of escalation, of reporting whatever to anybody else. So what you can fix and what you consort in your time Interval You do so and you fully empowered and trained to do so and only what big what goes beyond the time interval of a shift has to be escalated, and then we do the same on the daily base, and then we do the same on the weekly basis. Espresso we move from everything has to be reported out to management. And then that goes into the Pareto. And then you on the scratch the surface of the top problems. But you don't fix the immense majority of the problems to you fix everything in different time intervals. And again that seems to be pretty easy to understand. Conceptually, in the ways of working is quite a radical change, but that is very, very powerful.
Radu Palamariu: 15:28
Mm, thanks for sharing. I mean, I could not agree more in them. And it's not especially the point with giving the apartment of the people of solving things by themselves. Yeah, fundamentally. It sounds like a very obvious thing to do, but but in actual fact, when when those people were usedto, let's say, wait for the decisions to be made at management level and maybe the management, like you said the other night minds, the changes to empower the shock foreign put it at the center Horses Management Using them is, as you know, kind of too. Lates is big ships, and I would say that most companies are a lot of companies. Lot of manufacturing companies don't have yet to make that shift. In some ways, it's kind of like cos forgetting to put the consumer at the center of what they do and being getting too lost the but the level of internal politics, which also happens a lot. And I'm sure you're your friends at the decision. Materials can attest to that. That's why they have a lot of business, because we tend to forget the fundamental. So I'm very happy that you should be very practical. Ah, practical example. And I'm pretty sure it wasn't easy for you, but but happy that it worked out. And I want to now go to the point where the way you Richard brought up briefly on the material a plant. I thinkit's in Brenda's room. It's a big investment for you. It is close to 90 million U. S. Dollars that that you made there on Guy wanted to go a little bit deeper. What's the long term strategy wise this important to the to our allies, the company? And how do you think that? The bigger picture?
Sami Naffakh: 17:01
Yes. And look, this is a perfect example off what I was referring to before where we have to make some strategic decisions on whether we believe what we do we best on and whether we believe value for the milk is gonna be created in future. Um, so in the case of Mozzarella, actually, it was, um it was pretty simple. If you look at the Missouri, the markets, the global demand is booming, and that's primarily driven by the piece of market. Pizza is using 95% off the Missouri, which is produced the word wild, and and that's Ah, pizza market is moving, especially in the emerging markets. But even if you look at Europe, it expected it's expected to grow double digits in the next three years. So there's a huge demands growth on the mozzarella world, wild and the same time. And even though ah, you know, we have competitors who have announced also investment in mozzarella recently glam via an island and then from there on a couple of areas to you, to name just a few we know that's even with these investments. The global, the global capacity is not gonna be sufficient to support expected growth. Um, so you know, from it from A from a demand versus capacity standpoint, the picture you is or seems to be pretty clear and on top, Madeira is really an area well, cheese in general. And most are really in particular is an area where we do believe we have real expertise and and some pretty unique products. So, you know, some strong RND and production nohow some pretty unique products that we can offer Thio to the customers and which we know are highly appreciated. So when you put the two together ah, and and considering that our currents assets on the gorilla have bean completely over utilized already, it was a pretty ah, you know, a pretty straightforward decision.
Radu Palamariu: 18:51
I didn't I didn't know this. I never I never thought about this. Definitely, there's more. There's more people eating pizza. That's a that's a good thing. I also like pizza, but definitely good for good for you. I know also that you have some pretty big relocation projects that are being being done at the moment. So you have a couple of changes over cream production lines. You also arm shifting from from your site in Saudi Arabia and you have a site in Riyadh toe a new side that your choir, which is located in borrowing These are not easy to do, especially, I mean, in any context, but okay, especially also in in the context of the product that you have, which is, of course, you you need to take into account safety and then and regulation and health and a lot of other criteria. So usually when you do such a message relocations, what are some of the biggest challenges that you need to you need to take into account and to make it successful?
Sami Naffakh: 19:52
Uh, yeah, it's a very good question. So before I answer the question just to give maybe a bit of background to the to the audience that the reason why we're doing those transfers is because we've we've acquired recently, Um, a, um, a new factory in in Bahrain, which we bought from Mont Elise, Um and and that factory already has some values which are under the craft license that we also keep, Um, but the Middle East is a very big market for us. And Ah, and currently until we had ah, purchase that that new operation, we were shipping about 80% of the product out off off then mark out of two factories in Denmark, one located in the cave. Find the other one is a located in this room. Ah, and the bits. The rest was coming from the plant in Saudi that you mentioned in Dania. So you know, having a new state of the art operation located locally was a no brainer. Interest off proximity, agility, really reactivity, responsiveness, etcetera s. So that's why we, uh we decided to do the pretty obvious, which was to relocates the volumes that we currently producing in Denmark to that new ah, new plants in in Brian Having said that, a CZ you're saying this is ah, you know, the principal is pretty straightforward. Ah, doing it correctly is is not that straight forward. So, to your question, I, um when I thought about it, um, they're four main points that came that came to my mind. The 1st 1 is obviously to keep the product organ elected consistency, right. You're you're dealing with foods. Ah, you know that people are very much attached to given taste and conned consistence and an experience. And, of course, when you move from one factory to another factory and when you start changing orbits the process, even though it might be similar, it's never exactly the same. And then you're gonna use different materials because you're gonna source materials, materials locally and self sourcing them in Europe. All of that can create some change in the customer experience and the consumer experience. And that's we have to minimize because clearly wanna have a product which she's asked, close this possible. It's possible to what people are used to and what were they like. That's the first challenge. Of course, the 2nd 1 is during that transition. You wanna keep customer service of the highest level, and you don't have any disruption. So how do you make sure in the whole transition process that this is as smooth as possible, keeping in mind that you can't have it too long or too secure? Otherwise, it cost you too much. So what do you put the trigger between making It's efficient and effective without taking risk and customer service would be a 2nd 2nd challenge. The 3rd 1 is off course. That plant in in Manama that we've acquired is going to be a huge change from we're gonna be doubling well, actually more than doubling, ah, doubling to begin with. But that plant currently produced about 25,000 tons, and he's going to get 200,000 tons in the next four years. Let's say so. We're gonna credible production in the next few years. That's a massive change, but that planets producing it's not like a green fields. So we have to implement those changes and install these new equipments and recruit all the new labour, etcetera, etcetera. That's right. Without disrupting the current operation, which is again a significant challenge. And last but not least, obviously Ah, this comes with some implications for the size in Denmark. Ah, who will see a significant amount of volumes moving out. So we have to very carefully and sensitively manage the consequences on that side of the pond.
Radu Palamariu: 23:49
Mmm, Yeah, that's that's message to four times more That that is indeed mindblowing numbers from 25,000 tons to 100,000 tonnes. And I think that gets me to the next question, cause I'm actually curious, and I think I'm speaking for a lot of other people in the audience. Um, you have you have an incredibly strong presence in the Middle East manner region, right, Middle Eastern Africa region. So that's your largest year market outside of Europe. How how did that come about? And it's almost like, you know, is prompting into my mind Alaska directly. Why do you have such a strong share of the market there? Yeah,
Sami Naffakh: 24:27
it's an interesting one. Ah, and ah, and the main reason is history to be here, to be honest. But you're right. Ah, Middle East. Ah, Millicent off Africa is our largest international market. Ah, you know, it's about seven million euros off turnover these days and they still growing very fast. Um, and that is very critical to the business because it's ah, you know, it's a It's a fast growing business, but it's also a fairly profitable business reason being that most of the product we sell in the Middle East are branded and obviously ah, the margins on bread. The products are better than on on private label or or commodities now back to your question. We actually ah, Allah started its presence in released a long, long time ago. It started belief. Believe it or not, in the 19 fifties, with the import off her back, the better brands. Why? Why did somebody Ah, started the importing lower back in the in the Middle East, in Saudi in the fifties? I don't exactly know. But there is a long track record of history and then then have foods. Our subsidiary in ah in Ah, Saudi was actually established in the 77 s almost 50 years ago. And that's from history of presence means that we have a strong knowledge. The market's strong knowledge of the players strong stand in the business community, and that clearly helps a lot of those markets every specific. You need to understand how they work. You need to understand the consumerist need to understand the customers. You need to understand how business is conducted. And I think we have all of that. And that's translating, having a very strong product for folio both in terms of relevance and quality which is driving. Ah, you know the growth were Sid experiencing
Radu Palamariu: 26:18
on I want to come back a little bit. Same into, um um to the two points that you mentioned that mattered a lot in terms of the results you've gotten so far, which was point number one was increasing the visibility and the quality of inside that he got from the data around your your supplication and production and manufacturing in the point number two, which was a better alignment between applying demand. Right. So I wanted to link that those two points also and ask you, Did you use certain tech innovations in particular that helped you get to those two points better? Was there you mentioned I ot where there's some Were there some specific, uh, tech in supply chain innovations that you used that you could mention?
Sami Naffakh: 27:04
Yeah. So I would mention quite a few. We did. And we're still because that's obviously ah, never ending. Ah program. But we didn't invest ah quite heavily in i o t. And in in process controls from which we could we could gather data. Ah, we did invest a lot in creating your data hub where we could collect and ah, normally collected also Ah, harmonized data. Ah, And then we did invest in a number of analytical tools whereby we could use this data and convert it into something we could use the drive action. So quite some work there, a lot of investment also in automation. Andi, you know, stuff like a missionary and the robotics is is nothing new. But we also did invested a lot in in a TVs in automated guy. The vehicles eso if you Ah, if you walk in Ah, one of four factories these days you'd hardly see, especially in the main ones. You'd hardly see any material movements or palate movements through people or through Emmanuel forklift trucks. You see a lot of a G. V s running across the whole factories driving and bring him through the lines and taking the Finnish goes out of the lines and the putting them into racks and taking them in the wrecks and and driving them to the year two loading to the loading bay. So quite a lot off investment in ah, in ultimate izing, the flow off goods. We also and this is more exploratory. But we were doing quite a lot of work into looking at ah ah, automation in logistics on guy would you know, I would look at it in two ways. One is, ah, having with invested in the systems for having a continuous optimization off routing to minimize the number of kilometers that we run. We also have invested in some systems to optimize the field rate off the trucks. And we're looking at ah, as anybody else writes that we're looking at a time Thais trucks. Ah, and self driving trucks, not something we're yet piloting, but something we're working on with with a number of structure players. The one thing that we're piloting in cities and especially Copenhagen, is electrical trucks in stuff foresight, fuel driven trucks. So pretty wide range off. You know, investment in ah, in new tax and a new tools
Radu Palamariu: 29:37
on DDE. That brings me to the question around the commerce because it's changing. Basically, consumer behavior is changing. The man behavior has changed pretty much everything, actually, and it's just continues to grow. And we've had black. Friday we heard the Ali Baba Singles Day, and it's again blown all records this year. How is that that changing your business in if in any way, always wth aecom? First Alan Channel affecting Arla. To
Sami Naffakh: 30:05
be honest, two dates, not hugely. And this is for two reasons. The 1st 1 is that allies not, um, it's not having any business consumer that direct to consumer business, right? It's Ah, we do e com, but we do it come true retailers through the retail dot com websites on dhe. The second reason is that in the food industry, E comm is still pretty marginal. Um, I think if I'm ah not wrong Ah, it's about 3% off our turnover through three come three retailers. Ah, UK, being the beast market, where it's close to 10%. But it's still a still a pretty small portion. Having said, That's your right calm comes with even when he goes through retailers. It comes with a number of challenges in terms, off volatility and ah, and complexity. Ah, and and if you bear in mind that a lot of our products are fresh and have ah, very short shelf life, this is something which you know we can only deal their way through a better responsiveness. We can't simply because of short shelf life. We can't build up huge invent stories to cover for any unexpected demands. Ah, from from me Come. So it's all about to being Maur more agile and more responsive.
Radu Palamariu: 31:23
Mmm. Moving the discussion a little bit to your to the human side, into the tell inside and and basically to selecting people and picking the right and picking the winning teams. Are there certain principles that you follow when you're choosing and selecting and retaining? Trying to retain your your top talent in your leadership teams?
Sami Naffakh: 31:48
Yeah, that's Ah, that's a very interesting question. So, uh, you know, if if I'm if I'm looking at the way I what I'm looking for when I'm recruiting a new leader or the way I assess people that I have in my in my organization, the first thing I was ah, I would look at is the is the mindset. Has the person the person got the right mindset in terms off can do and we'll do in terms of driving solutions rather than just raising problems, interest off, looking at new ways and new opportunities rather than just looking at what's been done in the past and the way we've been working the past and somebody who's a self starter. So you know mindset to me is very important because this is what's going to drive arrest. Ah, the rest of the of the work. The second thing I'm looking at is the ability to embrace and drive change. And this is about being able to engage the organization, to work effectively with the people, to set the direction and to get the organization behind the direction, driving the sense of purpose, driving the sense of priority, ancestral. So is that person able to drive change, but not as a person but across his organization with his people? Um, because, you know, it's not very effective to have a leader running in front and then no one behind him
Radu Palamariu: 33:08
on there, not a legal. And it's taking a walk. OK, exactly. So I
Sami Naffakh: 33:14
don't need I don't need the experts. We have a lot of expertise in the organization from a technical standpoint and also from conceptual standpoint, we really need to know. What we need is people who can get the other the organization with him in the right, in the right direction and and, as you know, related to this Ah, we do. We need people who are people focused and people focused. You know, this is always Ah, this is always to be tricky because, you know, if you have to drive changes and if you have to drive improvements, it always comes with a bit of attention. So, you know, I'm not looking for people who want to be friend with everyone, but I wanna want you know, I'm looking for people who can have the right balance between pushing and pulling who are computer, who obsessed with continuously developing their organization, their people and who were effective in communicating and engaging. You know, communication is Maura and Maur a critical capability that we need to have a leader's. If you don't communicate properly, you don't create the sense off engagements purpose and an urgency you need and therefore you don't get people behind you and therefore you get stuck pretty quickly s o that ability to listen and to communicate both ways, which is, you know, one way is to give you a message. But the other way is to listen to what people have to say and to take into consideration is quite is quite critical. Onda Last one I would mention is that you know I'm always looking for People were who have a good balance between a strategic mindset. So who can see no, just today and tomorrow, but also the day be beyond tomorrow. And who can drive the direction for the next few years washed having ah, pretty high operational cumin because of the everyday, You know, we have to Ah, we have to execute flawlessly and we have to deliver the day to day performance.
Radu Palamariu: 35:09
Huh? In a very personal question to you because you've managed successfully to transition. So you were You were 10 years in Unilever. Then you went to Reykjavik cancer for five years. Then you were in Donald five years and you were in Este Lauder, which is well, I mean, they're not is quite a different business than than record breaking somewhere where it is. If I'm stupid is not quite the same thing. I still live. There, obviously, is more cosmetics now, Our lot obviously a little bit different. How did you I mean, are there certain principles when you make these changes because it's never easy to transition and you've done it successfully. Other certain principles that you follow to help you navigate to a new company toe to form a new team into adept and and and make it successfully.
Sami Naffakh: 35:51
Yes, I think you know the ah ee ay. There's some differences in there, some commonalities. So and you know, it's It's a very wide question that we could say we spend a lot of time on its. But if I'm trying Thio to summarize it, it's a question off. Ah, I think building on your past experiences, successes, but also failures. And I've not always been successful. I've had some of Mason mistakes and I some failures and and you have to learn from them eso you know, using your past experience and looking at what is what is coming now what you can leverage in a new in the new business in new context, together with the ability to to learn and to adapt to the new circumstances. So you, when you get in a new ah, in a new industry or in your new business, you have to understand how this works. Ah, how this works in terms off the way the business is run that how it works in terms of the way of the industries is being you know the playing field, but also the internal culture. So you know what makes people tick? What's the history? What happened in the past? What's the local culture, etcetera, etcetera, And very clearly. You know, when you move from from an American listed company, which is still run pretty much as a family business, I use the loader to Scandinavian, their record operative. You're in a complete difference, Playfield, and you have to take take the time to understand this and to understand you know, again what you can leverage and and what are the past stuff that you can Ah play with? And what is the new stuff that you have to adapt to and to learn?
Radu Palamariu: 37:31
Yeah, sure. Ah, Final question for me, Sammy. Looking back on your career, which has been, ah, long and very successful one. And if you want to share a couple of pieces of advice that you found most most useful to you maybe from your mentors are along the way principles that you followed, what would that be? I
Sami Naffakh: 37:51
would say I mean, the 1st 1 that comes from a minus. Keep learning. Um, it's always, you know, things change first. Ah, you know, you might move from in different environments, as as we just said and you have to you have to be able to learn and to that. And the word is changing, and the world is changing super fest. So the way, Ah, respectively, of the industry, the way we ran supply shed today is very different from what it was 10 years ago, in the five years ago. And with the, you know, the ongoing digital revolution is going to change again very fast. One pretty sure that you know the way we're gonna be operating in 3 to 5 years. Gonna be very different from the way we operate today. Um, And if you want to be, ah, staying in the game and if you don't want to be getting into ah into lagging, then you have to constantly learn and adapt to this new reality. And you have to have the willingness and the mental agility to your to be doing so s so that would be my first piece of advice. Be curious, Will be a 2nd 1 And that's also related to learning, right. Be curious about what's happening. No, only in your business not only in your company, normally your industry, but beyond this, because there might be a lot of good stuff, which which can be applicable to what you're doing. So look outside, connects network, reads, be open to the words and and be curious. Um, and the last one is and that's pretty much what I try to do in my career is try to broaden the experience, and the sooner you do, it's the better. So, you know, try to broaden your experience functionally discovering new feels Ah and New Areas Road. And it's geographically because it's a fantastic experience and say it is a fantastic learning Thio go of roads and B, you know, confronted with different ways of working in different culture. And and I would also advise Thio to go from ah, you know, to your to go in different companies because you experienced different operating models and different corporate culture was also build your overall Ah, you know, skill sets and enter the ability
Radu Palamariu: 40:08
thanks for sharing all the very lupul end and very points any much appreciate much appreciate all the examples and case studies and very good sharing session that we had today good luck in the next project's good luck with the relocation projects as well. Good luck with the mozzarella plant and looking forward to it to buying some of the somewhere the island project. Ah, to use it on my own pizza. And it's been a pleasure to have you with us today, so
Sami Naffakh: 40:37
thank you very much for for your interview Ready? We've been There has been a very enjoyable time from my from my
Radu Palamariu: 40:43
perspective. Thank you for listening. If you like what you heard, we should to go to www dot elka global dot com included the podcast patent for all the show. Notes of the interview also subscribed our mailing list to get our latest updates. First, if you're listening through a streaming platform like iTunes, Spotify was teacher. We would appreciate a kind view. Five Star works best to keep us going and our production team happy and, of course, share it with your friends. I most active on Lincoln, so do feel free to follow me. And if you have any suggestions on what what to do and hooting by next, don't hesitate to drop me a note. And if you're looking to hire top executives and supply chain or transform your business. Of course, contact. This is well to find out how we can help.