Thierry, Supply chain manager, Rexel, Belgium
‘Rexel quickly gives responsibility to those who show motivation’
Supply chain manager of Rexel Belgium, Thierry enjoys his job as much as his company. In an ever evolving sector, it is key to be positioned in new segments, while ensuring the profitability of the core business.
What has been your career path ?
After an ICAM general engineering training and a first work experience in logistics in an industrial consumer goods company, I joined the Rexel group headquarters in Paris in 2001, as an engineer in logistics. I then did operational support for the supply chain with various subsidiaries. Then, I worked on the Medium Term Plan Supply Chain and on various issues requiring significant investments, to finally develop a collaborative supply chain program with our strategic suppliers. These nine years at the headquarters led me to visit 14 countries, on missions to support local teams. Rexel has also given me the opportunity to do a Masters in Business Administration in evening classes at the IAE of Paris, which allowed me to gain a broader understanding of the company’s business.
Since 2010, I am the Supply Chain Director of Rexel Belgium, in charge of purchasing, procurement, inventory management, storage and transport. Procurement and inventory management are supported by a team of eight people. Logistics is provided by a team of about 95 people located in a logistics center of 18,000 square meters, which delivers all the flow of products in Belgium.
What are your current missions?
My responsibilities in purchasing are very diverse. They include the selection of strategic suppliers, the contracting of commercial relationships, as well as the optimization and monitoring of purchase conditions. I am supported by a team of buyers working together with product managers, so that each sales person has a good knowledge of both products and applications and an understanding of the business issues. The optimization of discounts is a key issue for a distributor. However, my background in supply chains gives me the opportunity to offer suppliers new ways to optimize costs, inventory and customer service, working in a win-win approach.
The performance of the supply chain is evaluated in terms of cost and inventory levels, but also in terms of customer service, a true barometer of our business. In addition, it is crucial to give continuous attention to the functioning of teams and the development of all employees, in order to optimize communications, transversally complementarity and efficiency.
What have you learned from your experience at Rexel ?
During my nine years at the head office, I honed my rigorous technical and analytical skills. It helps me to develop a synthetic vision to support local teams in their development. Now I am much more focused on the management and progress of my team to be agents of change. It is important to alternate continuously between medium and long term reflections and quick decisions. Of course I am not alone: in addition to being coached by my manager, I am surrounded by all the managers of the company.
Purchasing allows me to be more in tune with the business. It’s a very exciting challenge! But I also discovered the magnitude of the task: the portfolio of product suppliers is very large. I meet people who have a strong technical and commercial background, so it is for me to catch up with them!
I enjoy my job and my business, I feel a real dynamic. Rexel quickly gives responsibility to those who show motivation, offering various opportunities in terms of jobs. In a rapidly evolving environment, energy efficiency brings its share of innovation almost every day: new products, new players, new services, new challenges … you must be positioning yourself in new segments, while ensuring the profitability of the core business: this constant questioning creates the richness of Rexel … and also helps to accelerate the pace at which every day passes!