#138: Signify, Innovation in Light and LiFi

Alexandre Baubert is currently the CSCO, Head of Supply Chain at Signify.

He joined Signify at the end of 2019 and immediately started to transform the supply chain function with a verticalization, specialization, and simplification strategy to bring improved customer satisfaction and long-term sustainable performance, driven by a renewed, talented, and ambitious workforce.

Listen to the full discussion here:

  • Stream by clicking here.
  • Download as an MP3 here.



Connect with the Guest:

Alexandre Baubert: LinkedIn

Some of the highlights from the podcast:

  • How Alexandre’s career in supply chain begun
  • Sustainability angle of Signify
  • LiFi – internet via light
  • Main challenges that Alexandre foresees 
  • Hiring for skills vs hiring for attitude
  • Advice for young professionals that are stepping into their careers

Show notes:

  • [0:50] How did you end up in the supply chain in the first place and what was one inflection point of your career?
  • [2:36] As a science guy, reaching a pivotal point at the age of 20 made me reflect on my purpose and values, leading me to seek out a company that prioritizes sustainability at its core, like Signify.
  • [4:28] So you are an electrical engineer, a rocket scientist, and you are in satellites. Tell us how did you end up doing the supply chain?
  • [4:55] I got the opportunity to join Schlumberger in New York in the IT domain. So I entered into the Digital IT space and that’s where everything started. So really, from the Digital IT space, and then into the real world, or supply chain.
  • [6:22] How is Signify, as a company that produces lighting products that are crucial for energy conservation in buildings, addressing sustainability concerns from a supply chain perspective and how are you, as the leader of the supply chain, approaching this issue?
  • [7:30]For simplicity’s sake, there are three main channels: consumer (direct to consumers or through distributors), OEM (for brands and high volume), and professional (for large installer projects).
  • [9:18] What do you look at and what’s your main focus in Signify when you look at making your whole supply chain from end to end perspective more sustainable?
  • [9:27]The company has been carbon neutral since 2020, not as a form of “clean washing,” but because of their commitment to selling energy-saving lighting products and their sustainable manufacturing practices, which has been a part of their values for many years.
  • [12:35] Signify develop a LiFi that literally has internet via light. Tell us a little bit about that.
  • [12:44] I was amazed as well, LiFi was a new concept that came up just before 2018-2020 started to make some noise. It’s basically a high-speed bi-directional wireless communication of data using the spectrum of light. 
  • [16:19] What keeps you up at night, Alexandre? What are some of the main challenges that you foresee within Signify? And how your network and your supply chains are organized and what do you want to do for 2023?
  • [18:23] I have to say I’m extremely proud of how the team reacted in the last two years. It’s been tough, it’s been burning. Our patience have been tested a lot, but the way a lot of the teams have reacted is amazing. And that’s why the word agility is there. We just had the biggest strategic meetings at Signify and it’s the theme. 
  • [19:23] Are you in a position where you have to reshape your networks, and your providers, how are you thinking from the geopolitical risk aversion angle?
  • [20:53] We have the opportunity to rebalance our footprint, and we’re doing it, it will take some time. Let’s not dream it, agility doesn’t come just by declaring we are a giant, I think the whole game is lead time, right now is faster in responding to customer needs. 
  • [22:47] Hire for skills or hire for attitude? When do you prefer one over the other? Or what are your thoughts?
  • [23:05] You need to be both. You need skills and you need to continue professionalizing the function having expertise. But I think more and more, it’s true that the leaders of tomorrow will need to demonstrate an improved attitude.
  • [27:46] There are a lot of machine learning coming out for a while now. How do you see this future? Do you see some wacky type of combination of roles coming up that perhaps not in the typical plan, make source deliver a framework that we most organizations have?
  • [29:25] So I still believe that we will be helped by AI and machine learning, but it’s not going to replace it completely. Obviously, a human being still needs very strong demand planners today.
  • [29:48] What is your advice for many other young professionals that are stepping into their career? What has helped you the most in your career?
  • [30:55] I would say ambition, rigor, and confidence. Building self-confidence in yourself and the trust that you can gain from others would be the advice that I give to young talents that are sometimes not sure about themselves and their worth.
  • [31:38] Would you tell somebody that graduates that supply chain is a great career? And why would you say it’s a great career?
  • [32:24] I tell you it is not for everyone, but it’s rewarding. Like an amazing heart working in your body. So the body can run and some companies are athletes. Some are going slowly or do not have good hygiene. But I can tell you, it’s an amazing journey to be in that function.

Quotes from the Episode:

Soundbite from the Episode:


About the Host:

The host, Radu Palamariu is the co-author of “From Source to Sold – Stories of Leadership in Supply Chain”. He has been named one of the top 3 Global Supply Chain Influencers on LinkedIn and was featured in ForbesBloombergWEFBangkok Post, and MIT Supply Chain Talent magazine. Radu invites executives to share stories and perspectives around technology, logistics, e-commerce, supply chain, and manufacturing, and their views on how the future will look.

Alcott Global connects and upgrades the supply chain ecosystem by finding the right talent through executive search, developing talent through learning solutions, and meeting supply chain technology needs through a comprehensive crunch base marketplace.

The supply chain executive search has been our focus since the very beginning, offering recruitment services for top-tier supply chain roles at every level of the end-to-end supply chain: plan, source / procure, make, and deliver. Our consultants have years of experience in placing top talent, in North America, LATAM, Europe, the Middle East & Africa, and APAC, and besides speed, one of our biggest strengths is our network within the supply chain industry, and we capitalize on it to find the best solutions.

Through the years, we have grown as an organization and our offerings with it. One of our initiatives, the learning solutions- training and supply chain academy, is focused on transforming leadership- self-leadership, executive presence, influence capital, and business acumen. Through Supplify, we aim to match corporations with the top technology companies to solve their supply chain and logistics challenges with a focus on innovation and digital transformation.

We are in constant touch with the leaders in supply chain, inviting them to inspire the supply chain professionals in thought-provoking podcast episodes and events, and showcasing what is possible at the yearly Leaders in Supply Chain Awards.

Related Episodes:

#135: Adapting to the Supply Chain New Normal

#136: Vision of Customer-Centricity in Supply Chain

#137: How to have more CEOs from Supply Chain




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