Brian White is the Head of Supply Chain Management and MD for Swarovski AG. Prior to Swarovski, Brian worked in consulting for 18 years with PwC and EY helping global retail consumer and industrial companies transform their business through end-to-end integration of supply chains and operations.
Brian started his leadership journey in production and supply chain roles for Tate & Lyle, the sugars and sweeteners company.
Listen to the full discussion here:
Connect with the Guest:
Brian White: LinkedIn
Some of the highlights from the podcast:
- Communicate effectively with stakeholders
- Create effective and flexible supply chain strategies
- Understand P&L and what the business needs
- Building a customer-centric supply chain
- Be curious and use a ‘walk in my shoes’ approach
- [00:57] What are your current responsibilities? And how did you make your career from consulting to where you are today?
- [02:59] I enjoyed the breadth and the change of industries, countries, and cultures that is within consulting, but after a long period, I realized that I was working on long transformation programs and I was missing that sort of deep personal accountability of being the decision maker.
- [04:21] What do you believe are the most important skills and traits for a successful supply chain leader? And how have you developed those qualities over time?
- [05:07] You need to have the energy and drive to understand how the end-to-end supply chain really works from your customer or your customer’s customers’ point of view- what they are after and how that drives the demand. With that understanding of how the ecosystem works, you can manage the risks and you can see opportunities within it.
- [06:14] In your experience, what are some of the biggest challenges that supply chain leaders face in terms of communicating effectively in the business?
- [10:39] Can you tell us about a time when you think you had a really great meeting with the top management, either from your current role or your past roles, where you felt like everyone was communicating really well?
- [12:19] How do you approach stakeholder management as a supply chain leader? Tell us some of the strategies that you feel are most effective in building relationships.
- [12:55] Something I learned in consulting naturally was that it’s amazing to sit by the coffee machine or just in an open area because everybody walks past there, and if you’re available, you can stop to chat and find out what’s going on.
- [13:36] How do you balance operational efficiency and staying flexible and adaptable in the face of challenging business needs?
- [15:08] It’s vital for us as a business to understand how PnL works. That allows us to make the right choices, whether to invest more in e-commerce advertising or into the store, but we know what it drives in terms of profitability.
- [16:36] How has COVID impacted Swarovski’s supply chain? And what steps did you take to mitigate the disruption and challenges?
- [17:13] We did have a regional distribution center network setup, which allowed us to pick up with e-commerce, though it didn’t compensate fully for the store sale drop. But we went from about 10% to 25-30% sales through the e-commerce channel.
- [20:03] How do you communicate tough decisions to the rest of the business?
- [21:23] How do you stay up to date with the latest trend? And what kind of resources do you use?
- [22:30] What advice would you give to supply chain people to make a positive impact in their organization?
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About the Host:
The host, Fei Yu has over 15+ years of experience in Executive Search and Talent Acquisition & Management, gained from top-tier consultancy and premium executive search firms. She is an advocate of cross-cultural networking and has successfully organized and moderated public events.
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.