#56: Dr. Dirk Holbach Chief Supply Chain Officer, Laundry & Home Care of Henkel

#56: Dr. Dirk Holbach Chief Supply Chain Officer, Laundry & Home Care of Henkel Featured Image

Dr. Dirk Holbach is currently the Corporate Senior Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer, Laundry & Home Care at Henkel Global Supply Chain.

With more than 20 years of experience in supply chain, operations, purchasing and sales, Dirk has held various roles on a local, regional and global level at Henkel. His special focus has been on supply chain strategy and organizational development, network optimization, continuous improvement, and post-merger integrations.

Henkel, the German-based global consumer goods well-known for its brands such as Persil, Loctite, and Schwarzkopf, with close to 20 billion euros in revenue last year has undergone continuous changes over the last years. And Dirk will help share some interesting case studies in the supply chain transformation undergone.

Listen to the full discussion here:



Connect with the Guest:

Dr. Dirk Holbach: Linkedin
Henkel: Facebook | Twitter | Linkedin | Youtube

Some of the highlights from the podcast:

  • Reducing energy consumption by more than 50%.
  • Using biodegradable packages for Henkel.
  • How Henkel keeps up with new tech in supply chain. A balanced mix between a top-down and bottom-up approach.
  • E-commerce ready products.
  • How Henkel drives gender diversity in their operations.

Show notes:

  • [01:46] Can you tell us a little bit about your transformation plan? How has been the transformation journey so far? What are some of the results you’ve already been seeing on the supply chain side?
  • [02:25] It was more on getting the right leadership in the different key positions than focusing on networks. Then once that was pretty much settled then start driving efficiency in the network and the key theme of the 2017 to 2020 plan is definitely the digital transformation.
  • [05:13] I wanted to ask you from Henkle perspective, what are some of the measures that you have taken to ensure a more sustainable supply chain?
  • [06:09] In the laundry, we reduced specific energy consumption by more than 50%. So that means every product or ton of products introduced lost half of the energy compared to almost 15 years ago, and that has always been our focus.
  • [12:11] Have you also looked into the biodegradable type of packages for some of your products?
  • [17:08] Start with yourself and do good things. There are tools that our mentees developed, so make it available to others so that they can contribute, make it even stronger and increase the impact on the total system.
  • [18:02] How do you introduce new developments that make sense to the business in the business itself? How do you keep up with it in terms of making sure that you’re abreast of all the changes, new developments, and new learning?
  • [20:12] Our approach when it comes to supply chain is a mix between a top-down and bottom-up approach. We adjust the borders from time to time in order to make sure that we catch up with the most recent development. We also exchange experiences, ideas, and thoughts inside the organization.
  • [24:00] Do you follow certain steps from your position as head of supply chain when it comes to a new product line or a new brand into the company?
  • [27:13] You have to be sure that the master data is clean before you integrate, otherwise, you pay the price in double.
  • [28:39] How does Henkel approach taking on the e-commerce site?
  • [30:03] It’s not only about the supply chain such as the physical process, but also about the products. You need to have products that are e-commerce ready, so it should be as compact as possible.
  • [35:13] How do you drive gender diversity within Henkel’s operation?
  • [37:38] We have put quite a high emphasis on supporting our female colleague’s development in the organization. In addition to looking regularly at the numbers, we have a specific cohort of top female talents female.
  • [41:43] Can you tell us a little bit about the value of continuous education? And what will be your next course?
  • [44:17] I would actually like to invest time in digital transformation and to learn more about how other companies are doing it.
  • [46:07] What measures have you taken with your team in the context of Henkel on getting employees and get your teams to be very comfortable on failing and to encourage them to fail in order to achieve new creative ways of doing things?
  • [49:30] It’s really about excellence in execution,  perfect preparation, thinking about contingency scenarios- what can go wrong, and really deliver on time, on the budget- everything as planned.
  • [51:36] If you had one piece of advice that you would give to younger executives aspiring to become a CSO one day, what would it be?
  • [52:11] You need to take some risks and also shape your own area of responsibility in a way on how you want to do it.

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:

Episode #04: Industry 4.0 and Diversity with Roxane Desmicht Head of Supply Chain at Infineon Technologies

Episode #17: Dr. Yossi Sheffi Director of the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics

Episode #55: Michael Byrne Managing Director of Toll Group




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