When we think about Operations, we tend to associate thoughts about production lines and machinery… at first. But there is much more to discover! There are for example several functions linked to Supply Chain which are indirectly tied to production, factories or distribution centers. From Strategic Planning to Customer Satisfaction passing over to Logistic Excellence, we will discover the headquarters structures and challenges of those areas within the world of “Operations” at L’Oréal.
Let’s meet with Vittorio, Supply Chain Director for a Business Division in L’Oréal; Gian Luca, Demand Planner; and Margherita, Launch Planner.
What is your job all about?
Vittorio: I’m in charge of Supply Chain and in simple words, we can say that Supply Chain sums up the all the different steps to get products from its original state to the customer. As Supply Chain Director for the Professional Products Division, I am in charge of Forecasting, Supply Planning as well as the Customer Care processes. Three different areas but only one goal: achieve excellent Customer’s Satisfaction!
Gian Luca: As Demand planner I have the chance to proactively collaborate with a number of teams around me such as Sales, Marketing, Controlling and obviously all my colleagues within Operations. My responsibilities include identifying historical performances and projecting expected future activities for more or less 18 months. The main purpose is to create and develop demand forecasts on both finished goods and Point Of Sales (POS for the experts!) materials, contributing as such to the annual turnover of our family of brands.
Margherita: I am representing the last part of the race of the Supply Chain. My role is to concentrate on the retro planning of each single new product launch before the end-counter day, which is the date when the products you are responsible for are due to be present in all the stores, with no single exception. Being a Launch Planner at L’Oréal is extremely challenging as the distribution in my division (Luxury Division) is very fragmented: we’re speaking about 3000 stores, and there’s an incredible number of new products being launched every single year: roughly 250!
Tell us about an important success-moment in L’Oréal!
Vittorio: One of my biggest challenges (which turned out to be a success-story) was to lead the Supply Chain transformation in order to achieve a delivery lead time of 3.5 days for all our direct customers. In the last 1.5 years my team and I worked on the total order cycle, analyzing and changing each phase of the ordering processes in according to the following mantra:
📱 Digitalization: we’ve developed a new tool for order taking and it’s all managed via IPAD, so a digital and real-time solution to take the orders during the salon visit.
👍 Simplification: the tool manages the commercial and credit conditions, so there’s no need for additional checks on the coherence with our trade and credit policies — it’s all been built in the workflow! A clear impact on the productivity of our Customer Care team: they can now focus their time on assisting customers rather than performing pure operational and low-value-adding tasks.
🎯 Better & Faster delivery: we have segmented our customers, defining the needs of each cluster and we put in place different solutions and deals with our carriers in order to satisfy these different needs. We have also started to use last-mile green delivery in our top city in order to combine lead time performances and sustainability.
The journey is still ongoing but we managed to move the lead time from 5 days down to 3,9 days in 2019. 2020 has been negatively impacted by the COVID crisis so we still have lot of challenged to go through!
What make this target so tough?
Our volumes are huge. We are working with 39 factories and 150 distribution centers all around the world in order to respond to the 7 billion products wanted by our consumers every year. Secondly, the Italian market is very fragmented: we deliver 230M units to more than 30k customers in 41k delivery points.
And Gian Luca and Margherita, what are your secret ingredients for succeeding in this fast-paced environment?
Gian Luca: Collaboration! Producing sound forecasts implies constant relationships with other functions: from Marketing to Sales, passing by Finance and Merchandising. Therefore, the secret weapons to succeed in developing and implementing your strategy are collaboration & coordination!
Margherita: I don’t deny that Launch Planning is a thrilling role that allows you to operate in a fast paced and consumer driven environment almost every day! So, of course, reactivity and proactivity cannot be missing from the list. Then, having fun and enjoying what you do have a big impact on how you deliver your job! Never get bored in what you do !
How do you envision Operations in the future?
Vittorio: The market is evolving very quickly and you need to react and adapt to these changes, better even to anticipate them. What is key is to always bear in mind to develop medium to long term sustainable solutions, as they will allow you to be much more future-ready. Digital transformation and a customer-centric approach are key in our daily business. Our customers are not looking for just a product but for a global experience: quality and performance of products, services, sustainability and our company’s values.
Therefore, here some examples of what we have done in Italy in the last two years:
- Orders taken via a digital solution;
- Development of B2B solution “MyEcare” which gives the possibility to the customers to track and trace the orders, to have the full vision of payments deadline and to interact with our live chat;
- The last mile green delivery
Finally, as already pointed out, my main focus is on Customer Satisfaction. I feel it’s very important because today it’s not just a question of products that you can offer in terms of quality and innovation but also a question of services you can provide. So, working in Supply Chain, trying to transform the customer needs in concrete actions, is what motivates me every day.
Are you interested in Operations? Discover all the opportunities in this field! https://careers.loreal.com/jobs/
*NB: All photos has been taken before COVID-crisis.