Supply Chain Now Episode 383
“Don’t run away from things being broken. Nothing’s perfect.”
- Sandra MacQuillan, EVP & CSCO at Mondelez International
Mondelez International owns some of the best-loved snack brands in the world, including Oreos, Cadbury, Trident, Ritz, and BelVita. As a B2C company, they are naturally focused on the values that are most important to their consumers – like sustainability.
Sandra MacQuillan is the EVP & CSCO at Mondelez International. She loves to talk about the ‘magic’ that is created for companies and consumers when functions such as procurement, manufacturing, logistics, quality, safety, sustainability, and engineering come together in pursuit of the same metrics and objectives.
In this conversation, Sandra discusses her frank point of view with Supply Chain Now Co-hosts Scott Luton and Greg White:
- Why businesses need to get away from their focus on ‘greens’ or success stories and focus on the most meaningful metrics (regardless of what they tell us) and the best learning opportunities
- How leaders can work with their teams to create a safe space, without bias, that makes us all stronger as individuals and communities
- How she has connected with all of Mondelez’ key suppliers to see how they are doing and how the company can help them deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
Intro – Amanda Luton (00:05):
It’s time for supply chain. Now broadcasting live from the supply chain capital of the country. Atlanta, Georgia heard around the world. Supply chain. Now spotlights the best in all things, supply chain, the people, the technologies, the best practices and the critical issues of the day. And now here are your hosts.
Scott Luton (00:29):
Hey, good afternoon, Scott Luton back with you here. Supply chain. Now, along with my dear esteemed cohost, Greg white, Greg, how are you doing?
Greg White (00:37):
I’m doing great. I’m pretty excited because the last time we had this as being guest on was pre me. So I haven’t gotten to experience.
Scott Luton (00:46):
Yeah. So as Greg mentioned, we’ve got a powerhouse in the world of global supply chain with us on the show here today, we’re going to be touching on a variety of, of some of the key, most important challenges facing not just supply chain leaders with business leaders. So stay tuned as we look to increase your supply chain acute. Hey, quick programming note, before we get started, if you enjoy today’s conversation, be sure to check our podcasts out. We’ve got a variety of podcasts. We publish Monday through Friday, every day, a new show. And we, if you like this conversation might want to check that wherever you get your podcasts from, don’t forget to subscribe. All right. So Greg, with no further ado, let’s welcome in our featured guests here today. Sandra McQuillan executive vice president and chief supply chain officer for mandolins international Sandra. Good afternoon.
Sandra MacQuillan (01:34):
Good afternoon, Scott. Greg. Nice to, nice to be back with you, Scott. Nice to meet you.
Scott Luton (01:39):
Absolutely. So we were kind of triangulating the last time you were on the show and it’s been it’s. I bet it’s really close to two years. It feels like 20 because the world has changed so much since then had ways and some challenging ways, but all we love our repeat guests, especially those with some unique leadership insights that you always bring. And Greg really excited about this conversation here today.
Greg White (02:03):
Scott Luton (02:05):
I mean, I’m speechless.
Greg White (02:13):
I mean, your reputation proceeds you and your accomplishments are significant. Um, so yeah, we’ve both been in supply chain for a while and you’ve accomplished so much. It’s gonna be great to hear you and I can’t wait for our audience here.
Scott Luton (02:30):
So before we get to the insights perspective on business and some of these issues that we’re all tackling San Angeles, getting to know you a little better, of course, I’ve got an inside track because of our connection a couple of years ago, but tell folks, you know, where are you from and give us an anecdote or two about your upbringing.
Sandra MacQuillan (02:47):
Sure. Yeah. So I’m from Steven edge. Hartfordshire in the, in England, in the United Kingdom, it’s just slightly North of, of London towards Watford and up that way. So that’s where I’m originally. Um, we moved as a family around the UK a little bit with my dad’s job. Uh, and then in 2001, my husband and Tom and I actually left the UK to go and work, um, with my career. Actually, my husband’s amazing in that space. He, he left the UK with me to go and travel 20 years around the world, living in different locations, cultures, um, experiences, and ended up in London, Georgia about five or six years ago and a couple of night dose. And this won’t be news to you, Scott, actually a couple of anecdotes on growing up then. So what brought me to a little bit to where I am my dad’s it wasn’t mechanical engineer. And actually when I was looking at careers and what I wanted to do, no, I liked fixing things, being in it with them. And I was always in his shed, helping him when I wasn’t really helping in being sprayed kind and told me about making stuff and doing things. And I said, I want to be a mechanical engineer like you dad. And he, okay, don’t do it. There is absolutely no money in engineering. And I went into mechanical engineer and listened to him. I just ignored him and went on. And
Scott Luton (04:12):
so Sandra, once you made that decision and once you were in the curriculum and then in the program, did his view change and how did, how do your conversations change?
Sandra MacQuillan (04:25):
A very, he’s always been my hero actually. Uh, and it, you know, you don’t realize it until you realize it sort of thing. And when he told me how proud he was of me, because he’d been tracking what I’ve been able to do, bringing me to, to roll on with the background that I had, he just said, I’m just so proud of you. And that was one of the most special moments because it’s not about any of the other things is about just the people that you love and care about caring and loving yeah. You and seeing what you’re trying to bring. So yes, he changed, he changed a lot and he could see what you could bring with the thinking into a different type of space. Cause I’m, I think we in engineering anymore, but yeah, no, he was, he was very proud of it. Okay. My mom was always proud of whatever I did. So if I tied, but Lacey was up at the party. Yes, exactly.
Scott Luton (05:15):
So what, uh, so Greg is going to ask you here momentarily about more about your professional journey, but one other thing about, um, you know, getting into these technical roles, getting into these engineering roles, you know, is you’re speaking to her audience, whether they are, um, late in high school or their college, or maybe their early career, any advice for folks that are considering, uh, you know, an engineering or more technically oriented start their career in anything you’d like to share?
Sandra MacQuillan (05:43):
Yeah. I would say first of all, do it because you love it. Don’t do it cause you barely have to because it’s a challenging career to go into and it’s a challenging education to go into as well. Um, and if you do love it and you go into it, my goodness thinking capability that it gives you around being able to explore and be curious about things and then translate them into doing something just massive. So the critical thinking, the, the curiosity, the exploration, and then bringing all that together by working with people [inaudible] loved about being an engineer. You know, you can still bring all of you with you, but you bring it with a different type of educational thinking that you’ve learned over the years. So I wouldn’t have done anything else. Now
Scott Luton (06:30):
it gives you a leg up when it comes to problem solving and looking at data and, and um, you know, the technical side, of course, of some of the challenges that we have, uh, regardless of what level of leadership you play on. Alright, so Greg, let’s talk that professional journey with Sandra
Greg White (06:47):
let’s do that. I’ve always believed that engineers are almost born that way. I wonder this is a question that I’ve used as a litmus test in the past. Did you disassemble your toys or family’s possessions to see how they work?
Sandra MacQuillan (07:03):
Hell yeah. Cause I think I know better,
Greg White (07:09):
you know, the kids that the clean rooms are, accountants, the kids who just assembled there they’re engineers. I mean, I think it’s almost that simple to define and understand someone’s gifts and then encourage them into a potential career path at least have them get a look at it.
Sandra MacQuillan (07:27):
Right. No, I agree. I really agree with that. Although I also, yes. And I also think that, um, he doesn’t have to just have that mindset. I think one of the things that I would encourage to your point about how would you encourage people today, if they’re thinking about it. Yeah. There’s the, there’s the IQ and there’s the piece as well. So if you go down this road and you want to go through engineering, don’t in making something happen, you need to be able to connect with people too. So I think there’s that good balance in that space.
Greg White (07:54):
Patience is a virtue, particularly for engineers when dealing with the weaker.
Sandra MacQuillan (08:03):
No, it was just diversity.
Scott Luton (08:06):
I feel weaker in button. We should make a quick theatrical note there to our listeners that may not have seen Greg kind of point at himself as the weaker of us. So I put myself in that boat too. Greg says you and me? No doubt. So,
Greg White (08:22):
so Sandra, tell us how you got from this assembling your toys through your career, to where you are today.
Sandra MacQuillan (08:28):
Yeah, well, clearly the engineering piece helped a bit. I spent some time in the joined as a graduate in the oil industry. So I worked for Exxon for, um, on their graduate. I don’t, if it translates in the U S but you joined and you had a three or four year program where you learned all about the business. And then I was very lucky to get a call from Mars, M and M Mars over here, but it was back in the UK to actually go and work for them. Mmm. As a shift manager. So I started as a manager, making Snickers and making Mars bars and balancing that well, not so much a four o’clock in the morning when you’re on shift, because then you’re hungry. And I had maybe 21 years doing a variety of jobs, chick manager, all the way through to running the global business chocolate food and drinks. What’s the end game. Uh, I lived in five different countries, went to the Czech Republic, Russia. Mmm. At least Belgium and obviously in the UK as well. So we moved around quite bits of family.
Greg White (09:43):
Are there any favorites, any of those areas?
Sandra MacQuillan (09:47):
Um, the Czech Republic is incredibly special to me because I actually got told I couldn’t have children. And I fell pregnant with Jack in the Czech Republic. And we had meeting that was magical place. If you haven’t been going to Prague, it’s much just outside. I was running, but just be careful which seats she sits on. And then I, um, so I spent 20, 21 years in MAs wasn’t planning to leave and then got a call from Kimberly Clark. He wanted someone to and come and join them. Their supply chain. When I last spoke to Scott, we were in year three of our journey on creating the supply chain for Kimberly Clark. I spent, uh, an amazing four new four and a half years building a team and creating a consumer centric, Casey, which was a wonderful experience. I mean, how many people get to do that at that sort of stage in your careers is to create something or build something to show people the power of supply chain, maybe in a business and after about four years.
Sandra MacQuillan (10:49):
And I was so lucky to get a call from our CEO to come and sorry, back to candy. Yeah. Back to candy to see if I would come and join him and his team well at is going to bring in the snacking mate. Right. You know, empowering people to snack and what we can do in supply chain to put the consumer at the center of what we do there. So, Mmm. It was again to go to it. So you could have an opportunity to say no to, and I ended up in [inaudible] a year ago and I don’t know where that year’s gone. Okay. Yeah.
Greg White (11:27):
So maybe I want to explore your career just a little bit more, but maybe, um, because Mongolia is not a us company share a few of your brands that folks,
Sandra MacQuillan (11:40):
Oh yeah. Oreo is a massive brand for us. I mean, um, would be another global brand that we have. We have, we have local brands as well, part of what we is, where local, but not only. So we have the global power brands, Oreo, um, I’ve read mixed crackers, those Belvita, wait, we don’t have a mandoline brand out there, but we have some amazing brands that consumers really connect with as we’ve gone through this process of it’s awful virus COVID-19 we seen a lot of shifting consumer behaviors, brands, and foods that they, we feel comforted and nurtured by and our brands space, because it’s know it’s the emotional connection as well, but that’s, that’s who we are. Yeah. Across
Greg White (12:36):
from my family. I’d like to thank you for keeping us all alive with Oreos.
Sandra MacQuillan (12:44):
Please keep beating them.
Scott Luton (12:47):
So you mentioned, uh, and I know Greg, you’ve got one more question around a journey, but real quick, you mentioned that sense of community for such a large international organization like mandolins. Um, you know, we were leading, um, uh, for quite some time, for several years, we take teams in the elementary schools to, uh, talk supply chain, supply chain one-on-one with third, fourth and fifth graders. And we had several folks through the years that came from the monoline team to volunteer their time. So, so clearly beyond the product side and probably localized, you know, ingredients as you can, but investing in these communities seems to be an important for the model, these international teams.
Sandra MacQuillan (13:24):
Yeah. Hugely important. We were very, um, Tommy’s not probably not the right word, but a very caring organization and the values of doing it. Right. You know, making sure that we’re, we’re empowering people, making sure we’re acting responsibly. Mmm. Maybe valuing our consumers and our customers and the yeah. And we all consumers and customers anyway, but really building those relationships internally and externally massive to us. Mmm. Okay. You know, personally, the supply chain point of view, I’ve always done that kind of thing. Cause I think more than more people know what supply chain is really about and how brilliant we can be in enabling a business to grow, um, and did it for what shareholders value. If it’s, if it’s public, the more talent we get into the by chain. Cause it isn’t just about make it’s about the whole system from finding the right supplier to, to the consumer on shelf. It seems magical really, when you think about what we do.
Scott Luton (14:21):
Yeah. Agreed. Well, so, um,
Greg White (14:26):
I imagine I’m going to mention one of your personal passions and I imagine this comes from the question I’m about to ask. So you are well known as an advocate for sustainability, and I know that’s one of your personal core principles and you bring that to the companies that can go to,
Scott Luton (14:44):
Greg White (14:45):
tell us a little bit about some of the Eureka moments that you’ve had that either shaped your worldview or gave you these points of view that kind of made you who you are.
Sandra MacQuillan (14:55):
Yeah. If I’m some and some relate directly to the sustainability piece and some of just about, but why am I, why am I doing what I’m doing? I think really one of my Eureka moments was really around recognizing that what’s the point without the consumer, if you’re not focused on the consumer and actually some businesses or some parts of businesses, aren’t, they, you know, you can operate in a silo if we’re not really focusing on the, the consumer.
Greg White (15:23):
Yeah. One, it’s not going to be a very strong
Sandra MacQuillan (15:27):
because in the end we’re ignoring that. And two, how do we know what to do? And if you take where the trends are and what we’re hearing from consumers now, sustainability
Greg White (15:36):
plays a huge part in that of wanting to do it right in terms of the values that we have in London, but also too, to do the right thing, which I think is really important.
Sandra MacQuillan (15:46):
And as a supply chain for monthly’s one of the things my leadership team and I have done is we’ve created
Greg White (15:51):
and why are we here?
Sandra MacQuillan (15:52):
And that is building on the values that we have as moms Elise is saying, you know, doing it right from shelf to field. Mmm. If you listen to that, you go, well, hang on a minute. Isn’t that the wrong way round shouldn’t we be from field to shelf.
Greg White (16:05):
Sandra MacQuillan (16:06):
We deliberately did doing it right from shelter.
Greg White (16:09):
Hey central. Well, we do, we start at the shelf, see that the pantry show for be that the, the virtual shelf or in the shops, you know, all the,
Sandra MacQuillan (16:20):
the customers and we work back from there
Greg White (16:23):
so that we, that was a time and we’re not there yet, but over time were finished focusing on the right elements that would drive the excellence and the brilliance that supply chain can bring right. The way back to the suppliers. And if you looked at that through the lens of sustainability is you feed safety through quality, change safety of our people. Those are the, like the non-negotiables for me that have to play in that part for us to do what the consumer wants and what we need to do as a business. Right? So that’s incredibly important perspective. And it’s something that, you know, I had a previous company and what we did was forecast demand. And what I realized over time in supply chain was we talked about forecasting items, like an item, like a box of Oreos, but decide to jump in my basket.
Greg White (17:14):
We weren’t forecasting items at all. We were forecasting items as a surrogate for what the consumer will do. And then you realize you need to forecast the consumer. Then you realize that the consumer is the beginning and the end of the supply chain. And I think companies would do themselves a huge favor by seeing the consumer as part of their sparging, not just part of their customer base, but part of their axles. That’s a revolutionary idea. And one that I think still needs promotions throughout it’s to hear you say that I would expect, I would have expected that, I guess, but nonetheless, it’s great for me to hear you say that. So, uh, anything else? So, I mean, is there anything else that jumped out at you that, you know, kind of made you shake?
Sandra MacQuillan (18:02):
Yeah. The other thing is we’re talking about it a lot in, in my team and in Monza lays is embrace the reds. Mmm. Don’t run away from things being broken. Nothing’s perfect. The greens and what really we’re celebrating, but if you embrace the rant and squeeze it, so it turns into a green that can only be good for, not that I think red sends integrating, but it sort of works if you think it through. Yeah. Let’s pull it apart. Maybe you can have a, you can have a real breakthrough into what do you need to do differently.
Sandra MacQuillan (18:34):
And I think a lot of, a lot of what happens in business is that everybody wants to show how green everything is. Um, and you can measure things that actually show that you’re green and it’s great, but they might be the wrong things in terms of just the consumer care about them and like getting the product to the right place. Am I doing it in the right way? So you can, you can fool yourself if you’re not careful and that can last you for a little while, but if you’re not fixing what’s broken and not using it as an opportunity rather than as a yeah. A stick to beat, which I agree with. Yeah. You haven’t learn and you don’t evolve. So I think to stay in business today and to
Greg White (19:11):
Sandra MacQuillan (19:11):
That people feel that they’re really delivering something you need, you need to look at, what’s not working and fix it and that’s okay. Yeah.
Scott Luton (19:19):
Wow. Uh, I like to take the next three hours and just dive into that because there’s so much truth there,
Greg White (19:26):
leadership life lessons.
Sandra MacQuillan (19:27):
Yeah. All that right there. I haven’t got that many greens yet. I’m still working on the roads, you know,
Scott Luton (19:34):
so this is a great a moment to segue into this next part of the interview, where we’re gonna be talking about some of the challenges faced industry. You know, we interviewed, uh, Kara Brown with Lita coverage earlier this week and she made the remark that I really, uh, I think resonates with us that this moment was built for global supply chain. And there’s a lot of belief, at least on our end that that global supply chain is going to get us through these challenging times into the aftermath and into this, you know, I hate to say the new normal, but it is going to be a vastly different normal for months to come years to come. Um, so with that said, you know, there’s no shortage of challenges facing global supply chain leadership, business leadership. Each of us, uh, the first that comes to mind certainly is, uh, the current state of race and industry and some, and, and opportunities for all. And unfortunately, some of the things that I’m still exist today that have been for decades and we just haven’t quite rooted it out yet. Um, so rather, um, I want to ask you Sandra, you know, um, in your journey that your own and that the model is International’s going through kind of what are some early thoughts and what are y’all doing right now to ensure there are opportunities for all?
Sandra MacQuillan (20:49):
Yeah. So let me, let me start with what we’re doing as a business. And then I’ll, I’ll talk about what it means to me personally. Um, so monthly’s what we, what we’re doing is we’re spending time really listening. We listening to our employees to understand what we need to do more of, or less solve or fix internally, uh, to ensure that people feel that they have this safety place to come to be who they are, wherever they come from, be it in terms of their race, their gender, their that’s social needs. How do we really learn that with, particularly with the focus on race at the moment, because Mmm. In some horrific examples, as we will know of yeah. The injustice, racial injustice, that’s in the world. And if you look, you’ll see social injustice in the world, so we have, we slowed everything down to own it, um, to feel accountable for it as a leadership team.
Sandra MacQuillan (21:43):
Okay. And my boss Jack is leading that you get accountable for that in terms of taking the time to really understand what’s going on in our corporation. And then how do we, as a multinational corporation do our bit, [inaudible] the right thing externally. And the first and foremost, internally, that sort of stuff. We’re playing that through in my team. We’ve, um, we started having it’s rainy, tiny steps, but we started moving into having those really uncomfortable conversations. And I’m, I’m, uh, I’m very lucky to have a more diverse team than maybe others might have. I don’t know, we have a different, uh, able to talk to people who are African American or come from different parts of the world, um, who are able to Asian. And so Africa we’re able to talk Latin America. I mean, you talk about it. Diversity is everywhere, right. But we started to take really small steps and just calling out, yeah, this is what’s happening in the world. How do we feel about it? And what do we need to do differently? And the example starts at the top with our leadership, well, what we need to do. So some really deeper, meaningful conversations that are just kicking us into that really uncomfortable space of talking about what’s really happening and how Oh, Oh, members, our team members, our friends have being affected by that.
Scott Luton (22:59):
If I could interject just for a minute before you, you kind of switch over to the personal side, you know, um, embracing the reds, doesn’t do it justice. It’s not a business metric. It’s a brokenness. It’s a huge challenge. It’s an injustice as you put it, but still that mindset that’s, that’s what, that’s what stuck me as you were sharing that earlier, because if you don’t own it and acknowledge it, you certainly can’t even get to move the needle to, to, to, to driving. [inaudible] doing what needs to happen. So, you know, I appreciate how this, this, it kind of comes together for me. And before I thought that was, that needed to be said, certainly because that is a, it’s a powerful mantra. That’s part of your culture there that embracing, embracing the red.
Sandra MacQuillan (23:45):
Yeah. And that’s not steady red. So we need to find a way to make that safe to me personally. I love that I live in Atlanta. I suspect you guys feel the same to a certain extent, actually, because I live at the home of the civil rights movements of the U S and I am so proud of that. And I am personally
Sandra MacQuillan (24:07):
so upset about what’s happening in the world. So how can I channel that? I’ve been wrestling with, how do I channel that into doing something about it rather than, you know, lamenting what’s happened. Yeah. And I’ve been, you know, I’ve been looking at, I think most of us, all of us or whatever the right terminology is, but we all consider ourselves to be against racism. Um, and I am looking at, and working with some of my team who have been incredibly generous with helping me understand it, what does auntie racist and really mean? What do you have to do to be an ally for people, um, to, to actually create that space as a leader, as a friend, as a parent, whatever, where you are creating an environment where it’s an anti racist environment, people step into saying, no, that’s not acceptable, or yes, that is.
Sandra MacQuillan (24:56):
And thank you for saying it and you’re not protecting, you’re just calling out what’s what’s right. And what’s wrong. And I think if we can go from the anti-racism to being, so if we can get from being against racism, to being anti racist, gosh, we live, it just fixed many of my things that actually, and again, the same first social injustice, I’m very lucky on the, the leadership team sponsor for our rainbow council, which would this month I tried being on as well. The timing is just perfect too. And also make sure that we’re building and learning well, it’s an injustice and other forms of Supreme court judgment. That happened only a couple of days ago. Gosh, great. This is 2020. What is happening that we still have to rule in that way that might lose their job because they decide, yeah. I want to live their lives in a particular way. So I think it, the me personally, it’s like sustainability, it’s a non negotiable. We have that space to do something about it. Cause it’s enough.
Greg White (25:55):
Yeah. Thank you very much. We’ll put Greg, Greg, I want to give you a chance just to, you know, kind of share. I’ve just like I did a moment ago before we kind of talk about one of the movement. I think the really change you have to acknowledge as you have both said. And I think you have to pick a couple of other uncomfortable words that may or may not even be conscious to you. Words like bigotry, prejudice, prejudice is the root of all, any ism racism or whatever. Right. Um, and you have to acknowledge that it is probably subconscious, but probably within, and you have to work hard to fix it. Right. I mean, it doesn’t matter who you’re talking about. If you’re judging them before you meet them or you’re judging them because of where they from or what they look like or how they lived their life. That that is something you’ve got to fix. And to me, that is a core foundational principle that gets us to Dan’s anti-racism to eliminate all of that. Right. Sometimes very, very subtle thing. So
Sandra MacQuillan (27:01):
it’s the unconscious bias, right? It’s the unconscious bias and then becoming conscious of your bias and not being afraid of it facing into it and then changing it, I think that’s, and that takes courage for everyone to, to just go, gosh, I’m not as good as I thought I was and look at what I thought, but if you don’t recognize it, you won’t change it. So yeah,
Scott Luton (27:23):
I’ll put, okay. Um, let’s move a little bit here and I appreciate you sharing, uh, what you and your company leadership team, as well as your personal perspective on, on the tough topic, that will be a race, but we’re going to get through it. Uh, and, and part of the way we’re gonna get through it,
Scott Luton (27:41):
the leaders we talk about and we’ll talk to, and come on the show is this notion that, that regardless, you know what storm you’re weathering, we’re all in the same boat together, at least, and being able to attack it in a cohesive community approach. Um, that’s, that’s been one of the, um, uh, one of the ways that a lot of leaders are looking to create that Alliance so that they can drive real change. So yeah, this, this notion of, um, stronger together, which I think is a big part of also the culture at mandolins international and near leadership, uh, purview, speak to speak to that a bit, if you would,
Sandra MacQuillan (28:16):
yeah. That’s really come into it. So there’s hashtag stronger together along with team monthly’s we sort of use them to get together a lot actually, and that’s really come into its own with the, with the, the real huge difficulties everybody’s had with COVID-19. Mmm. We use this as a mantra if we have to work together to be able to, to overcome those kinds of obstacles. Uh, and if we do it, try and do it individually, then your supply chain works. It’s not a chain anymore. It’s an individual set of people trying their best, but you’re not going to get the best in the brilliance. And we need to be stronger together with our consumers to understand what they want back to this changing behavior in our consumer. If we weren’t connecting with them and understanding the be missing, you know, missing the business role that we have. Yep. Bye. Uh, do really hard times to art. So the consumers and the customers that want it, and we’ve lined it up from our Salesforce, right. The way back to us bias.
Sandra MacQuillan (29:10):
Um, and actually I connected with all of our key suppliers talking about how we really value what they’re doing for us, and we really need what they’re doing and what can we do to help? Because if you think of some of the, the areas that we operate in everywhere in the world, and you think of some of the lockdowns that have happened, the government response that happened, we’ve been putting everything stronger together. How do we approach that in Malaysia or Indonesia or in the U S or in Latin America? How do we, so as one group to be stronger together too. Yes. And we’re using that and we will continue to use that because we only win. If we work together, the race on the social engine, any of this, doesn’t, it doesn’t get fixed if you don’t work together on it. Mmm. And that the same goes for the kind of responses of keeping our business running so that we can do what women to do.
Sandra MacQuillan (30:00):
I love it because the supply chain for me, for years, we’ve looked at the supply chain and I define it as the gym and manufacturing, logistics, quality, safety, sustainability, and engineering, the years before it’s about them as individual functions. And some of the magic I love to talk about is what you get when that really happens is that the interdependencies of these functions joining and working together and the metrics should all line up that way as well. So we should all be serving each other and actually doing it right from shelf to feel by default in the explanation that we give it starts with the consumer and ends with us. Bye. Yeah. There’s no gap in between. It has to be a working very strongly together to make that work. So it plays very much into [inaudible] again. So who we stand for, but also for a supply chain anywhere in the world, but particularly ones.
Scott Luton (30:51):
Yup. All right. So we’re going to ask, Greg is going to ask more about supplier relations in just a moment, but based on what you just shared there towards the end of that, your last response, that’s a great point because it supply chain professionals, they’ve got a leg up in this effort that it takes a whole community. It takes a whole global supply chain to not only to, in that moment, make consumer happy, but in the bigger, broader picture to drive real change. And so I love that element. It seems like we’ve, we’ve got, you know, we’ve got that leg up as, as supply chain leaders and professionals.
Sandra MacQuillan (31:25):
I agree. I think we’re actually shining. Yeah. If I think of when they said, well, Hey, if you say COVID-19 is when it all hit every day, I was in a conversation around, well, what can the supply chain do? And I, and one side you’re like, Whoa, my team has $40,000. But on the other side, you go, it’s just the opportunity to shift into it. Volunteers, right. Conversations into, we’re not a cost bucket. We’re not, you know, we’re not an overhead. We’re not that we’re actually here and this is what we can do. And suddenly it sort of evolves into, yeah, we all, we all have a sensor. Um, we should be equal partners, but at this moment in time, we need to get it. We need to get to where we need to be. Yeah. Well, the right thing is, so I, I have absolutely been using it. And I think any supply chain had to do the same. How can we take this as volunteers, just to show them the pure brilliance and magic that we bring? You know, it was a as a function, if it works together,
Greg White (32:23):
there’s some interesting perspectives there. So, you know, I think of supply chain as, but the whole, and all of those individual disciplines is segments of supply chain. But I have actually heard people refer to where I’m not in supply chain, I’m in procurement. And the way that you were describing that made me think back to a story about NASA, right? A Senator is going through one of the hangers NASA, and he comes up to the guy, sweeping the floor and he says, Hey, what is your job here? And the guy says, my job is to put a man on the moon. The truth is you can’t put Oreos, which in my opinion is an even larger endeavor.
Greg White (33:09):
You can’t put Oreos in people’s hands. If the conveyors don’t work right, or whatever, you don’t have the factory doors, all of those things that make things happen, procurement is part of supply chain. And it is the key foundational part of supply chain. And to your other point, watching’s not, it we’re well past the discussion of it being a necessary evil. I think we’re even past the discussing of it being a differentiator, competitive differentiator. And we didn’t have that conversation that long ago with my first as well from gardener. But he has said that for some year, I think it’s, it is the identity of your PO because you know, no product, no profit, right? No, you don’t do it the right way. As you alluded to before it damages your brain, it is in the forefront of your brand. And you know, it’s becoming the forefront of your brand when Kroger largest grocery chain in the country has an entire commercial about their supply chain. Yeah. Unbelievable. I don’t know if you’ve seen that, but so many times Sandra, my wife was like, wow.
Sandra MacQuillan (34:23):
Yeah, yeah, it is so important. And I think it’s, I think it’s also very important that we understand what the roles of the brands are and what they mean to our, so as consumers, because the brands have the identity, um, and then we can affect the right. You can do it the right way, right thing by them as well. Because I think this is where the IQ and the EKU come together for businesses is with that connection. So, yeah. Oh, so to your question earlier, how would you, what would you say to people? I’d say if you’re working in business connects with what that business really is about and the values and the depth I love, I went to Monza Lee’s for a couple of reasons. One, I wanted to work for Derek and the MLT, but I went because the values of Mondilise my values and what we were trying to do around this empowering people to snack, right? Giving them a choice by putting the right products on the shelves for them to choose how they good mindfully snack, rather than not mindfully snack or whatever. The opposite of that is that to me, is it true that we’re doing something really valuable? So also, you know, being able to connect with them, the brands and with the mission and the vision of the company, um, it means that it’s much easier than to do what you want to do cause you can emotionally and intellectually
Greg White (35:34):
well sort of accomplish what you want to do. You’ve got to have engaged. And you talk about that a little bit earlier. So tell us a little bit about, um, your global supply chain, how you’re engaging upstream and downstream vendors, suppliers, um, distributors, retailers, even consumers. Tell us a little bit about your, maybe your engagement initiative.
Sandra MacQuillan (35:56):
So we w we only started our journey and Mondilise in this, the leadership team probably September of last year, actually. So we’re still early in it, but what we’re doing is we are declaring what we’re here for. So why, why are we here? What are we going to do? And how are we going to do it? So we’ve, he sets out this yeah. Doing it right from shelf to field, which then sparks a conversation in itself because they go, well, hang on, shouldn’t it be filled to shelf, she’ll be sheriff to field, you know, and then you, and you can say you fit supplier, you fit into this space and we really need you to be part of it. We want your innovation, we want your thinking. We want your strategic partnership. So to be able to do what we believe we need to do in that space, the customers where we’re starting that journey a bit more on that, we do that to be, we have a, um, a matrix organization and we talk about being local, but not only.
Sandra MacQuillan (36:44):
So of course run locally, regionally. Yeah. Uh, and we have supply chain people in all of those spaces that we actually engage in them that lens on what are the consumers in from space of India versus w however, we are in the world to get the local, but not only, and you can start that conversation there was saying, and this is what we want to do. We want to do it right for you from sheriffs pale. So it’s actually something that works really well. Internally. We talk about being business partners in order to make that happen so that we can deliver yeah. Consumer centric, supply chain that does the role it should do to enable growth, and also enable the bottom line for our shareholders and for ourselves, because that’s really important to get that connection with the supply chain, he and Alan with the whole, and the reason for being through a business. Yeah. Yeah. Never underestimate the shareholder. That’s the reason why you need to be doing the right thing there. And that needs more incentive.
Sandra MacQuillan (37:48):
Mmm. KPIs interdependent. Okay. Aye. So procurement has a service metric. Manufacturing has a service metric. The district has a service. Okay. Um, that’s how we’ve conducted everybody. The shelf, they eat the food and food. The service metric for procurement is in partnership with us. Wow. And then they will add up to what are we, are we red or green? And we embrace the ride and we’ll be celebrating the green and actually having to get the Greenies and green stuff. That’s what we’re doing. The messaging, we’re being clear about what it looks like, and then building Mmm. And programs and conversations on getting that done. Clearly having fantastic people. I mean, I should start with that, but actually you need people lined up to get, to make it happen. Uh, we’ve been building a strong team. Mmm. Okay. In having supply chain on the leadership team for Mondilise mixer, your friends, because you have a voice at the table as a leader once a week, but also functionally. And we have the same ones throughout the organization, which is great.
Greg White (38:49):
It’s interesting to hear you say that because I think people think, when you say suppliers, like that’s some vast blob out there, those are people, right. People to share your values with you and to help you capitalize on those. So
Sandra MacQuillan (39:04):
uncles and hugely heroic stories of what our suppliers did to keep us running and in Indonesia and the Philippines and, you know, and everywhere around the world, actually, I shouldn’t just single them out really around what they, the lengths that they went to to be able to help us. Um, and we went to help them too. So that’s, that’s really what you call the partnership. Wow.
Scott Luton (39:24):
Love that. All right. So let’s shift gears a bit. We’re going to use this last segment to talk about sustainability and all the gains that, that, uh, the model is international team has made. You mentioned a couple of things we’re gonna talk about in the segment. Well, mindful snacking and sustainable snacking. So why don’t we start right there. So, so what does that mean? What are those two terms let’s start with sustainable snacking. What does that mean? Uh, my understanding is, is, is there’s a big focus on ingredients and packaging, but in your words, what does that mean to, for our listeners?
Sandra MacQuillan (39:53):
It actually means exactly that it’s a focus on making sure that we are, do the lens of sustainability doing the right thing through our products and our packaging. Um, so how do we build the right alliances and relationships to, to make sure that we are meeting our commitments, we signed on to the science based targets. We’re very clear about making that external commitment we have internally. They, the commitments and the focus programs on reducing water, actually, no, reducing our total waste very much in line with a lot of other companies that are doing that in the sustainable, through the sustainable lens. But we connected that with, in that case, then that also impacts our brands. So that’s been sustainable snacking, true. It’s, we’re empowering you to snack right. In every single element that you could possibly think of, and that’s what we should be doing.
Scott Luton (40:44):
And so shifting from sustainable pack, a snacking, sorry to mindful snacking, speak to that a little bit.
Sandra MacQuillan (40:52):
Yes. So I don’t know if you’ve ever sat there and thought, we’ll let you just sit on the couch and you’re not really enjoying it necessarily. It’s a function sometimes rather than I’ve done that too, if I could check. So Chris, what we also want to do is, is help people to mind for the snack to enjoy that moment. Cause we know done, there are demand spaces that we all have of where snack sets. So how can we, how can we then create the moment of joy that you get by snacking, consciously mindfully? And that mindfulness also about I’m mindful because I know that this is for me a good place, it’s done the right thing. The company’s doing the right thing at the same time. It’s good for me. Um, and it’s okay for me to do that because getting a demand that I have, and it’s cool, I can do this. You know, that’s really mindful. Snacking is you’re conscious of it and you’re conscious of why it feels good and you enjoy it. Why should we wait?
Scott Luton (41:55):
That’s right. Yeah. Maybe you’re uncovering, you know, we all know what the triple bottom line is. Maybe there’s a quadruple bottom line. You know, the health benefits here. We’ll see.
Greg White (42:05):
Um, I mean there are certainly health benefits to being mindful about snacking, right? I mean, um, I I’ll confess I’m way too much sugar and Oreos are one of my biggest fans, but I’m very mindful about it. I very carefully for a small glass of milk for real should always be done. I don’t care what anybody says. Thank you for saying that the end of the supply chain is once they’re done. And then I try to pick a reasonable number of them and then you move home. Right? You don’t sit there, eat a whole.
Sandra MacQuillan (42:53):
No. And that’s the point. You just, you own your own, you know, you own yourself and you and your, but, and we can give you some products that are you just going to have this moment that’s mindful and completely what you should have, you know, which I think is wonderful actually. And if I look at it, the products that we make yeah. That’s exactly what it does. You know, you need it then it’s okay.
Scott Luton (43:14):
So, um, as we, as we referenced the sustainability gains and the goals you had for 2020, I think you’ve surpassed most, if not all of them, you’re, you’ve already identified some, uh, aggressive goals for 20, 25, speak a little bit to the 2020, um, wins and successes, and then speak a little bit about what the plan is over the next five years.
Sandra MacQuillan (43:36):
Yeah. So we’ve been, we have, um, blown out the water, no pun intended performance. Maybe there was a bit of pun intended in terms of reducing the amounts of water that we’ve got in that we use in manufacturing and in any business, particularly with some of the water scarcity around the world, being conscious and cognizant and accountable for that is really important in any, in any organization. So we’ve done a really good job of facing into it, facing into this space and actually focusing on the priority locations where water is a scarcity and doing the right thing in terms of producing the water. And we have on that one. Okay. So now what do we do in terms of bringing forward? What we thought would take longer because, you know, once you determined to do it, yes, one the least people are fantastic at making it happen. The same one, reducing total waste, looking at engineering solutions, looking at working with our suppliers, how do we recycle? We use reduce those kinds of areas that we have actually, again, significantly with I’m beating our target, that’s waste also an efficiency piece. Um, uh, she makes lives easier for everybody else cause you don’t even making something. That’s just a waste that’s soul destroying. So in terms of engagement, that also has a benefit.
Sandra MacQuillan (44:50):
And of course the, the really, not really no more than anybody, anything else, but the CO2 for manufacture. Okay. And I, I shared this with my team and this is not a commitment, but you know, when you were having a conversation, which I talked to him about, well, how do we, instead of being that neutral, how do we over, uh, maybe it’s not lifetime or career time, let’s say it is, how do we become that positive, uh, in terms of what we do? How can we build technologies? Yeah. And even think about how we develop POS bye Jane to bring, you know, to be net positive rather than you can just net neutral because we have a huge footprint massively, um, over the years. So how do we evolve it to, to actually being ideally if we could and aspirationally net positive, wow. Algebra, but that’s the kind of space that we want to operate in. I don’t see it as something that, wow, that’s an,
Scott Luton (45:53):
how so, how so when you accomplish goals like this, like y’all did with the 2020, how do y’all celebrate as an organization, as a team? I mean, these are some big things. These are big wins that, you know
Sandra MacQuillan (46:04):
yeah. They all, so we have a happy new heads up. Um, the HSE organization reports into to me for us globally, he runs this fantastic program where we recognize, uh, is it a competition for Oscars companies, you know, that are doing this kind of stuff as a competition to, to recognize the best of the best. And at the end of each year, [inaudible] the following year. We actually have a, a celebration and an old giving all of the, the really fantastic projects that made a significant difference in this area on sustainability and safety. The other nonnegotiables that we have, and we celebrate together and present olds to those, that one in that group. So it’s, uh, it was actually really quite cool in that space.
Scott Luton (46:52):
Well, you’re going to have to plan some even bigger celebrations, right. Five years from now. Right. As, as, as you can.
Sandra MacQuillan (46:59):
It’s a massive, I’m sorry, almost sorry. Oh, that’s good. I must’ve lost you.
Scott Luton (47:10):
All right. So
Sandra MacQuillan (47:13):
my son’s out weekend. This is my husband to go. I’m really impressed by the sustainability. Even more impressed that it’s personal. Um, I don’t want to initiative, but you
Greg White (47:30):
know, it’s a personal passion of yours and, and a core value really. So I think it would be really, really valuable if you could share with other leaders out there, how do you get started? How do you, how do you catalyze your sustainability efforts?
Sandra MacQuillan (47:46):
Yeah. I think that’s really, really, really interesting way of looking at how do you start? Cause I’m not sure it’s, um, starting, cause I think it’s already happened in terms of where the world’s moving to.
Greg White (48:02):
Sandra MacQuillan (48:02):
At the same time, finding there’s a group of people who have the same type of thing, belief that it’s the right thing to do is really important. If you, when you get into a company and the companies in that space or is talking, um, with less sincerity than is really needed to make a difference, it’s, it’s going to be very frustrating. Um, and I’ve been incredibly fortunate with the three companies that I’ve worked for for significant periods of time. That’s sustained. I chose to go there because I knew, well, Mars is different. Cause I joined very young project. Yes, you don’t run businesses, always been in that space. But part of my decision to go and work the community park again, it sits with my values. So I think if you’re really passionate about something, again, you have to find a space. There is to be able to move into that, to make it happen and then be clear about, and that’s why we’ve made it a nonnegotiable in Mondelez for our supply chain.
Sandra MacQuillan (48:55):
This is not up for negotiation. We need to do this because, and we can be very nice about how we tell you, but if you want, it’s not a negotiation. It’s like food safety. It’s like people. Safety is like, yes. And actually it drives that. The other piece I was going to say, you can, if you can find places where it plays a positive into the P and L, which you can, when you would choose waste, when you minimize the amount of water that you use, when you minimize CO2, all of that is energy related, which drives your costs down. And then you can see the influence of that on your bottom line. And as you build your consciousness up about your brands and your consumers understand more of it, you connect the snacking less rights, um, that actually you can connect that with the commercial side of the business as well. And that becomes really important for the consumer. Who’s looking more and more of that. It’s a really cool way to be able to, right. And it’s, it’s not, uh, an obstacle is it’s enable the concern. That’s the way I tend to look at most things. If we think about them as obstacles, we sort of move away from them. If you think that that is exciting enablers, then gosh, isn’t that better?
Greg White (50:02):
Right. Favorite friends. And I’m not sure he coined this phrase, but said, don’t admire the problem. No, seriously, this is, this is such a tough problem. This is such a tough problem. That that type of mindset and thinking I can get you anywhere. So I love, I love the summit. You’re sharing here. Uh, Sandra. So, you know, I wish
Scott Luton (50:28):
we had a lot more time. Uh, it’s always a pleasure reconnecting with you. You’re, you’re a breath of fresh air in many ways. Or as Greg put it yesterday, what’d you say an explosion of fresh air? Is that on one of our, yeah, we made it, it was a constant windstorm of fresh air and it’s meant as a huge compliment because it’s just not one breath. It it’s to drive change across the enterprise with these, these big challenges that, that folks in your position do and folks with your worldview it’s it does take that explosion. So always a pleasure. Um, all right. So how can folks connect with you learn more about mandolins international? What would you say there?
Sandra MacQuillan (51:17):
Yeah, so, um, I think learning more about who we are and what we’re trying to do. One of the things that is just about to come out, if it hasn’t come out already use the snacking made right before, which comes from us. And if you want to see what we’re trying to do as a business and understand what we’re about. Yeah. That will help to give that context. If it’s connecting with who we are and what we’re trying to achieve. I think that can be really quite powerful for people to say, in terms of connecting with us, I’m on LinkedIn. You know, if you want to connect in Iowa, I have, I can communicate viral forms of media. I love it. I think that diversity that, you know, thinking the, the connectivity is really cool. You can also connect with us through our websites. There’s lots of a portable thing in that space as well.
Sandra MacQuillan (52:04):
Okay. So I would just look first and try, but you know, LinkedIn, any of these pretty open, um, company and the Moodle, I think the point you make about, and it’s about your brands and, you know, you can connect to our brands, actually Oreo is doing some great work. Mmm. You recognize pride and wit, and there’s a lot coming out in the next couple of weeks or so on that one. So again, connecting with who we are that way is, is something that might be of interest, but okay. So don’t worry about just trying to reach out that’s okay. Let me ally, how I would suggest people do that even with the formal communication processes, but yeah. You can find out more about this with these reports and the brands and what we’re really trying to do in this snacky may right. Empowering people to that’s not right and do it right. You know, these are really important parts of our DNA now.
Scott Luton (52:55):
Outstanding. Yeah. Always a pleasure. Uh, Sandra McQuillan executive vice president and chief supply chain officer at mandolins international Sandra, thanks so much for joining us. It was a even surpassed our expectations. So thank you so much. I have to ask one final question. What is your favorite mindful snack?
Sandra MacQuillan (53:21):
My favorite mine’s was not actually something called debt kitchen. So the model product is on Amazon and it’s highly sustainable cause it’s made it’s vegetarian it’s but it’s, um, I won’t get them right. Mmm. Bridget will kill me. Cause budget more funds is for us and snack futures. I won’t describe it. Wouldn’t be enough, which is what I’m not in marketing, but it’s, it’s um, using a byproduct of a vegetable process with vegetables that are just fantastically well, freeze, dried, or dried. And then you can have them as a snack, like you would do, um, peanuts or something like that. It should look it up on that. Yes. I’ll be very happy.
Scott Luton (54:07):
We do what we do. We’re going to warehouse here at supply chain now, so we’re going to get dirt kitchen. I love it. A great, great question to wrap up on Greg. I appreciate that. Uh, Sandra always pleasure. Thanks so much. Uh, two quick pointers to our audience. Um, you know, this is a, um, it’s such an important time to constantly learn, seek out opinion, uh, uh, get better, uh, absorbed the worldview from other folks, especially other folks that you don’t always rub elbows with digitally or in person on that note, we have a July 15th open conversation. It’s all about race and industry. We’ve got an outstanding panel, uh, and we’ve got, we’ll have an outstanding global, um, audience it’s meant to be interactive. It’s meant to be frankly uncomfortable. It’s meant to, uh, facilitate the exchange of ideas and breaking down assumptions and learning from others. July 15th, you can sign up for this discussion at [inaudible] dot com and it’ll really be in many ways, a continuation of the earlier segment of this interview here, where you got to get out there and, and, and seek to understand it’s so important right now, Greg, a quick followup on that for wrap up.
Greg White (55:21):
Yeah. Well, you know, I just can’t wait to hear from Tandra Bellamy, particularly I know her the best of our three panelists, so I know that whatever she says will be thoughtful, um, and informative. Um, she will not pull any punches and, and yet it will be productive discussion. So I’m excited.
Scott Luton (55:42):
Yeah, we are too. It’s fine. Absolutely. Okay. So BAFTA and the entire team here. Big thanks again to Sandra McQuillan and the whole team over at Mondelez international, such an outstanding story and chapter pun, the chapter they’re building there, uh, to our audience, uh, check us out again at splotch and are ready to come check out our podcast. But most importantly, as you heard Sandra, even say, Hey, do good, give forward and do the right thing. And we’ll see you next time here on supply chain now. Thanks everybody.
Would you rather watch the show in action? Watch as Scott and Greg welcome Sandra MacQuillan to Supply Chain Now through our YouTube channel.
Sandra MacQuillan is Executive Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer for Mondelēz International, a global company leading the future of snacking with 2019 net revenues of approximately $26 billion. In this role, Sandra leads all aspects of the organization’s global supply chain including Procurement, Manufacturing, Logistics, Engineering, Sustainability and Safety. Sandra is passionate about the role the supply chain plays in leveraging deep understanding and partnership to drive value to the business. Sandra joined the company in June 2019 from Kimberly-Clark where she was their first-ever Supply Chain Officer. She built their Supply Chain and Supply Chain Leadership team and under her leadership, this work resulted in best-in-class performance in cost-savings and step-changes in cash, customer service, quality, safety and sustainability. Prior to her time at Kimberly-Clark, Sandra worked at Mars Incorporated for more than 20 years, holding supply chain positions of increasing responsibility around the world. In her last role at Mars, she served as Global Vice President of Supply Chain for its $15Bn Global Petcare business. Sandra has extensive international experience and has lived and worked in North America, Europe, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. She is on the Board for Trimble, serves on the SCM World’s Executive Advisory Board and is a Trustee for Atlanta International School, Atlanta, Georgia. Sandra is a chartered mechanical engineer and was elected as a Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in 2011. She was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in recognition of her work in encouraging young students, particularly women, into engineering.
Greg White serves as Principle & Host at Supply Chain Now. Greg is a founder, CEO, board director and advisor in B2B technology with multiple successful exits. He recently joined Trefoil Advisory as a Partner to further their vision of stronger companies by delivering practical solutions to the highest-stakes challenges. Prior to Trefoil, Greg served as CEO at Curo, a field service management solution most notably used by Amazon to direct their fulfillment center deployment workforce. Greg is most known for founding Blue Ridge Solutions and served as President & CEO for the Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader of cloud-native supply chain applications that balance inventory with customer demand. Greg has also held leadership roles with Servigistics, and E3 Corporation, where he pioneered their cloud supply chain offering in 1998. In addition to his work at Supply Chain Now and Trefoil, rapidly-growing companies leverage Greg as an independent board director and advisor for his experience building disruptive B2B technology and supply chain companies widely recognized as industry leaders. He’s an insightful visionary who helps companies rapidly align vision, team, market, messaging, product, and intellectual property to accelerate value creation. Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams to create breakthroughs that gain market exposure and momentum, and increase company esteem and valuation. Learn more about Trefoil Advisory: www.trefoiladvisory.com
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