Procurement and Sustainability Director
AB InBev’s South African sustainability and procurement initiatives are led by one of its own. Jacques Els, Procurement and Sustainability Director for its Africa business leads the way in developing the company’s operations across the continent.
Having lived, studied, and worked in Africa his entire life, Els is now bridging the gap between a global beer business and thousands of suppliers, farmers, and other vendors across the country to deliver a more resilient supply chain for the business.
As someone who studied the company’s subsidiary, SABMiller and wrote extensively about the organisations for his university thesis, Els was well acquainted with the company early on prior to joining as a Regional Sourcing Specialist in 2015. With just over a year in SABMiller, Els transitioned with the business to become part of AB InBev ecosystem, where he now drives sustainable development not only for the company, but for its suppliers.
“Anyone in procurement understands the global supply chain struggles we have today. It's very inconsistent. There are a lot of surprises linked to what happens in the external markets and macro-economic markets. For me, the biggest thing is being able to give the business accurate and consistent information and deliver results—taking into account all of these externalities,” says Els.
Els recognises the importance of the team and understands where the company’s journey unfolded through previous extensive research into the business, but is now focused on the same missions—delivering value through supply chain activities to suppliers, customers, and communities.
“We already have an extremely well-oiled procurement organisation. A lot of effort has gone into generating value within our supply chain, so you can almost say the low hanging fruit has been plucked from the tree,” says Els, as he praises the work of the well-established organisations he has been a part of for over seven years.
“It’s becoming tougher and tougher to extract the value, which is why partnering and co-creating solutions is becoming more and more critical for us as a team and organisation.”
Inspired by the Africa Springbok rugby team—or as he refers to, the ‘underdogs’—Els understands the driver and determination required to make change happen and bring along his team with full cooperation and investment. This is recognised by Els throughout his work as he collaborates with many small businesses across Africa, which are determined to support AB InBev and do so by meeting the standards set out by such a significant organisation in their industry.
Perseverance is also a key word used by the director as he explains how this impacts his life and career, putting him in his current position with a globally renowned firm.
“I finished university global studies and then worked as a management trainee in a corporate company. I took a different route and I’ve always achieved through grit and perseverance,” says Els.
“I believe that getting through the tough times, making sure you are able to deliver even when things are not going your way, actually shows when things are going well.”
Read the full story HERE.
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