Chief Transformation and Information Officer of Centrimex
Having taken an unexpected turn in the early days of her career, Alexia Schmitt, Chief Transformation and Information Officer of Centrimex, studied agronomy at AgroParisTech—which she says is now quite far from the field of work that she is in today.
Moving on from agronomy, which deals with field crop production and soil management, she gained some experience in manufacturing over an 18-month period in the industry, before moving into the supply chain business. As a consultant, Schmitt worked on various projects for a few different companies, equipping her with the knowledge and experience to apply her training in the supply chain sector.
She then took the opportunity to move to an IT role, first in the Soft Drinks industry, then in the Cosmetics and Retail area, where she undertook several IT management positions over almost 15 years.
Looking at her experience, Schmitt found that her current position at Centrimex amalgamates the two—IT and supply chain—resulting in her leading the transformation of the freight-forwarding business.
Having begun her career in the supply chain environment, Schmitt has a business-minded approach, which not only allows her to provide value to Centrimex clients, but also drive the direction of the company’s digital transformation to align with the future needs of customers.
“I started my career in business, and that's the reason why I understand the stakes of the different business departments as well as why I'm convinced that the IT role is to support the company strategy and allow business development,” says Schmitt.
Immediately attributing much of her inspiration to her husband, Schmitt also looks up to the leaders she has worked with over the years that shaped her current business mindset and drive to achieve more for the customer.
Over two-and-a-half years ago, Schmitt entered into a challenging role at Centrimex, one that allows her to share her expertise while learning from the teams that make change happen. Indeed, this was one of most significant challenges for her—change—as it often required a new method of management.
“The biggest challenge is change management. But this also means maintaining the speediness of transformation, because in a company like Centrimex, transformation is something really important, so we need to move forward quite quickly on it.
“The change is quite deep to manage, and it's not always easy with people because they are used to working in their own ways. Change is not easy for them, so I would say that's really the biggest challenge.”
Leading the transition to a technology-driven future, Schmitt believes this will be an integral part of the business as it moves forward.
“Since I joined, new services have been delivered from the business point of view. Internally, process optimisation and organisational change were required to become more efficient,” she says.
“And, thanks to the technology, it's something that can be managed for both our customers and internally. So there have been different new services or new capabilities delivered since I joined, though there’s still much to do.”
An important step in this process was facilitated by Schmitt’s previous connection with INGENIA consulting, which played a critical role in making transformation happen, providing support in areas of data consolidation and management that Centrimex has ventured into to meet customer demands.
“Choosing the right solution partner is key. We have partners that will support the implementation or the development of in-house solutions. To choose the right partner, they must have a good understanding of the challenge and work closely with our partners and our teams to gain that understanding.”
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