In Focus: Dirk Holbach CSCO of Global Supply Chain, Henkel
Educated at Harvard University, HEC Paris and INSEAD Business School, Dirk Holbach holds a Master's degree in Business and Mechanical Engineering and a PhD in Information Science.
Holbach has not only gained a wealth of knowledge from his education but from the 26 years he has been working within the supply chain sector of the manufacturing industry.
In the last 26 years Holbach has worked at Henkel in a variety of roles for almost all of his career. In 1996 he began working at the company as a Junior Manager of Corporate Purchasing, before becoming Head of Purchasing in 2004. Over the next decade Holbach steadily climbed the ladder within the organisation to become the Corporate Senior Vice President and CSCO of Laundry and Home Care in 2015, which he still holds today.
As part of his current roles, Holbach is responsible for the end-to-end supply chain for Laundry and Home Care, with his business unit counting for US$6.9mn in sales. Within his unit at Henkel, the company has six regional hubs, 33 factories and 47 warehouses within his remit.
Founded in 1876, the organisation is still majority owned by the Henkel family, which Holbach believes to be a competitive advantage for the organisation, “It provides us with a different strategy: the Henkel family has shown its continued commitment to the company, enabling us to operate with a long-term perspective. We have a strong company culture, and our shared values help us to create sustainable value for future generations,” explains Holbach.
“Our portfolio is diversified because we have two consumer goods businesses and one that’s focused on industrial markets. It’s certainly a unique mix,” he adds.
During his career at Henkel, Holbach’s special focus has been on supply chain strategy, organisation development, network optimisation, continuous improvement and post-merger integrations.
For more information on manufacturing topics - please take a look at the latest edition of Manufacturing Global.
Image source: Henkel
Pandora and IBM digitise jewellery supply chain
Pandora has overhauled its global supply chain in partnership with IBM amid an ecommerce sales boom for its hand-finished jewellery.
The company found international success offering customisable charm bracelets and other personalised jewellery though its chain of bricks and mortar retail destinations. But in 2020, as the COVID-19 outbreak forced physical stores to close, Pandora strengthened its omnichannel operations and doubled online sales.
A focus on customer experience included deploying IBM’s Sterling Order Management, increasing supply chain resiliency and safeguarding against disruption across the global value chain.
Pandora leverages IBM Sterling Order Management as the backbone it its omnichannel fulfilment, with Salesforce Commerce Cloud powering its ecommerce. Greater automation across its channels has boosted the jeweller’s sustainability credentials, IBM said, streamlining processes for more efficient delivery. It has also given in-store staff and virtual customer service representatives superior end-to-end visibility to better meet consumer needs.
Jim Cruickshank, VP of Digital Development & Retail Technology, Pandora, said the digital transformation journey has brought “digital and store technology closer together and closer to the customer”, highlighting how important the customer journey remains, even during unprecedented disruption.
"Our mission is about creating a personal experience and we've instituted massive platform changes with IBM Sterling and Salesforce to enable new digital-first capabilities that are much more individualised, localised and connected across channels and markets,” he added.
Pandora’s pivot to digital
The pandemic forced the doors closed at most of Pandora’s 2,700 retail locations. To remain competitive, it pivoted to online retail. Virtual queuing for stores and virtual product trials via augmented reality (AR) technology went someway to emulating the in-store experience and retail theatre that is the brand’s hallmark. Meanwhile digital investments in supply chain efficiency was central to delivering on consumer demand.
“Consumer behaviour has significantly shifted and will continue to evolve with businesses needing to quickly adapt to new preferences and needs,” said Kareem Yusuf, General Manager, AI Applications and Blockchain, IBM. “To address this shift, leading retailers like Pandora rely on innovation to increase their business agility by enabling and scaling sustainable supply chain operations using AI and cloud.”
Yusuf said Pandora’s success was indicative of how to remain competitive by “finding new ways to create differentiated customer experiences that protect their enterprises from disruptions to help mitigate risk and accelerate growth”.