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Thomas, demand / flow manager

What has been your career path?

After getting my degree from the Albi engineering school, with a specialization in industrial engineering, I began my professional career in a small consulting firm, learning about supply chain professions (production, storage, scheduling, distribution, etc.). I joined Arkema in September 2008, as a demand/flow manager for the Acrylics BU. Since 2015, I have been managing another business unit.

What is your job about?

The main objective of my role is to supply the customers with what they need (in terms of quantity, quality, deadline). To do that, you need to be able to reconcile the plant's production and logistics constraints with customer demand and our stock objectives. The supply chain is the nerve center of the organization, it is the link between the manufacturer and the customer!

Can you describe your main responsibilities?

I have to gather forecasts from the sales network and make a "critical" analysis of them. I also have to define the schedule of the production units to meet orders and ensure that we are adequately supplied with raw materials, all the while meeting our stock objectives and complying with regulatory constraints concerning hazardous products. I have to deliver to the customers according to their requirements: suitable material, quantity and quality, lead time, and so on. More often than not I have to manage the logistical complications of the day because in this job nothing goes as planned!

What skills does your job require?

The main qualities are the ability to plan ahead and to respond quickly. The supply-chain world is very lively: the constraints can change rapidly and it is not always easy to predict them.

What kind of training is needed?

This type of job does not require a specific qualification, although a background in science is preferred. As one of my former bosses used to say, the most important tool that we need is "good country sense"!

What do you like about Arkema?

Despite its growing size, the company is still on a human scale and we can easily talk to and discuss matters with the different levels of management to keep the business moving forward.

Is there an abiding memory from your job?

During my first job in acrylics, we ran into several problems with taking weight measurements on the bulk cargo vessels. We had to go and do an unloading audit in Turkey, which involved going aboard the vessel and speaking with the skipper. I really discovered a whole other world that I never knew existed. I would never have known about if I had stayed in my office!

Something about yourself?

I love organizing everything in life, particularly for traveling… It's not by chance that I'm in this profession!

Do you have a working motto?

In the supply chain, our objective is that you never hear about us!