Patrick Dittli: “Supply Chain in many cases mediator in challenges”

Global wholesaler Metro/Makro Cash & Carry launched In october 2015 a new operating model, appointed an operating board and embarked on a new strategy: Its global headquarters in Germany largely decentralised operations and gave a higher degree of responsibility and autonomy to the countries in order to bring value creation even closer to the customer. New sales channels opened including food distribution, which previously was not a core priority for the business. Patrick Dittli (44) was appointed in 2014 to support and coordinate the supply chains around the world. His end-to-end mindset and understanding of the impact that supply chain has on procurement, customer facing, finance, systems, and personnel has been essential as metro is building up its multi-channel competence. “We are in middle of a broad transformation programme to become a more customer demand-driven organisation across the various route-to-markets and sales channels,” explains Dittli.

Interview conducted by Martijn Lofvers and Oskar Verkamman, written by Helen Armstrong

Last year the Metro Group announced that the organization was to demerge into two companies: a Wholesale and Food Specialist Company, operating under the Metro brand and a consumer electronics company (Ceconomy). The reason was to enable the two companies to become faster, more focused and more agile to independently achieve sustainable growth. For the wholesale business, the operating model of decentralization introduced in 2015 gives countries more entrepreneurial freedom to deliver value, and transforms the wholesaler into a systematic partner for its professional customers with multi-channel and business solutions. Patrick Dittli, global director supply chain management, is there to support the supply chain part of this transformation.

What is your role?

“The Metro Cash & Carry Operating Board consists of so-called Operating Partners. Each of them manages between two to five countries, whereas on the other side they have the functional mandate for one or more operational areas. I report directly to the Operating Partner overseeing supply chain management and I have functional responsibility for 25 countries as well as three recently acquired food service companies. The countries have their own local supply chain organization with a solid line to the local board and a functional dotted line to me.”

Has Metro Cash & Carry been too slow in responding to market disruption and new technologies?

“Since 1964 Metro has had a very successful business model in the B2B wholesale which relies on trading in bulk to realise economies of scale and reduce costs. Over the years, Metro Cash & Carry has been adjusting its business strategy and priorities constantly to focus on the changing customer demands. In 2015 the board of Metro AG made a strategic decision to decentralise, to give more responsibility and autonomy to individual countries as we believe value is created locally with their customers. We are in the middle of a broad transformation programme to become a customer demand-driven organisation across the various route-to-markets and sales channels.

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Read the full article in Supply Chain Movement 25 | Q2 – 2017

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