Rituals puts talent management at the top of its agenda


Rituals needs more and more talents to manage its expanding and increasingly complex supply chain. The board has therefore decided to put talent management at the top of its agenda. During a well-attended SCM Directors Club workshop held on 25 January at Rituals headquarters in Amsterdam, Remco de Marie explained how his company is giving substance to the concept of talent management. ”We were busier recruiting people than developing our supply chain.”

By Marcel te Lindert 

Rituals is growing at lightning speed. Every year, the cosmetics brand opens 150 to 200 new shops. As many as 204 openings are planned for this year. Its sales through other perfumeries and department stores such as Douglas and De Bijenkorf are also growing. “Our products are carried in around 3,500 stores. This year, that number will grow by another 600 stores,” said Remco de Marie, Head of Planning solutions at Rituals. “At peak times, we ship as many as 120,000 parcels a day to all those shops. Not to mention our 5 million e-commerce orders a year.”

Production fully outsourced

When it comes to Rituals’ supply chain, the challenge is not only to manage the growth but also the increasing complexity. The company does not produce anything itself, but has completely outsourced. “We currently have 104 suppliers. Not only do we manage these suppliers, but also the suppliers of those suppliers. We decide where our manufacturers should order their raw materials and packaging materials,” stated De Marie, who explained that the supply chain organization consists of six parts. “We added the newest component last year: execution. Every week we check whether everything is on track for, say, the product launch in three months’ time.”

If anything, the supply chain organization is growing even faster. Five years ago, about 30 supply chain professionals were working at Rituals. By the end of this year, there are expected to be 106. “And of course there are also people leaving our company,” continued De Marie. “So we need new people all the time. At one point, we felt like almost full-time recruiters. We were busier recruiting people than developing our supply chain. Now we employ a full-time recruiter for supply chain. They represent us at trade fairs and talent days and maintain a supply chain pool. We like to hold on to the details of talents who don’t qualify for a position right now.”

Talent management became top priority

Supply Chain Media’s recent survey of supply chain executives shows that talent management is at the bottom of the priority list. Most attention is paid to themes such as digitalization, cost control and sustainability. Within Rituals, it was no different. “In 2022, talent management was in seventh place, but now it is in the top spot. How do we attract talent? And how do we develop that talent? These are the questions we are trying to find answers to,” said De Marie.

Talents that are hired go through a set programme. One of the first components is a two-day bootcamp in which executives explain what they expect from new talents. “We have also set up a supply chain academy with the help of Involvation. Every member of our supply chain organization was required to attend that academy’s programme, just to learn to speak the same language. That programme consisted of online and classroom training, as well as presentation assignments: what would you like to change about the supply chain?”

Giving chances for promotion

This year’s supply chain academy focuses on analytics. How do you turn data into information? How do you make that data and information presentable? And how can we use data to predict? “Again, everyone has to go through that programme,” De Marie stressed. “In addition, employees can register for various training courses, from time management to presentation skills. For managers, we have special training courses which clarify what we expect from every manager at every level. How do you communicate your vision? And how should you set your goals? We also pay attention to project management, as we are running around 80 projects this year. So in fact, everyone is also a project manager.”

For young talent, Rituals has developed a special programme. About 30 promising young employees take part in it every year. “We not only hire supply chain managers from outside, but also give talented employees within the company the chance to progress into a management position. Last year, our organization had about 70 people, 10 of whom were promoted,” stated De Marie. “Were they ready for it? Maybe not all of them, but we teach them to ‘swim’. Because if we don’t give them the chance, they will walk away.”