Seasoned Leadership in Action™ – An Interview with Renzo Francotto!

Renzo Francotto

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At Supply Chain Game Changer we believe in sharing experiences and expertise from people in every industry and from across the globe.  As such we have introduced our “Seasoned Leadership in Action™” Interview series at Supply Chain Game Changer. This interview is with Renzo Francotto, Principal and Independent Consultant at RF Proservices and Consulting Inc.

I first met Renzo Francotto while at Celestica. Renzo was responsible for the Electro-Mechanical Connector Commodity Management portfolio. The supplier relationships, commodity strategy and operating experience that we had in this sector were amongst the best that we had anywhere, and were a model for what we need to achieved elsewhere.

In times of allocation and other issues we were able to genuinely rely on those strong relationships to work through to solutions. All of this was enabled on the back of the great work that Renzo had performed to bring his portfolio to a level of maturity that transcended that of our competitors.

We are pleased to be able to share our interview with Renzo Francotto, Principal at RF Proservices and Consulting.

1. Tell our readers a little about your background and experience.

Over the past 20 years I have been fortunate to have worked in various industries (Automotive, Electronics, Plastics, Oil/Gas, Financial and Communication Equipment) for various world class companies, with a focus on Strategic Sourcing and Procurement.

The exposure to such a diverse set of industries has given me invaluable experience. I received my Mechanical Engineering degree and minor in Management Sciences from the University of Waterloo which led to my initial career at Magna International in manufacturing and supply chain and subsequently to a Sr. Commodity Management role at Celestica where I was given an incredible opportunity early on in my career to manage a $500 Million Electro-Mechanical component portfolio. 

Since then, I have been blessed to experience strategic sourcing and procurement roles of increasing responsibility for Husky Injection Molding, Petro-Canada, TD Bank and Motorola Solutions.  My expertise now spans to various products and services (both indirect and direct spend) such as IT (hardware and software), Professional Services, Mechanical components, raw materials, and related Outsourcing.

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Today I am an independent consultant located in Toronto but provide services across Canada, US, and Latin America. 

2. What are some of your greatest achievements in Business?

My greatest achievements have been in leading the creation of strategic sourcing strategies and the outcomes of their successful execution. Leading cross-functional teams and seeking consensus and alignment rapidly and sustainably for these strategies has been immensely rewarding. 

The other aspect of achievement has been around mentoring and coaching. Later in my career I was given the opportunity to hire and lead a team of young sourcing professionals. It was a pleasure to guide them and see them develop quickly and for them to be identified internally as future top talent within the organization. Seeing them now holding very Senior roles is a great feeling.

3. How has Business and Supply Chain changed over the course of your career?

I was fortunate enough to have started my career in the Automotive sector where airtight supply chain management and logistics practices are the norm and have since been widely adopted by other industries. The principals and best practices used in Automotive for supplier management, sourcing, tools to identify cost reductions initiatives have not changed.

What has changed is the various technology solutions that allow to make data-driven decisions. I recall during the dot.com boom, early adopters had a tremendous competitive advantage, now it is a must have. There are more solutions now and emerging ones such as the blockchain ecosystem (who is not yet fully mature) as one I am fascinated by. 

4. What are some of the lessons you learned in your career that you would like to share for others to learn from?

Master the skill of flexibility, not only because of the changing nature of supply chain operations, but because things do not always go to plan. Things crop up, requiring plans to be changed, adapt when required.

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Flexibility also applies for younger professionals in their careers, be flexible and keep options open to new opportunities outside your comfort zone. Broaden your skillsets, be open to different supply chain roles or other key business areas where you service your internal customers. This keeps you in demand.

5. What challenges facing the world are important to you?

Chronic high inflation caused by massive money printing by Central Banks around the world to reduce the impact of the shock caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. I write about this topic extensively in my LinkedIn profile from a macro perspective and the effect on supply chains, its raw materials / commodities.

6. What is the role of Business, Supply Chain, and Change Leadership in addressing these challenges?

We must continue the efforts for sustainable supply chain practices but as inflation and supply shortages are forecasted to continue, Change Leadership must adopt new strategies. 

This has become a hot topic of discussion and will be addressed by Gartner Analysts at the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo, June 6-8, in Orlando, FL. Link below.

Chief Supply Chain Officers Must Adopt Resource Conservation Strategies to Mitigate Inflation and Supply Shortages

7. What are you working on these days?

I am currently on a confidential long term consulting engagement in Mexico.

8. What advice would you give to people who have a career in, or who are considering joining, Business and/or Supply Chain?

Be curious, stay relevant. There has never been a better time to enter this exciting field. People are now more aware of how important supply chain is, and the reputation of the profession has risen globally. Go ahead and take the leap.

9. How can people contact you?

Feel free to contact Renzo Francotto via LinkedIn.

Originally published on April 19, 2022.

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