Success demands determination, adaptability, passion and being able to look into future trends and ideas that will make a difference.
Q: What was your first automotive job and why were you interested in the industry?
A: Back in 1988, I worked weekends in a local Chevrolet dealer in Buenos Aires. I was responsible for the administration of spare parts. I fell in love with the industry when I visited the General Motors plant near home when I was six to see the Chevy being built. It was very different from the automated production lines we see today, but nonetheless incredible to watch and an amazing story to tell my classmates. Later, I grew interested in auto manufacturing and production/logistics best practices, becoming myself a Lean Practitioner and Six Sigma Black Belt.
Q: GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?
A: My biggest professional achievement is still in progress – to lead CHEP Automotive to become a global leader in packaging solutions for the auto industry, recognized as more than a provider of pallets and containers and known as a partner that develops solutions jointly with customers to optimize their supply chain cost.
Q: PROUDEST PERSONAL ACHIEVEMENT?
A: Brought up in the struggling Argentinean middle class, I was sent out to work at 16 to make ends meet, starting up a greengrocer's and going to night school. From a personal development point of view, this strengthened my determination and drive while teaching me that nothing is impossible. On the professional side, my business thrived and I developed my business sense and appreciation of the value of every single customer relationship.
Q: BIGGEST FAILURE AND WHAT IT TAUGHT YOU?
A: In 1997, I started a consulting business that later flourished working for large multinational firms across Latin America. The beginning was bumpy. We thought we had the right service offer. We refined it, ticking every box in the marketing book, but we did not sell! Back to the drawing board, we restarted by visiting potential customers, listening and learning, developing relationships and solutions for their particular needs. Soon we were loaded with work and growing. The lesson was quite simple: Listen, develop solutions customers need, and work on the relationship to be counted upon again and again. Do not assume you know.
Q: WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT CHALLENGE AT WORK?
A: We are investing to organically and inorganically strengthen our market position, developing innovative solutions and expanding geographically. We are growing fast and plan to grow even faster. To enable this process, there are a series of challenging aspects, from talent development, service innovation and getting the industry to know we are here to contribute.
Q: WHAT ABOUT THE AUTO INDUSTRY SURPRISED YOU?
A: It has the most innovative, efficient and advanced operational mindset of all industrial sectors and keeps the exploration of opportunities for improvement at the top of the agenda. That captured my heart. It is certainly the benchmark for the large majority of industrial sectors. It is a personal privilege to contribute in this industry to keep achieving efficiencies through innovative packaging solutions.
Q: WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
A: "Start off the cart so that the melons will fall in their right place." In other
words, don't try to be totally certain before moving into action. Trust your experience and intuition, be open-minded and innovative, take intelligent risks, learn to trust people and be fully adaptable.
Q: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A PERSON CONSIDERING A CAREER IN THE AUTO INDUSTRY?
A: Be passionate and forward-looking. This industry and its end customers are in constant motion and transformation. Success demands determination, adaptability, passion and being able to look into future trends and ideas what will make a difference, both on the operational side as well as on the final customer experience.
Q: IF YOU WERE CEO OF A COMPANY WHAT WOULD YOU DO FIRST?
A: Listen and observe. To my people and their feelings, concerns and ideas. To my customers to understand how they see us, where we can improve and change, and understand their future needs. To my non-customers, to learn what they see better in my competitors and how satisfied they are. To my board, to ensure alignment with the wider strategy.
Q: WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX?
A: Barbecuing with family and friends; an excuse to socialize, have a laugh and enjoy good company is my preferred way of relaxing and enjoying myself.
Q: FIRST CAR?
A: A Fiat 1500 (1971) with a double Webber carburettor and a broken exhaust that I could never manage to get fixed. I used to get my hands dirty in it every weekend to keep it going.
Q: CURRENT CAR?
A: Audi A6.