“Retail, That's what I want !!!!”. It was 1999, I just graduated. And in 2020 I still think so. Why?
The retail-fire was lit by my father at home at the dinner table. We talked about it, visited malls and stores. And retail is everywhere: both in our daily household needs and for our luxury products. Retail is recognizable, is for everyone, has a huge impact on our economy and is at the center of our society and environment.
Retail throughout my whole career
After graduating as an Industrial Engineer at the Eindhoven University of Technology, I opted for a management traineeship at Ahold. This company grew globally with supermarket formulas and Albert Heijn, the Dutch flagship, was known for its strong supply chain and logistical performance. The traineeship brought me via Albert Heijn to ICA online (Stockholm) and Gall & Gall. After a few years I made the switch to the international fashion market, and to the company behind McGregor and Gaastra. A major transition with completely different revenue models and a strong market dynamic. In 2011, I made the switch to supply chain advice, to Districon. Here also, I was able to express my passion among the many customers in the consumer industry, such as Nike, Heineken, Hunkemoller and GrandVision. Districon also offered me the opportunity to occasionally be active in another industry, such as public transport and inland shipping. That has expanded my views and helps me to inspire retail customers every day.
Retail, what are the challenges?
Retail has been under pressure for years due to digitization, sustainability, urban redesign and purchasing power. My big challenge with Districon is to continuously modernize retail supply chains. In addition, strengthening the financial and service performance of our customers goes hand in hand with sustainable improvements. Think of over stocks, packaging, labor, urban distribution nuisance, cleaner transport, returns, store vacancy, etc. Our customers are increasingly realizing that both aspects must be tackled together!
Analytics, what does it bring to retail?
It is of course not just about data, analytics and new technology, but both offer enormous opportunities to improve performance. Within Districon we follow the Garter analytics journey, where we apply analytics to our customers based on their capabilities. That means in the first instance that we work together on insights: what does a customer deliver, what does a customer cost, where is the waste, what is the stock rotation, what is the CO2 tax per order? We then support our customers in decision-making processes, for example by calculating various quickly calculated scenarios. But also, by developing mathematical optimization models and models based on AI.
I am convinced that new technology offers opportunities to (1) provide additional insights, (2) create accelerated insights and (3) improve decision-making. That does have a major impact on our retail customers. The employees of our customers, the users of analytics tooling, need to continuously educate. In addition, data quality must be enhanced and data availability expanded!
In Short, retail, analytics and Victor, ready for the future
Since two years I have been one of the leaders of Districon Solutions, where we apply our analytics competencies to clients worldwide. As indicated, I am convinced that the strong international dynamics of retail is crying out for speed, insights and enhanced competitiveness. We have a broadly developed and diverse team consisting of great colleagues. We all work together to share and apply passion.
Which colleague will be in the next spotlight?
I like to ask Philip Schilder, one of our younger advisers, to tell his story. I always enjoy working with young people. They are not only eager to learn, they also keep me young and sharp every day. Dear Philip, share your story!