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Episode 2
This Is What Builds Profitable Businesses

With Marsel Khannane, Director Of Supply Chain At Tashas Group

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About The Episode

In this podcast, Marsel Khannane, the Supply Chain Director at Tashas, delves into the intricacies of the ‘Procure to Pay’ (P2P) cycle in the restaurant industry. He explains how automating the procurement process from beginning to end minimizes manual input, accelerates operations, and provides clear data for better decision-making, ultimately improving profit margins. He also addresses the post-Covid recognition of the importance of data and the challenges posed by inflation and political instability to supply chains. Marsel highlights the need for qualitative forecasting over quantitative in the current market climate.

The conversation also touches on the role of technology and data in managing restaurant operations more efficiently, with a focus on maintaining consistent quality across multiple locations and the importance of building strong relationships with suppliers. Marsel emphasizes the significance of having an experienced supply chain manager, particularly for new restaurants, to establish a strong foundation for growth. The discussion also explores Marsel’s journey to becoming a supply chain director and the importance of sustainability practices within the industry.

 

 

Watch Extracts

The Restaurant Supply Chain Basics You Need To Nail When Starting Out

Traits Of A Great Restaurant Supply Chain Manager

A Day In The Life Of A Restaurant Supply Chain Director

The Interview

[00:00:00.630] – Jean-Philippe

So this week we’re joined by Marcel Khannanr, who is the supply chain director at Tashas, which happens to be one of my favorite restaurants in Dubai. Marsel, you’ve built quite a reputation for yourself. You are known as the scholar in the industry, and I’ve heard several people mentioned this to me. You’ve won several awards. You’ve won the Procurement Success Awards. You are a finalist at the Young Talent of the Year by SIPs, and you’ve won the 2023 Best Procurement Talent Development Program. Uh, and on top of that, some of your career achievements are being the first to develop a procurement learning platform for supply chain talent development in collaboration with the supply chain management dojo, um, which promotes hybrid learning and delegation. And you’re the first procurement leader in the FNB industry to automate the procure to pay cycle. Um, which I imagine must have saved millions of dollars and countless hours for people. Um, that’s been quite a ride you’ve had. Let me start with one question, which is what is the procure to pay cycle?

[00:00:58.950] – Marsel

So first of all, thank you for the great introduction. Um, so procure to pay cycle, basically. Um, it’s automating the procurement process from point A to Z by minimizing all the manual inputs. Uh, accelerating the process as much as possible, providing, um, a more clear set of data and dashboards and analytics to the stakeholders and the leaders within the organization. Or if it’s a restaurant owner, restaurant owners to make better decisions. And eventually this ends up having, um, higher profit margins. You understand what’s the consumer’s preferences? And, um, and as a department’s overall when you domain. So it starts from stage one. You create the Po through the system. Then automatically it sinks into an invoice. From invoice it goes to the inventory. And then from the inventory, uh, based on the ledgers or whatever. Don’t want to go deeply into the accounting and financial terms, but in simple language then it goes to the accounts department. They can review and reconcile the invoices with the suppliers statements, and then push it into the payment cycles and pay the suppliers.

[00:02:23.930] – Marsel

So here at least to cut 70% of the process time, which brings efficiency to the company. You don’t need as much as of, uh, people or employees to interfere in this process. You can cut at least 80% of the people involved in this process. You increase accuracy because, I mean, all the humans, they make errors will be a small minor input here or there or a wrong calculation. But when it’s automated through software, it’s it’s always minimized. And then you pay the suppliers on time. Uh, so this brings you leverage, shows your professionalism and accuracy and brings overall a better performance and efficiency to the department. And, uh, it can be done, um, not only through one software in the market, there are more than one software. So you can have a designated procurement, uh, software, then inventory software, uh, then an ERP or a one software, then you can integrate them all together so they speak the same language.

[00:03:31.860] – Jean-Philippe

It sounds like, um, a complex operation. Uh, do you think, uh, I mean, first of all, our restaurant’s up to date when it comes to their procure to pay cycle. Is it, uh, as modern as how you’re describing it to be? Um. And if not, why do you think it’s not the case?

[00:03:52.600] – Marsel

I think the most. I mean, in theory it sounds easy, but, um, to put it into practice and to actualize it, it’s the most complex part because, I mean, most of the as you said, most of the restaurants, they try to acquire all the softwares in the world, the best softwares, but they don’t find, uh, the right synergy, how to integrate them or they don’t have the correct input. So there is a, um, there is a very famous say, uh, garbage in, garbage out.

[00:04:25.990] – Jean-Philippe

Which is the opposite of Fifo.

[00:04:27.400] – Marsel

Yes, exactly. So it’s important from the initial part, from the initial basis as a restaurant operator or as a procurement or supply chain leader to have the right input in the software. So you have to build your recipes, right. You have to consider all the factors around it. Production loss yields whatever. If you go deep into details, you have to define all your ingredients in a right way. Um, the right price based units store units. So when you build the solid foundation, which takes quite long because we have to, um, I mean, in supply chain, it’s also a big, big matter of communication and coordinating with the other departments who can operate in silo. You always have to be close to the culinary team, to the beverage team, um, to the operations, have to understand their language in which way they have built. You have to, um, go to the restaurant. You have to see how the workflow of that menu goes. Maybe, um, maybe there is a higher production loss, or maybe the supply from the from the supplier doesn’t come regular.

[00:05:38.110] – Marsel

If we go, let’s say let’s take a rough example. Let’s take a seafood, let’s say sea bass. Sea bass. It won’t come in a in a dedicated weight every time. You will not always have 150g D-Bus. There will be a variation of ten 20g 5 to 7%. So all of this must be factored to build a very solid base in the software that can lead to a desired output. And I think this is the loophole in the industry. Um, the people have to input the correct data and spend a lot of efforts and time and take it serious to, to get the to utilize the software and get whatever they, whatever deliverable they, they wanted to have from this.

[00:06:26.080] – Jean-Philippe

Do you think that people are not mature when it comes to the importance of data? Does this explain why this is not done by BI?

[00:06:33.520] – Marsel

I think in my I think it’s just evolving. Uh, the people just started realizing the importance of data post-Covid earlier. It’s just data. The markets were doing fine. You make good profit margins. Um, simple formula. Divide purchases by sales. That’s your Cogs. You don’t you don’t just see based on assumption this sells. This doesn’t sell. And that’s it. Um, but now, uh, post-Covid, uh, the inflation rates are extremely high. Like, uh, think the last year up to date was 17.4% accumulative inflation rate. And you can’t cope up with the, uh, with your selling price especially there is a selling price benchmark in the market. You cannot exceed a certain dollar value. So you have to look at your bottom line at the moment. So, uh, so here came the importance of looking into your cogs, analyzing your menus, looking into the various tools like menu engineering, sales mix, uh, securing a proper trade deals with your suppliers, looking into long term wins, rebate structures, forecasts.

[00:07:49.360] – Marsel

So so yeah, I think from at this point, the all the stakeholders, uh, operators, owners, they realize the importance of data and started looking into softwares or tools or solutions that can, um, address address this. Yes, yes.

[00:08:08.890] – Jean-Philippe

It’s interesting when, um, when we talk to restaurant owners, the majority of them tell us about what happened for what was going on four years ago, five years ago and what’s going on today. And one of the biggest difference is the influence that delivery aggregators have had on restaurants, the fact that more and more restaurants are dependent on delivery aggregators, and therefore the percentage cut that is taken by every dish that is sold. Um, and of course, you have the consumers also being used to that way of consuming, uh, which means that the way that they look at profitability has not changed in the past. They would invest in sales and that would bring more money. And the margins were so high. I that looking within would not matter that much. Um, but now with the change of landscape, essentially, uh, with delivery aggregators being the main, sort of the main source of business for, for many businesses. And with Covid 19 and the economic situation, uh, that has led them to look within and start to cut costs in order to maximize their profits.

[00:09:19.570] – Jean-Philippe

Um, can you tell me a little bit about how you were doing things prior to Covid 19 and how you’re doing things after Covid 19?

[00:09:28.390] – Marsel

Yeah. Um, I mean, what you said, it’s it’s it’s completely right, to be honest. Um, aggregators coming in and eating all these margins. Um, but then, yeah, if you go to post-Covid and pre-COVID era, pre-COVID, it was it was more simple. Uh, you have economic stability globally. I mean, if we say overall or collectively, um, we are depending a lot on the quantitative analysis. Quantitative, it’s based on historical data time series because all your data metrics were stable, can rely on them. I mean, you just consider a 7% growth factor or seasonality factors or whatever. But I mean, you you are able to to rely on the historical or the time series data. Yeah. And it was easier to communicate to the source or to the factory or to the region in different parts of the world. Um, securing your stocks for six months, 12 months with a very easy payment terms, a very stable logistics cost. Now, nowadays, you cannot secure your logistics costs for more than a month because of the inflation, inflation and oil price fluctuation.

[00:10:48.100] – Marsel

All these vessels are shipments. They I mean, they run, uh, using gasoline and fuel. So the so that is instability. Um, unpredicted demand and supply pattern based on the economic and political situations in every region. So this is this is wasn’t considered back in the days and the inflation rate was very low. It’s 2 to 3% maximum. If you compare it to the GDP growth and macro microeconomics metrics, it was easy to forecast and easy to to build your assumption on it. And you keep small buffers and that’s it. So you had a stable PNL eventually. And it was less of, of, uh, human input in the middle. But post-Covid, um, I mean, all these patterns were totally destroyed. You had to find new ways of managing supply chain. And I think it was an added point or added value to the supply chain community, because only by then all the, uh, stakeholders, company owners, restaurant operators realize the importance of procurement and supply chain department and how a competent and knowledgeable supply chain department can, um, sustain the business.

[00:12:17.740] – Marsel

Protect the difference. Protect it. Yeah. Make a difference and, um, maximize your bottom line. So main two objectives were maximizing bottom line and secure consistent supply. But post-Covid you had to go through many challenges and you had to adapt a lot of things in between to get this, uh, deliverables. So most important was to rely on qualitative forecasts not quantitative. Qualitative is where uh, I mean, in in our language, we said as a sigma factor which based on operations expectations, market demands, um, uh, marketing factors and so Pestle and, and 2 or 3 other tools. So you had to do a more thorough exercise every morning. You have to read the market. So you have to see what’s the harvest of masters situation in, in France. Uh, what’s, what’s the what’s the fertilizer prices. How did impact the, the prices in US and Australian market. Because all the cattles cows um lamb they, they, they need the fertilizers and from fertilizers you grow corn and you grow.

[00:13:40.270] – Marsel

So it’s so the market is, um, is linked. It’s it’s something as, um, I mean, no one can operate without the other. It’s a, it’s a closed cycle. So once the impact hits one component, eventually it hits you. But as a restaurant operator, that’s as an as the end product that we procure, we don’t get impacted first. So that’s an added advantage. So when you read the market you see there is a trouble coming. It will only impact you, ideally after 3 to 6 months. So you can build your forecast and you can anticipate ahead of time. And then it was important to communicate to all the suppliers and factories across the globe, especially for the main or 8020 products, 8020 is is a is a very effective tool where you put, uh, 80% of your focus on what matters. And it’s always common that 20% of the products or 20% of the highly, um, deliverable valuable products or services. They they they they come out of it.

[00:14:56.710] – Marsel

So yeah, that’s the thing. So you have to read the markets. You have to communicate to all your suppliers, secure trade deals, book all your shipments in advance. Then when it comes to the restaurant itself, have to have all the technology and the tools to run your business analytics properly. See your sales mix menu engineering, see what sells, what doesn’t, what has. Maybe some products will sell a lot, but they have high costs. So here you have to to run a thorough exercise to see what product you can replace. Uh, maybe you can, uh, reduce the portion, maybe you can represent it in a different way. So that is a lot of, um, hard work needs to be put.

[00:15:41.220] – Jean-Philippe

It’s interesting because you’ve introduced concepts that I wasn’t aware of. The constant analysis of the market is something that I wasn’t aware of, uh, in terms of the responsibilities of a supply chain manager or director. Um, can you tell me a little bit about, given how complex this position is and how important it is in restaurants? Can you tell me a little bit about what kind of person succeeds in such a complicated role?

[00:16:09.580] – Marsel

Uh, takes a lot of hard work, to be honest. Um, and you have to build, um, a very competitive competence skill set. Um, you have to learn. You have to study. Always see what’s new in the market. All the tech tools, business analytics tools have to read the markets. You have to be good in math, have to be a great communicator to your team and to the other departments with the company. You have to understand the stakeholder and the owners expectations. Um, to find the perfect blend and the perfect, uh, match for the expectation. And then afterwards you have to find the most effective, cost effective and consistent and quickest channel. How to bring this from the source to the, to your place. And, and then you have to be, uh, consistent in terms of. Uh, doing this every day. Every day. You have to analyze the market. You have to check your warehouse, have to check your inventories in the shops.

[00:17:17.670] – Marsel

We have to train your team. Think training your team and delegation is one of the effective tools that I have realized lately because, uh, it’s been always in my mindset to be a one man show, but, uh, it’s it’s impossible. Once you grow and you scale and you have a lot of regions and a lot of, uh, uh, restaurants or entities to look after. So to create different versions of yourself is important to, to get things achieved. So, so I think there is a big role and big thanks to, to the teams who who support the supply chain leader.

[00:18:01.180] – Jean-Philippe

Can you tell me a little bit about, uh, on a more concrete level for people who are listening to us and want to apply your routine or your way of working? What is a typical what does a typical day look like for you? What are the things that you do on a very regular basis to stay on top of your work? What are some of the tools that you use to keep track of everything that’s happening?

[00:18:24.430] – Marsel

Okay. Um, so it’s important to start very early in the morning as a supply chain leader. Give us an.

[00:18:30.670] – Jean-Philippe

Hour.

[00:18:31.270] – Marsel

7 a.m.. So I work at 5 a.m. 5 p.m.. I go for my boxing session, then I started. Yeah. Then most of the days, I head straight to the restaurants. You have to check your teams on the ground. You have always to be hands on.

[00:18:45.280] – Jean-Philippe

The supply chain team or the chefs, the kitchen, the.

[00:18:48.010] – Marsel

Kitchen storekeepers. Purchasers have to be always close to them. You have to consider that they think in a different way. They they, they have culinary and beverage background and they and you have to find the perfect common ground so they can realize the importance of these numbers. Importance, why you need to receive properly, why you need to check the weight, why you need to return this. Uh, they need to know what’s the impact, what’s the bigger picture? Because, I mean, take it on yourself. Uh, if I tell you, uh uh uh, JP, you have to scale the fish. If it’s not one 80g, you have to return it. You might say, why? Why the hell why? Why should I check? I mean, what ten grams will do for the business. But if you show him that this impacts the recipe, this impacts the bottom line. Have to make sure it’s a consistent produce. We have a promise for the customers, for our loyal customers to get a consistent, uh, dish for ten, 12 years.

[00:19:52.090] – Marsel

So when he when they know the big picture, they understand what’s the science, what’s the impact behind it? It makes them more responsible and more aware and they become hands on. So you have to always be close and near to the team, address all their concerns, all their issues. After I finish, I had to the office or I sit in any place, I run through the markets, analyze them, then I, uh, go through my emails.

[00:20:20.200] – Jean-Philippe

How do you do that? How do you analyze the market you open Bloomberg or Bloomberg?

[00:20:24.070] – Marsel

There are 3 or 4 other tools that are software that can generate data for you. Um, uh, yeah, you can. There are more than ten to to 25 log, um, uh, reliable resources that you can rely on. And, uh, lately there are a lot of, uh, ERP tools and inventory tools that have built in, um, AI based analytics systems that I’m exploring at the moment. And I think they there’ll be the new, um, the new trend in the future if they do it right. Need to test them. Uh, you analyze the markets, then you catch up with your team in the head office. Uh, you see what’s what’s, uh, what they are lacking in. They need any support, advice, uh, track the progress of all the projects. See, that is, any issues? Uh, at the moment. Then I, um, run through all the reports, analytics. I build all my reports, see if there is any action to be done.

[00:21:29.170] – Marsel

Then I finish my emails. Of course, as a supply chain, I mean, I, I think most of the people agree with me. You get at least 152, 200 emails every day, requests from stakeholders, from suppliers. And then the last part of the day, usually I, uh, dedicated for zoom meetings for one on one meetings with suppliers. Yeah. So.

[00:21:52.380] – Jean-Philippe

What are some of the key metrics that you track in your reports or in your performance?

[00:21:57.660] – Marsel

So if we speak about FMB products specifically, most important is to try to track your cogs. You have to get a live data cogs tracker because it’s important to take an action immediately on the spot. It helps a lot to be honest. Uh, you track your menu. Engineering report says make spend analysis, uh, and many other, uh, waste analysis. Yeah. So these are important to run on a day to day basis. Uh, see the description between the POS discrepancies and and the invoices. Make sure that the automation cycles are running properly. Yeah. So these are the key, key key elements that you have to look at.

[00:22:44.370] – Jean-Philippe

Amazing. What would you say. So a lot of our listeners are people who are looking to get into the restaurant business or have already launched their restaurant operations, and very often they are very small teams operating on a standalone single location restaurant. What would you tell them? What what advice would you give them in terms of the basics that they need to nail? So to perfect in order for the operations to run quite smoothly when they don’t have the budget, when they don’t have five people working around them, when they don’t have the time that a dedicated supply chain manager might have to talk to everyone and handle all of these relationships. 

[00:23:27.510] – Jean-Philippe

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[00:24:05.010] – Marsel

Okay. Um, I think the most important fact starts from or, uh, action starts from day one. They have to engineer their menu in a smart way. They have to study the market. They have to see the availability, the consistency of the produce secure, uh, the correct trade deals with these suppliers, especially when you are small. It’s better to consolidate, uh, have the economy of scale. So you would.

[00:24:31.260] – Jean-Philippe

Have how many suppliers ideally? Uh, it.

[00:24:33.420] – Marsel

Depends on the it depends on the, on the menu and on the restaurant. So if we say small restaurant operators with, uh, maybe ten menu items to 15 menu items, they should not have more than five primary suppliers, 2 or 3 for backup. And that’s it. So they have the economy of scale. They can get better price. They can build up a they can personalize the relationship with the with the that vendor owner. So they get the best customer service if they need. Obviously these small stores, they have limited storage capacity. They don’t have central warehouses might need a second the third delivery. So they won’t need to run to run and buy a backup product from the supermarket with double the price. So they build a strong, strong relationship with the supplier. So even if they need the second, the third delivery, he will accommodate them for the same price. They they get proper discount when they consolidate, they secure contracts for six months or one year. So they make sure that their uh, GP’s uh, uh, gross profits and profit margins are stable within that period.

[00:25:42.900] – Marsel

And then they build their menu around it and they are so focused. So there are less opportunity to, to have any leaks or loopholes. And then very important from day one and something to not compromise on many new restaurant operators. They compromise on, um, on adapting the best technology tool or software. I think it’s more important than than having, uh, maybe a nice interior or or, uh, really? Yeah. It’s it’s much more important because this stays this builds you a sustainable, profitable business for the longest period possible if you stay consistent. Um, because having the right technology and the right tool can get a lot of data insights. You can track all your spends or your sales, analyze them. You can see if there is any. It might be theft or, uh, improper usage of the product. Maybe you are selling some products on loss without realizing, uh, maybe there is opportunity to upsell a specific. Product with low cost and can maximize your profit margins. So.

[00:26:58.040] – Marsel

So yeah, I think that’s the most important tools. Yeah.

[00:27:01.460] – Jean-Philippe

Yeah I think it’s um, key to also say that it’s not just about the tool, but it’s also about the entire education, educating your your staff to use the tool and also ensuring the consistency in using the tool properly. Correct. Um, a lot of the use cases that we see, um, I think people expect for the tool to do the job for them, you can have the most complex, nuanced, advanced software in the world, but if you don’t apply yourself, then that software is not going to give you, um, it’s not going to give you the right insights. So aside from choosing the best software, I think it’s also important to mention that you are going to dedicate so much time in educating your staff and staying on top of everything that the investment you’re making is not just purchasing the software, but the time you dedicating to that software. Also, of.

[00:27:50.870] – Marsel

Course, especially in the beginning. So as we mentioned earlier, garbage in, garbage out. We have to that’s a that’s a very important thing. Yeah. I think you have to invest a lot a lot of time, resources, training and perfecting the input in your tools or softwares. Then you run for a month or two. You see of course there is error and correction phase. Then once it’s automated, it’s like any, any other thing in the world. And initially you have to spend a lot of time and effort to train it, and then it becomes a habit and it becomes so, so easy and seamless to run it. So I think there needs to be a lot of investment in the initial stage in terms of training and and adaptability.

[00:28:40.370] – Jean-Philippe

You’ve spoken about building a relationship with suppliers. What is it that people don’t understand about building a relationship with the supplier?

[00:28:50.070] – Marsel

I think the most, uh, I mean, one of the biggest mistakes. Um, the the restaurant operators or procurement departments they consider suppliers as. As they always have to serve them, and it’s their obligation to deliver the tools because they are paying for them. But you have to think the other way around. You have always to put yourself in their shoes. Not always, but most of the times you have to consider all the factors that that they have as well. You have to provide them with a proper forecast. You you of course you you you, um, negotiate for the best price, but you have to get the best price for value. So you don’t squeeze them to the level where they start compromising on the quality, or sending you short expiry product, or playing with the with the eyes percentage or whatever. So they have to reach to the optimal level or the equilibrium point we call it where it’s a win win situation. You get the best deal that, uh, that makes your profits perfect.

[00:30:05.430] – Marsel

And the supplier who also can sustain for the longest period. And then you have to, um, it’s it’s always good to have, uh, contracts between you and suppliers to make to make sure you, uh, accommodate the mutual agreement. You consume all the stocks that you booked, uh, you you don’t change the supplier in a blink. You have to give them a proper notice. So you have to deal with them with respect. And it always comes back in most of the cases because there are cases where there are unreliable suppliers or inconsistent, but but yeah, if it’s a mutual respect relationship where both parties are considerable, it can impact very well on the business.

 
[00:30:52.380] – Jean-Philippe

You’ve spoken about finding the equilibrium between the right price and the right, uh, quality. Uh, how do you ensure a consistent quality, uh, and consistency when you’re leading several locations within your restaurants? What are the challenges that come with it, and how do you overcome that when you have to deal with so many suppliers? And.

[00:31:14.550] – Marsel

Um, I think it’s very complicated and you cannot achieve 100% for sure. All of all the times it might come to 100% in some occasions. But, um, but how this happens, uh, first you have to, um, communicate with the supplier. He has to visit the restaurant. He has to see the product. He has to know what’s your objective and what’s the deliverable or your expectations. Uh, then you take, um, you get, you open a tender. Basically, you get three or 4 or 5 suppliers. You create a, um, you create a challenging environment between them. You get the samples, you make sure this is the right product for you, you sign it off, then you, uh, check on the source from the origin. If they can accommodate your demand, uh, 365 days a year. Some products seasonal, six months from a particular source and six months from a different part of the world based on the seasonality factors. And then you lock this in into agreements so the supplier will be, uh, obliged to deliver you a consistent product or all year long based or based on the pattern that was pre-decided.

[00:32:34.680] – Marsel

And this way you make sure up to 90, 95% that you get a consistent produce. Mm.

[00:32:42.350] – Jean-Philippe

Interesting staying on the in the lane of, uh, complicated restaurant operations. Can you tell me a little bit about how do you organize your team? What does it take to build a high functioning team? Um, what advice would you give to people who are expanding their business?

[00:33:00.430] – Marsel

I think, um, uh, building competent and efficient teams is one of the crucial points for the businesses as they grow, because, uh, the initial phase, it’s easy when you are a one man or 2 to 3 people taking care of the whole business. But, uh, once the business grows, uh, here, the importance of a competent team comes. So you have to spend a lot of time and effort and training these teams. You have to find a blend of experienced. And newly graduated or new in the market. People. So you. You mix. Newer trend in the market with experience and you get the best output. So. Myself, I go to many or maybe at least 3 to 4 university placement fairs every year, uh, to hunt, uh, new graduate talents. Um, and to be honest, they deliver beyond your expectation. They bring things. I learn things sometimes from them that I didn’t even know about. And then you polish them in a way, and and you inject them with the know how.

[00:34:18.820] – Marsel

So they get the the team culture and the know how and the the more advanced concepts with their new tools and new ideology that they bring from their university or from their latest studies. And you create something unique. And, uh, yeah, I’ve tested and it impacts very well. And then continuously learning have to always be on top of your team, uh, not to micromanage. You will micromanage them initially. Maybe it’s the wrong term, but you have to be very close to them, address all their problems, keep checking on them. Um, uh, see what are the weaknesses, how they need to be addressed and resolved. And then you start, once you see that that is a good advancement and development, start delegating tasks and set KPIs. And then you only, um, you only, uh, evaluate them based on the KPIs, and you keep infusing them with the continuous knowledge and learning and trying to resolve problems, use their critical thinking, and eventually build a very resilient team and competent team.

[00:35:33.610] – Jean-Philippe

Who would you say should be the first hire for if you go back to someone who’s managing a standalone restaurant? So that’s the owner. They’re multitasking all day long, and now they’re ready to expand their business. What is the typical kind of profile that they should look at in terms of supply chain, uh, or supply chain manager, um, to hire? I think when.

[00:35:56.530] – Marsel

It’s the first hire, it’s important to hire, um, an experienced person, uh, with the knowhow with a previous track of. Procurement transformation, we can call it, that can bring the business into the higher level and scale. And then the second placement could be data analyst.

[00:36:19.810] – Jean-Philippe

Really interesting. So just you would inject data from the start basically in that uh growth.

[00:36:26.260] – Marsel

Yeah.

[00:36:26.500] – Marsel

Because he won’t provide you the full picture. He will show you the dashboard. But maybe if you don’t have enough as a, as an owner or operator, don’t have the knowledge or the, uh, the how to utilize. This data in your favor, then you need someone who can show you this. That’s why I think it’s important to start someone with a with a history of of, uh, a proven, successful transformation. And then he builds the team around him based on his knowledge. And because maybe you’ll do the wrong way. Maybe you start the opposite way, and then you end up with losses and wrong hires, and you’ll need to cope and risk up again. So it’s important to put someone with the know how. He. He starts with the transformation and then he builds the team around it.

[00:37:24.830] – Jean-Philippe

Interesting. Can you tell me a little bit about your journey as a supply chain director? How did you become a supply chain director? Where did you start? Uh, did you have any mentors? Did you go through any challenges that that shaped you into the person that you are today?

[00:37:39.170] – Marsel

Yeah. I mean, I started as a young graduate, new graduate, and it’s very difficult to find your first job.

[00:37:45.260] – Jean-Philippe

So through we’ve all been there. Yeah.

[00:37:47.930] – Marsel

So through a contact I’ve managed to start with one of the hospitality groups. Uh, luckily there was a finance director. He was my first mentor helped me. And building my career journey, we can say. Um, so I’ve started as a week trial as a data entry clerk. Then they I think they found something in me. So. So I was mentored by him for quite long. Um, he advised me on, on the, on the knowledge that I need to acquire best practices, how to use emotional intelligence, um, how to act in different situations and, and challenges. Then the company grew and the departments grew, and I, I scaled it up, created different, uh, divisions within it. And, and with Covid, with all these challenges that came along with Covid, it shaped me in a more, uh, solid foundation. Uh, I’ve been always a good communicator. I, I, I, I know the value of, of a network. So I started building my network quite early.

[00:38:57.770] – Marsel

That helped me in, uh, advancing in a quicker way, make my faster steps. Um, and that takes a lot of dedication, consistency, hard work and and learning, especially for supply chain, have to always be adaptable, continuous learning, always see what’s new in the market. Having the openness and consistency, doing it every day, every time. And yeah.

[00:39:27.570] – Jean-Philippe

All right. Speaking of, uh, staying on top of, uh, of your business, I want to talk about software and tech and the role it plays in, uh, supply chain. Can you. First of all, I’m very curious to know what is the tech stack that you have? What the tools do you use? Do you have an ERP? Do you have a software that only focuses on, uh, creating purchase orders? Do you have a software that communicates with suppliers? What is your, um, your weapons of choice? If I can say.

[00:40:00.600] – Marsel

Uh, I think it’s very important to build, uh, a procurement ecosystem with, uh, with, uh, uh, with a landscape that can achieve your, your end point. So, uh, I’ve started early in the days I, I’ve been using so many softwares because tech is evolving. It keeps changing. Uh, but it’s important to have 2 to 3 tools. The moment we have, uh, a procurement software to place orders, you have, uh, uh, point of sale with inventory management and an ERP. So you integrate all of them to, to to reach to the P2P cycle point. Um, yeah. And, and then it’s good to have on the side like a learning platform for your team. So yeah, this tech stack, um, helps to run your department efficiently.

[00:41:00.360] – Jean-Philippe

Can you tell me a story where data helped you uncover something that you weren’t aware of?

[00:41:08.590] – Marsel

Yeah. Of course. Um, so, so, I mean, in some restaurants, if you compare with others, you you realize that you have a high cost of sales. So when you when you dig deeper, you find out that, uh, maybe you are not buying the right ingredients or the ingredients that, that you are buying doesn’t come. As you expected. And you have a lot of, um. Uh, of leak from that particular product that minimize your profit margins and increase the waste percentage. So, so I think the, the most, most of the challenges come from fresh produce, vegetables, uh, protein, like seafood, meat because they don’t come in a stable form. So without.

[00:42:00.360] – Jean-Philippe

Terms of weight, you mean.

[00:42:01.470] – Marsel

Weight? Shape, origin? Uh, freshness. So, uh, without having the softwares, it’s very difficult to detect, especially when you are on a scale and you have multiple restaurants to manage.

[00:42:16.650] – Jean-Philippe

I want to finish this podcast with, uh, a question around sustainability. Uh, we live in a world that is becoming increasingly sensitive to the way that we consume. How do you manage sustainability from a supply chain perspective?

[00:42:33.370] – Marsel

I think sustainability is now the most important, uh, topic that every supply chain leader has to focus on. So, um, uh, currently I’m navigating a lot of, uh, new tools like, uh, like blockchain platforms for products, traceability. You make sure it’s ethically sourced from the from the right farm or from the right source. Then the logistics journey didn’t have any unstable patterns. Or if it’s a cold chain, you you get the same call temperature within the whole journey. You make sure that it went through all the necessary steps till it reached to your kitchen. And the second important point in terms of sustainability as an internal practice is to utilize your produce to the maximum level. So there are a lot of tools that can um. Uh, in terms of carbon accounting, can can save, uh, your oil consumption. You can utilize all your ingredients in a smart menu where you can use the offcuts or whatever in, in another dishes. And one of the key key factors, I think, and it’s the most easiest to, to, to take and implement is to source locally.

[00:43:52.880] – Marsel

Uh, now we are in the UAE. In the UAE, there are a lot of, uh, uh, local farms, local factories that produce high quality ingredients. So you reduce a lot of carbon footprint. You support the local community, uh, you make sure it’s, uh, it’s a fresh produce. Yeah, I think I think, uh, these are the key three to start with. And there will be many others on the way along.

[00:44:18.450] – Jean-Philippe

All right. Amazing. Any last advice for new restaurant operators or for experienced restaurant owners who are struggling with supply chain?

[00:44:27.360] – Marsel

Yeah. Um, hire the right tool. Uh, get the right supply chain team and you’ll be happy with the profits and with the consistency.

[00:44:37.970] – Jean-Philippe

All right.

[00:44:38.840] – Jean-Philippe

Amazing. Thank you. Marsel.

[00:44:40.670] – Marsel

Thank you JP. It was a pleasure.


Guest & Host

Jean-Philippe Serhal

Sr. Marketing Manager
Supy

Marsel Khanane Supy Podcast

Marsel Khanae

Group Supply Chain Director
Tashas Group

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