A coffee with… Miguel Ángel Carro, Logistics & Order Fulfilment Director LG Electronics
My name is Miguel Ángel Carro Portela. Born in Venezuela to Spanish parents, I studied Industrial Engineering at the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Caracas and then I did an MBA at the Instituto de Empresa in Madrid.
I have worked in multinationals such as CEMEX or IBM Business Services and I have been working in logistics and supply chain for 13 years at LG Electronics Spain, currently as their Supply Chain Management Director.
LG Electronics is a leading multinational in Consumer Electronics, Household Appliances, Air Conditioning or specific electronics products for B2B. We have operations both in mainland Spain and the Canary Islands. We work with an important pool of more than 20 suppliers and logistics partners, and we make around 50,000 deliveries a year to around 2,000 different destinations.
L&A: Tell us about yourself and your career in the logistics sector, how did you get started in this sector, where does your passion come from?
Miguel Ángel: I have been involved in the world of logistics, operations and the supply chain for more than 20 years. I also trained as an Industrial Engineer, which linked me to this world from my first professional steps.
In those first steps I worked for CEMEX, a Mexican multinational leader in the world of Cement and Concrete. During those first years I participated in very important infrastructure projects in my country of birth, Venezuela. We coordinated the operations for pre-mixed concrete pours at the Caruachi Dam or the 2nd Bridge over the Orinoco River.
In these first experiences I was very surprised by the pride of the people working in the construction sector and above all by the direct impact of their work on the quality of life of everyone.
Technically speaking, these were complex projects that required the use of ice to lower the setting temperature of the concrete, pouring in water or long transits to the final destination. These projects had a need for planning and synchronisation of concrete production, the quality requirements of each project and good management of the trucks dedicated to each operation.
The combination of working on something with a direct impact on people’s wellbeing and also being technically and operationally challenging captivated me.
L&A: As an expert who also dedicates his day-to-day life to keeping abreast of the latest developments in the field, where do you see the keys to the future of logistics?
Miguel Ángel: The speed at which our world is moving today and the changes we are undergoing mean that we need to have a capacity for adaptation and flexibility like never before.
We are coming from the last 3 years of pandemic and post-pandemic which have been the biggest logistical and supply chain challenge we have ever experienced. The disruptions we have experienced especially in raw materials and components, international transport and its costs.
And we have yet to experience the profound changes that this period has generated in a new global reality: the questioning of and dependence on China as a global supplier or the development of new production capacities in Western countries and, especially, in Europe.
We are facing a totally new logistics world and really rapid changes, and the ability to adapt and the flexibility to adapt to these new situations is key to facing the coming years.
L&A: Imagine if you had to implement immediate improvements in a company in terms of supply chain management, what would they be?
Miguel Ángel: Greater integration between the Planning and Logistics areas has definitely been one of our focuses in recent years and will continue to be in the coming years.
In such a changing environment and where we have events happening at a much faster rate than ever before, getting closer to an integration of sales, demand and planning information is key.
Equally important is that this information is managed online and that there are tools for coordination with the different areas of the company: Sales, Production or even Customer Care.
Having this information at our disposal allows us to be much better prepared from a logistics and supply chain point of view. Not only our capacities (trucks, warehouses, resources…), but also our teams, so that we face these changes with a much more positive attitude and generate much less anxiety in people.
L&A: In your experience on the ground seeing the evolution of the sector first hand, what are the trends that you would say are here to stay?
Miguel Ángel: In addition to the above, information management and Big Data are going to be key in our sector. In today’s world, the amount of data, its integrity and its communication through the links in the supply chain are extremely important, from the manufacturers of raw materials or components to the end customers. This generates an enormous amount of data, almost immediately upon the occurrence of each event. Having the capacity to manage this data and make the right decisions with it will be one of the differentiating factors in companies that are successful in the future.
On the other hand, I would highlight the organisation of teams and individuals to deal with change. The new generations are already used to this new environment. A world with greater exposure to social networks, the same as a vehicle for doing business, customers with much broader needs and with greater immediacy, mean that teams must be designed and built to work in this environment.
Finally, I would mention a world with a more reasonable and sustainable e-commerce. At the moment we are experiencing a wild development in e-commerce and, therefore, in all its logistics. This forces us to be more sustainable: having thousands of delivery drivers entering large urban centres, the management of their emissions or waste or capacities has not been a priority. We must all work on having an e-commerce that is much more adapted to the needs of the end consumer and sustainable at the same time.
L&A: Finally, we cannot end the interview without asking you about the post-pandemic era. From your point of view, how has it affected your decisions, what changes have you observed in the consumer and how have you responded or are you responding to it within LG Electronics?
Miguel Ángel: From a consumer point of view there has been a major change. We like to think of it as a change in the consumption pattern we were seeing before the pandemic.
At LG Electronics, from a logistical point of view, we have bulky, high-value products (televisions, refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, air conditioners), with the aim of improving the quality of life of people in their homes, but they are also products with very particular technical characteristics.
Firstly, consumers used to be more willing to go to a shop to find out which product best suited their needs. Now they are much more willing to buy online and compare the characteristics of these products in this environment, without the need to physically see the product.
Secondly, teleworking is a reality that is here to stay. Therefore, people are going to have a greater focus on making their homes better equipped and prepared to spend much more time at home than they did previously.
Finally, the growth of the online world has also led to a growth in last mile logistics, home delivery and the commissioning and installation needs of our products. In this regard, we have been working to improve and expand our capabilities to service our customers should they need it. Especially with the commissioning and installation of high-end products, very bulky and with very special characteristics.
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