SAFC Lives presents personnel profiles where we talk to the people and personalities who make SAFC tick, and find out something about their work, what drives them, their aspirations, and what they enjoy doing when they’re not playing a critical role in the ongoing growth of SAFC.
In this edition, we talk with Vice President Sales and Marketing EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), Denis Micol, who is based in Switzerland.
SAFC Live: Hello Denis. Please start us off with a background of your position and an idea of what your day to day duties are.
My role is mainly focused within the Sigma Aldrich Research business with cross over into the SAFC business. I am responsible for managing the European Sales and Tactical Marketing organization and have direct reports across Sales, including Regional Sales Directors (Northern, Central and South Europe) and Tactical Marketing Directors (Research and SAFC). On a daily basis, I manage the strategic planning, execution and priorities in the EMEA region for Business Units and work to make sure that the right tactics are in place in the European market and that our plans are being executed accurately.
SAFC Live: How long have you been with Sigma-Aldrich/SAFC?
I have been with Sigma Aldrich for just under 18 years.
SAFC Live: How did you enter into a career with Sigma-Aldrich? What were the factors in this?
Before my time with Sigma, my background consisted mainly of chemistry and for many years, I worked as a chemist. Just before I joined Sigma, I was working as a chemist for Michelin, where much of our R&D involved using Aldrich and Fluka products. I came into touch with a search company in 1993 and was told of the opportunity. The Sigma Aldrich name was strong enough to encourage me to make the move. I knew the company from a customer point of view and held it at the top of my mind when thinking about product quality and service.
SAFC Live: What has been your career path to date within the organization?
My initial role with Sigma was Director of Operations in France. Since I began in 1994, I was placed in positions that were mainly focused in operations for our French and European markets. After 2000, I started to move away from operations and into roles that were more focused on Sales and Marketing, which was my original goal. From 2000 to 2006, I was the Country Manager for France and most recently, before this position, the General Manager of Southern Europe.
During my various transitional roles, I took time to study for an Executive MBA in Marketing of Innovation at the University of Lyon in France in order to achieve my personal target to cross over into business management and sales management. The education was fun and taught me a lot of tools and tactics that I am able to apply to the Sales and Marketing divisions here at Sigma.
SAFC Live: What has inspired you during your career with Sigma? What gets you out of bed in the morning?
I was a Sigma Aldrich customer before I became a Sigma Aldrich sales guy. My approach is to take care of my customers and make sure that they are successful by providing them the right product, the right services, the right support. It is about identifying a customers’ main objective and driver for each project and fulfilling that.
SAFC Live: What does the new “Feel It” campaign mean to you?
Over the last few years we have acquired a tremendous amount of capability that separates us from our competitors. Our “Feel It” campaign is an extension of that. In the most simplistic terms it is a statement aimed at our target markets, which conveys the fact that with SAFC you will “Feel” the difference working with us. This does not only cover our capabilities of delivering specific technology and products, it also refers to what we offer as a company: quality, support, exceptional standards and the guarantee that we are here to be a problem solver and partner. Every customer we work with comes to SAFC with different needs and we work to provide them with a tangible result. We are the sum of many parts and when those parts are combined, both the customer and SAFC become stronger for it.
SAFC Live: How do you think SAFC solves problems for customers?
At SAFC, our approach is a differentiator, as we provide tailored solutions to customers in what is typically a “one size fits all” market. We tailor our business model to maximize deliverable benefits for our customers, effectively operating as an extension of our customers’ resources. In order to provide our customers with the specific services and products that they need, we have invested significantly in industry standard and differentiating, niche technologies. Combined with quality personnel, technical expertise and a strategic infrastructure to support these resources, we are well placed to act as an effective problem solving partner for all our customers’ needs.
SAFC Live: What do you see in the future for SAFC?
The more we can innovate, the more we can differentiate SAFC in the market. Sometimes we tend to reduce the concept of innovation to new products, but that is not all there is. You must find a way to differentiate through innovation of the business model, as well as the products and services. We will not always be able to compete on the prices offered in China or India, but we can work to improve our services. SAFC can find ways to do new business and grow through more channels in the market by becoming more customer centric than other companies and we will continue to be more successful with this focus.
SAFC Live: Outside of work, what are your passions?
Running is my passion; I am a marathon man. When I was younger, I played soccer a lot. As I grew older, I wanted to find something to channel into and it became running. I run three to four times a week, at least. Five years ago, I decided to challenge myself by entering and completing a marathon. Now, I run a marathon every year and this year I will run two marathons. The running bug has spread in Sigma and we have many members who run together and as a goal. What I like about running is that it reflects life. Anything is a long shot in life, but the more focus you keep, the more chances you have for success.