SAFC Lives presents personnel profiles where we talk to the people and personalities who make SAFC tick to find out more about their position, what drives them, and what they enjoy doing when they are not playing a critical role in the ongoing growth of SAFC.
In this edition, we talk with Jean Chabbert, EMEA Sales Support Manager located in the Gillingham, UK facility.
SAFC Live: Hello. Please start us off with a background of your position and an idea of your day-to-day duties.
I am the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) Sales Support Manager, working directly with the sales support group. The group includes an EU quote department in Poole, UK; a customer service team in our Irvine, Scotland facility; an order entry management team; and a Sourcing Team in Gillingham, UK. Our group is part of a greater global supply chain team, so I report our progress directly to the VP of SAFC Supply Chain, Marketing and R&D, Deborah Slagle.
This position has many facets. In addition to aligning the strategy of the team, I also support SAFC Commercial and Applied Market customers in the EMEA region. I come in and look for alternatives for customers and participate in providing general quotes. I also manage orders and oversee the entry process. By being fully involved in the team strategy, our customer-facing experience, and the back-end processes, I am able to keep an eye out for new ways to improve the supply chain along the way.
On a day-to-day basis, I am often meeting with a customer or working on initiatives related to supply chain solutions or supply chain issues. As a team, we are always identifying new short-term or long-term process initiatives. All of the work comes down to improving the service level for our customers, so that means I take on a broad range of activities.
SAFC Live: Tell us about your time with SAFC. What brought you here, how long have you been here and how has your role developed?
I started off as a chemist at the bench. Though I had graduated with a Master of Science in biomolecules, I focused a lot more on chemistry than biology in school.
After school, I went to a company called Genset in Paris, which was acquired by Proligo in 2003. I then moved into my role with Sigma-Aldrich as part of Proligo being acquired in 2005. At that time of the acquisition, I was in charge of oligo production at our Boulder, CO manufacturing site. Because of my experience, I was given the opportunity to move to The Woodlands, TX to join the Sigma-Aldrich peptide and oligo manufacturing group; I took the offer and stayed in the role of production manager for the team for about 2 years.
In 2007, I transitioned into operations management for oligo and peptides at the Woodlands site. Then in the end of 2008 I took an opportunity to move back to France as a site manager in the Evry oligo-manufacturing site, where I stayed for three years.
My current role in Gillingham with SAFC is actually quite new; I started here in the beginning of 2012.
SAFC Live: What has inspired you during your career with SAFC? What gets you out of bed in the morning?
There are quite a few things that inspire me about my time with Sigma-Aldrich and now SAFC.
For starters, I always wanted to work for a global company with opportunities to grow and continually push myself outside of my comfort zone. I have that, and I feel lucky to look back and know that in the past 7 years, I have had 4 jobs in 3 countries. That time has allowed me to meet so many great people and work with technical experts and business leaders across the globe. The exposure to intelligent people and the daily challenges keep me motivated.
SAFC Live: How do you think SAFC solves problems for customers?
While I have only been with SAFC a short time, it has been invaluable. I am able to participate with key customers and learn new things all the time. To be honest, I have always been very impressed by how strong the business relationships are between SAFC and customers. It all comes as a result of providing solutions and solving problems. We know that delivering, regardless of the problems the customers have, is the key to creating an experience that sets us apart. It is our driving goal to provide exceptional solutions that are on quality and on time.
SAFC Live: What do you see in the future for SAFC?
Right now we are in a challenging market – there has been a lot of uncertainty and disappointment. Yet I see a bright future for SAFC because I think we are doing the right things. We have really taken our focus away from revenue and placed it on the customer experience. We figure the bottom line is that happy customers bring success that is consistent and expansive.
The recent acquisitions, in conjunction with the realignment of business units, reflect an exceptional investment in the future. SAFC is continuing to put time and money into offering world-class facilities and making sure the right people are doing the right jobs. The reorganization has allowed us to improve our customer-centric approach and bring attention to any updates needed to ensure quality and transparency is built into our supply chain.
SAFC Live: Outside of work, what are your passions?
I greatly enjoy fishing, tribal art, and free diving. While there is no obvious link between the three passions, I can say that they are all very relaxing and provide me with lots of opportunities to experience and learn new things. They also help bring together my family, including my wife, 4-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter.
Though I have been fishing and diving since I was a kid, my interest in African/tribal art came later in life. I am so glad that my family can bond through these interests; we always have an excuse to have fun, relax and spend quality time together.