Alexander Gregorian, Vice President, Head of Technical and Production at Nestlé Waters NA, believes successful future leaders will need to combine innovation cultures with predictive data analytics.
Q: What is your role and focus?
A: As Vice President, Head of Technical and Production and a member of the Executive Team at Nestlé Waters North America, I am responsible for 27 of our manufacturing facilities, overseeing all aspects of production, engineering, quality, safety, health and environment. I am also responsible for application groups supporting innovation and renovation and operational excellence initiatives in our factories. My goal is to continuously enhance our operations performance to deliver the best product and service at the most competitive total delivered cost.
Q: What is the most pressing issue facing the manufacturing industry today?
A: Manufacturers are facing more demanding and diverse customers who are urging for more choices and customized solutions. That creates more fragmented markets with shorter product cycles. This dynamic requires huge operational flexibility in which leveraging data and advanced technologies to delight customer expectations becomes paramount. It is also crucial to ensure that the workforce is well prepared to embrace advanced technology.
Q: What is the most important corporate initiative you are involved in at the moment?
A: We are in the midst of evolving our operations to meet our future needs and to position the company for long-term success. This includes a massive effort to optimize our E2E processes and infrastructure to increase competitiveness. It is about empowering and boosting competencies of our associates through initiatives like Lean Manufacturing and Total Productive Management, as well as leveraging data through predictive analytics and advanced technologies like Industry 4.0, IoT, augmented reality, and automation.
Q: What will be the most important leadership qualities to possess in the future?
A: Leaders capable of creating an environment conducive to innovation are more likely to succeed in the future. Everyone wants to work for a leader who provides an opportunity to challenge the “status quo” and embrace new ideas. Leaders must encourage innovation while leveraging predictive analytics to anticipate consumer preference, foster open communication, encourage bottom-up suggestions, and provide the freedom to test new solutions. This approach gives everyone the ability to become an innovator, increasing engagement. Also, as consumers continue to seek a more customized experience, complexity tends to go against performance, so the ability to deal with ambiguity and leverage technology becomes a fundamental skill for the future.
Q: What will be the greatest opportunities for manufacturers over the next five years?
A: Technology will allow data to predict and capture consumer demand, enabling new highly customized products and services. To meet changing market expectations, manufacturing must become more customer-centric, self-organized and empowered, supported by high connectivity and a tech-savvy workforce.
Further collaboration and synergy will also empower the value chain as data and technology strengthens the connection of manufacturing to other parts of the E2E business, including the supplier networks, improving forecast accuracy, performance, and creating economic and social value.
Q: What is your favorite activity outside of work or the last book you read?
A: I enjoy spending quality time with my wife and four kids. Travelling, reading, barbecuing, and fishing are amongst the things I relish the most.
Title: Vice President, Head of Technical and Production
Company: Nestlé Waters NA
Location: Stamford, CT
Size: 8000 Employees