Building a future-proof supply chain

Leendert Arkenbout and Yigremachew Worku

Designing, building and executing the flow of goods through Syngenta Flowers supply chain, end-to-end.
Splitting a key role like Head of Supply Chain and Operations into two new roles takes the right people. Syngenta Flowers recently appointed Yigremachew Worku as Head of Production EAME and Leendert Arkenbout as Head of Operations EAME.

Leendert will be responsible for overall network design and delivery performance, with a focus on efficiency and reducing complexity in the end-to-end supply chain. Yigremachew has big plans for how he’s going to tackle his new position.

Double fit for the job

When you ask Leendert and Yigremachew about their backgrounds, the choice for these two men becomes immediately clear. Leendert has a finance background, but what he really loves is to make things better. Yigremachew on the other hand is a grower and knows all abouts plants.He worked his way from being a grower in the greenhouse to a site manager at Ethiopia Cuttings. 

As soon as Leendert starts to talk he is full of passion: Our supply chain will be faced with enormous challenges, but that also means there are enormous opportunities. Simply put, we are here to supply the customer what he has ordered. 

That’s where you’ll need to be great partners, you and Yigremachew, right?

Right, because once his team produces the products, we need to bring the product towards the customer in the most efficient way through our Warehousing and Logistic teams. At the same time, movements and deviations take place throughout that whole process. Basically, we are responsible for the overall network design and delivery performance, with a focus on efficiency and reducing complexity in the end-to-end supply chain. 

Yigremachew continues: and my teams focus will be on quality. We want to be the best in the market. My role will be to link our growers with the supply chain and operation, and at the end, to be able to improve and sustain the quality for our customers. This takes a strong commitment and passion for achieving long-term goals Those are things I pride myself in, and I am excited and ready for the challenge to support my team with the experience of growing plants. 

What is Syngenta Flowers’ vision on supply chain?

First of all, I believe in different supply flows, says Leendert. We cannot stick to a one-size-fits-all flow if we want to meet the customers’ needs, either in quality or in cost. It’s also about flexibility. We need to be able to respond more quickly to changes in the market. It’s time to think and potentially redesign our supply network, to access the value of the partnerships we have built and to create new partnerships where we need to. 

And finally, it’s about accelerating innovation. Dream with me for a moment and imagine what would happen if we are able to extend the storage life of a plant significantly. It might sound like a dream, but we are not that far away and already working on elements of it with Optifreeze.

If we can make it work, it would revolutionize our entire industry. There is only one party out there that can make it work, that’s us and no one else. That is the true strength of having a mother company as Syngenta. We can reshape our own future. 

Yigremachew, when will you move to the Netherlands?

The current situation of Covid-19 is making planning a bit tougher, but despite that, I am hoping to move around October. In the meantime, it will give me time to support the team here in Ethiopia. I will miss quite a lot of things from Ethiopia. I have an extended family, which makes my time away from work to be always cheerful, and of course, I have a very strong and committed team at Ethiopia Cuttings with whom I will always be proud to have worked with.