Web Exclusive: Q&A with LOGISTICS TODAYs Top 5 Logistics Leaders- Bob Brescia

April 1, 2004
LOGISTICS TODAY: How does Michelin characterize its supply chain? BRESCIA: The Michelin North America supply chain can best be characterized as customer

LOGISTICS TODAY: How does Michelin characterize its supply chain?

BRESCIA: The Michelin North America supply chain can best be characterized as “customer concentric.” Logistics plays a vital role in servicing and surpassing the expectations of our valued customers and consumers. Logistics is the more visible part, since together with customer service it listens and responds to the “voice of the customer.”

LT: What's your background, and how did it prepare you for your current role?

BRESCIA: Before joining Michelin North America, I was a logistician for 27 years in the U.S. Army, followed by two years of directing supply chain functions for a major 3PL. The technical knowledge I gained in global logistics, managing operations on a large scale, and leading people served as building blocks for my current responsibilities. I have learned and applied many lessons and techniques from the fine logistics senior leaders in the Army that I have had the honor of working with over the years.

More recently in Detroit, I had the opportunity to design and carry out supply chains for several automotive companies and suppliers. In the end, it always boils down to having the courage to do the right thing -- a healthy respect for the facts, the customers and the shareholders.

LT: What are your company's current efforts in terms of improving or streamlining its supply chain and logistics processes?

BRESCIA: Michelin North America emphasizes performance and responsibility throughout the entire supply chain including the execution of operational logistics. Our strategy centers on lean principles of focusing on those business processes that add value to the customer and consumer. We strive to increase efficiency and productivity to find the right balance that will most benefit our customers. This is a constant effort that requires the application of best practices and consideration of the individual needs of all our customers.

LT: What is the biggest supply chain challenge Michelin faces today?

BRESCIA: There are many challenges in today’s supply chain. For example, the need to run lean on inventories places increased demands for speed throughout the entire chain. Increased speed requires a mastery of transportation management during a time of difficult balance between capacity and cost. Logisticians everywhere are faced with the task of finding the “sweet spot” in the matrix of cost and service levels.

The most innovative solutions are found when we work together with our customers to unravel these complexities and arrive at mutually satisfying solutions.

LT: What can you point to as Michelin’s greatest accomplishment in terms of its supply chain?

BRESCIA: Michelin North America is doing a fine job at redesigning its logistics network to best serve the entire customer base. We use appropriate and clear key operational indicators to gauge our operational service levels and our progress. Our fine supply chain and logistics professionals are dedicated to providing the best service at the least cost. All of our logistics initiatives are in fact enablers in keeping our company ready, responsive and relevant -- a leader in our industry.

Bob Brescia
vice president, logistics
Michelin North America (www.michelin.com)