An Interview with Francois Gau, Operations Expert
Where do you see Procurement, Supply Chain, and Operations in 3 years?
The art of sourcing is not going away, but all the tactical administrative aspects of it will disappear. The era of pushing papers is essentially dead. Buying, sourcing, tracking, everything that’s so important to some of the supply chains, I know exists out there, may be gone. There is a whole cluster of industries that I hear about, and even job functions within those industries, that need to understand how they’re going to deal with the coming change.
Blockchain is going to be a huge factor across industries and even whole supply chains. Many people have heard about Bitcoin, but don’t really know how it works. Bitcoin is an example, and only one example, of a blockchain application (or distributed ledger technology). The real power comes from the transparency blockchain enables. If you are a member of a supply chain aggregator, what’s going to make you different than the next member?
There’s so much disruption coming from technology that, if I were a CPO, I would say, “Wow, what does it mean for me? How do I get in, and how do I make my counterparts understand the risk of irrelevance?
What is it about Tenzing that best aligns with your style of working and priorities?
The concept of the gig economy, allows bursts of effort from highly competent individuals guide a client without being directly employed by them. Tenzing’s business model is remarkable in that way. Tenzing needed an Expert who could bring context to a complicated situation, with my in-depth knowledge in aerospace and manufacturing, it was a natural fit.
Tenzing has close to 1,000 subject matter Experts in their network, ranging from very sophisticated buyers all the way to Chief Procurement Officers, and people like me, that have very specific competencies in areas where companies need targeted, tailored guidance. Typical consultants are content providers, but at Tenzing, they are context providers. That difference is what makes their input so effective.
What project or accomplishment do you consider to be the most significant from your career?
At a former employer, I was part of a team attempting to create something that was deemed ‘impossible’: bringing 75 years of machine parts know-how into a software component that would help our clients find the best machine solutions given the context. We took it upon ourselves to turn all that expertise into a modern AI-based system to evolve our Go-To-Market experience to match that of our new demographics. It took eight years for us to go from idea to solution, and the journey was not easy, but we were bold and audacious and all of the effort was worth it for the transformation that took place.
Who would you say is your role model, and why?
The person that moved me to the U.S. He was always on. Always positive. Always smiling. Always willing to help. Caring and empathic. He was very knowledgeable but never showed off. He also understood that leading people is a lot harder than managing them–it requires more two-way communication. He was very easy to work with, absolutely authentic, strategic and down to earth, and that’s what I have been trying to emulate ever since and why I appreciate working with Tenzing as they hold the same core values.