Rexel USA CEO Roger Little Recaps First Six Months

Rexel USA CEO Roger Little Recaps First Six Months

Last December 18, Roger Little became the President and CEO of Rexel USA. On his first day in that position, Little spoke with tED magazine about his vision for the distributorship.

Six months later, Little is providing an update on what he has done for the past half year, and what he expects to accomplish for the rest of this year.

In part 1 of this three-part series, Little spoke with tED magazine Publisher Scott Costa about his key takeaways during his first six months.

Costa: I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the fact that on your first day at Rexel USA CEO you talked to tED magazine about what’s ahead, and we’re now at about six months into the position. Let’s recap your six months. What’s been happening for you?

 Roger Little: Well, it has been extremely busy with travel and getting out to see everything. We operate across 9 regions, and I saw every one of those regions, which required a bit of travel. I like to see not only the biggest branch in each region, but a variety of different sized branches when I’m visiting those regions. The easy part of this travelwas going to the distribution centersand the headquarters, but quite honestly, to me it was more interesting to see a variety of branches from largest to smallest instead. So, I did a lot of travel through the first six months, and I was quite pleased with what I saw and I was really happy with the progress that the regions have been making. Rexel USA is a very similar business to what I was used to with Rexel Canada. For the most part, our supplier partners are the same and our customer types are the same, and although we have some uniqueness across the border, the majority is very similar. It was good to validate that, but also good to meet the individuals that make it happen every day for Rexel USA.

Costa: Take me into it a little bit, if you can, in terms of what you learned, what insights you gained, and like you said as you talked to individuals at big and small locations, what are some of the things that you were able to pull from the people who work at Rexel?

Little: I definitely learned that this is a group that that has come a long way in a short amount of time from when the initial regional structure was created. It was created several years ago by Jeff Baker and Patrick Berard, and it really provided the regions with the autonomy and the agility they needed to move the business forward. I can validate that it is moving forward. I said the first time we chatted that that I liked the regional structure and want to keep it how it is. My travels in the past 6 months very much validated that the structure is working. Are there things we can do better? Are there best practices that we can share on the back-office ideas? Absolutely. That is the one key takeaway.There is some real opportunity for not centralization, but standardization. Sometimes we do the exact same activity in eight or nine different ways depending on how the region is structured and I think there’s an opportunity to pick the best couple of them, put them together, and implement those over the next few months or years across all nine and now 10 regions with the addition of Talley. So certainly, there are opportunities to do that, but again it’s about just picking the best that we’ve seen across the U.S., implementing it, and ultimately making it better for our customers and better for our associates.

Costa: Take me into that a little bit with best practices and standardization. Your first six months were spent on the road, which is great. What happens in the next six months?  What did you learn and how are you going to strategize that and communicate it Rexel?

Little: Actually, just last week, after returning from my travel, I sat down with the U.S. executive team and my direct reports, and gave them a readout of my priorities. I saw opportunities, gained consensus on those opportunities, and I asked if I was the only one seeing those opportunities or if others were seeing the exact same ones. We have good alignment on that, and you’re never going to get full alignment, but that’s OK. I don’t expect that. But it certainly gave us many items to move forward with over the next 6 to 12 months on standardizing. A lot of it has to do with the back office, like the way we do certain account receivable activities, the way we do inventory reconciliations, and so on. It’s not how we call customers right now, although I think we have a real opportunity to standardize some of our playbook on sales in the future. That’s the next step. This back office standardization is the first step, to take the low hanging fruit and be able to standardize it across our regions.

Comment on the story

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *