Portraits

Sylvain Lemercier: Developing skills to adapt better

Sylvain Lemercier has just been appointed Procurement Manager at ALLIANCE AUTOMOTIVE France, a position that calls for a combination of skills, in sales, marketing, international and strategic affairs.

Sylvain Lemercier: Developing skills to adapt better

 

 

Following the advice of other UTC graduates, Sylvain Lemercier came to UTC in 1992, in the Mechanical Engineering major.

"What pleased me immediately I arrived at UTC was the semester-organized programme, along with a Credit Course (CC) progression to attain the diploma. This meant that we were not chained to a rigid ultra-technical framework and we were invited to acquire and develop other skills. As far as I was concerned, this was with my sales bent. So, on top of a solid technical and scientific grounding I was attracted by economics, languages and an international vista. With all this, UTC was a perfect choice for me” stresses Sylvain.

Meeting and confronting other cultures

Sylvain was able enjoy a lot of foreign experience, through a placement with Goodyear in Luxemburg, followed by a semester in Canada at the Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal to study Industrial Engineering (plus after-hours classes at McGill University). To complete this scene, Sylvain did his en-of-studies project at Ohio State University, Columbus. “By setting my marks rapidly in international commitments, I was able to be successful in a number of things, from teaching to professional and even personal gains”, he adds.

Once he had received his UTC engineering diploma, Sylvain set about looking for a “CSN” (a science oriented national service outside France), which he did at Faurecia, in Wales, UK? “The CSN at the time was the equivalent to the modern VIE (international volunteers for industry) and allowed us to work in a foreign company abroad.

It was a truly rich experience, since we were professionally assigned to positions carrying a high degree of responsibility just after our graduation.”

Mad keen on cars and purchasing

Sylvain always had (and continues to have) a passion for cars. “[To paraphrase Astérix] I fell into it and I’m stuck with it! My career path led me to Purchasing divisions. At Faurecia I was appointed QA Manager (production) with close links to the suppliers and the Purchasing Department”.

In 1999, he was recruited by PSA (automobiles) at their subsidiary company Sogedac – at the Purchasing Directorate where he became their QA Manager (Purchases). Quite rapidly Sylvain rose to the position of Project manager for procurement of raw material and was then offered the position as Purchasing Team Manager, carrying the responsibility of handling purchase orders worth up to 400 Meuros, with over 100 suppliers round the world. “At UTC I had done a minor specialty in economics and that helped me enormously. Generally speaking, UTC “pushed us” to learn how to adapt continuously and to react to every sort of situation, to take initiatives and above all “to sort things out”. Whatever the challenge, we just had to be able to solve it”, Sylvain adds.

Other functions such as Head of Purchasing at Autodistribution, a centralized company for automobile spare parts. This experience brought Sylvain a little closer again to “trading” aspects, continuing at Philips Automotive Lighting as their Senior Manager for a large-scale internal account. “That was a very rewarding and enriching training experience and one where I really got myself involved in Sales”, he recalls. In 2015, he was offered the position of Director of Purchasing at Alliance Automotive France, a key player in the field of automobile parts distribution and associate services throughout France and Europe. In this function, Sylvain is now responsible for all purchasing for the activities of the Alliance Automotive France and he plays an active role in defining the international procurement policy of the Group.

A sector undergoing a total revolution

Never disabused, Sylvain has always been able to appreciate being at the cross-roads of several arras. “You really can never get bored in a job like this, with an open and carried milieu where we handle loads of products used in numerous, new environments, and that is a rich experience indeed! Today we hear more and more about connected objects, new horizons that lead on to the discovery and use of new technologies.

Electric cars and the progress we see in driverless vehicles, such as the Google®-car are really going to revolutionize the sector in the coming 5 to 10 years. Products will evolve as will the players in the field; we shall all have to adapt to offer a range of products that meets the needs for parts replacements and that is quite a challenge, believe me! Market slot mergers and concentrations and accelerating internationalization will also be strong factors – so we must remain vigilant if we want to be able to integrate the changes as early as possible.”

“Networking” with an ever-open mind

“Building up a personal network and enjoying experiences abroad is absolutely capital”, insists Sylvain. “UTC gave me all the keys for this. You learn how to make the most of the benefits, not only in terms of a career and track record, but also in terms of personal development … we have to make the most of this terrific changing period! I have kept strong links with my alma mater UTC for over 20 years now. My wife is also a UTC graduate and I have good contacts with my former university comrades … indeed many are good close friends. When I began my engineering training, I knew I was going to see new horizons open before me and for this and more I am very grateful to UTC. UTC graduates are easily recognized with their open mind and their capacity to adapt – that is the name of the game!” concludes Sylvain Lemercier.

 

 

Bio-notes
 
1992
Admitted to UTC

1997
Graduated from UTC, majored in Mech. Eng., with the specialties: Industrial Quality and Reliability, Materials and technological Innovation

1997
QA Manager (Production) - Faurecia

1999
QA Manager (for Purchases & Procurement) - PSA

2001
Project manager for indirect procurement of raw material (steel) - PSA

2002
Head of the vehicle parts purchasing team – PSA Peugeot Citroën

2005
Head of the spare parts purchasing team – PSA Peugeot Citroën

2006
Coordination leader for the LV Pole and Synergy in International Purchasing - Group Autodistribution

2011
International Key Account & OEM Business Development Manager – PHILIPS Automotive Lighting

2015
Procurement Manager – ALLIANCE AUTOMOTIVE, France