"Shaping the supply chain of the future is incredibly exciting."

Valérie Fabri

Supply Chain Program Manager

Supply Chain Program Manager

When new hires join the company, Valérie Fabri always advises them to “reach out to colleagues and get to know them.” “As soon as people know you, they’ll go out of their way to help you. This sense of collaboration is very typical of Delhaize Belgium, which is part of the global Ahold Delhaize family. Our shared goal is to provide the best service to our stores and our customers, and we really work at this together. That team mentality is unique. I absolutely love it.”    

 

When she was 25, Valérie joined the Delhaize Group. As a civil engineering graduate who had worked at a consultancy firm for nearly three years, she was eager to dive into the world of logistics and supply chain management as a Corporate IT Auditor. And she was especially excited to do so at Delhaize, a brand she predominantly knew from her visits to her grandparents in Belgium when she was younger. “I thought it would be amazing to work for such an established leading brand that has an impact on so many people’s lives.” 

The decision to join the company marked the start of a long, rewarding journey that’s brought her to the present day, which sees her working in the Supply Chain Department. “Over the past 11 years I’ve been given so many opportunities to grow. I’ve done multiple courses, worked on numerous exciting projects and been promoted several times. Internal mobility is strongly encouraged here; it's one of the things I really appreciate about Delhaize. This company truly believes in the people it hires and wants to offer them opportunities in other roles and departments, too. Even if you haven’t yet built experience in a particular field, but have demonstrated the right skills, there’ll be options for you. It’s a testament to the amount of trust that this company places in its talent.” 

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Designing the future 

Over the years, Valérie has worked her way up into the position she holds today: that of Supply Chain Program Manager. “I lead a team of project managers, and together we work on different strategic projects centered around the fundamental question: ‘How do we ensure a future-proof, efficient and effective supply chain for Delhaize?’ Most of our projects have a horizon of 5+ years and touch on how to execute our long-term vision. It’s so exciting to be in the driver’s seat and have the chance to design the future of our company’s supply chain and logistics.” 

Her work involves a lot of thinking and tons of different analyses. Luckily, unraveling highly complex questions and processes is one of her favorite activities. “As a kid, I loved solving puzzles – the more complicated, the better. In my current role, I get to solve puzzles every day. I particularly love how diverse my job is. Every project is different – from opening a new distribution center to implementing the use of data matrix 2D barcodes in our stores or optimizing automated logistics flows – and every phase of a project also brings something new. One day I might be focusing on finances in a very detailed Excel spreadsheet, the next day I might be brainstorming over long-term strategy, and the next I could be in workshops with suppliers all day or coaching my team. The combination of very strategic high-level work and the devilish details ensures my job is never boring.”   

 

Juggling work and home life 

In all honesty, though, no two days in her life are ever the same anyway. As a mother of three children, Valérie’s has a pretty hectic schedule outside of the office, too. “Balancing a demanding, full-time job and a busy family life is my biggest challenge. My kids are nine, six and four years old and it’s not always easy to organize both their lives and my work. Fortunately, Delhaize has always been extremely supportive. Nobody questions my commitment when I only arrive at the office at 9.30am (they know I drop my children off at school before work), nor does anyone mind if I have to take impromptu leave when I need to be with one of my kids, or if my calls are interrupted by a high-pitched little voice. They know I will make up for it. Again, it’s about trusting your employees and giving them flexibility, which is exactly what this company does.” 

As a manager, Valérie places that same amount of trust in her own team. “I want my team to keep me up to date on how projects are evolving, but I didn’t hire them to spend all my time looking over their shoulders. I block time slots in my agenda for them to come to me if they need advice or help. This sort of approach is adopted by most leaders within this company; micromanaging just isn’t something we do.”  

Givers and takers of energy 

While some people struggle to switch off from work when they get home, that part comes relatively easy to Valérie. “As soon as I walk through the door or leave my home-office desk, my kids automatically take my mind off work. They want to tell me all about their days and demand all of my attention. I wouldn’t want it any other way, though. Although they use up a lot of my energy, my kids are also my main source thereof. If it’s necessary, I’ll open my laptop again when they’ve gone to bed. Weekends are reserved for the family and are generally filled with the kids’ sports activities or family outings. We love being in nature, walking or cycling, and spending time with friends and family. They grow up so fast, I want to make sure I enjoy it as much as possible.” 

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Name: Valérie Fabri (1985) 

Started working at Delhaize Belgium: August 2011  

Studied: MA Civil Engineering, orientation: biomechanics (Université Libre de Bruxelles, 2008) 

Living with: My partner, Nicolas, and our three children, Emilie (9), Jules (6) and Valentine (4) 

Hobbies: Going to the gym and doing outdoor activities with the family (hiking, cycling and skiing) 

Wake me up in the middle of the night for: My kids have woken me up so often at night until recently. After nearly 10 years of interrupted nights, please don’t wake me up unless it’s really, really necessary :)  

Favorite holiday destination: A sunny Mediterranean beach (best enjoyed in good company) 

Life-changing event: The birth of my children 

Biggest source of inspiration: The adaptability and perpetual resilience of earth and nature 

Best advice I’ve ever received: “You’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to reaching your goals and finding happiness. Don’t expect anyone else to take responsibility for it” 

This is my week

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