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To Grow Successfully Means to Transform Constantly

Episode 8. Rule 8: Never Stop Evolving. With an industry that’s changing all the time, the only way to grow is to change with it. Dmitriy Geler of BekaertDeslee explains how.

At Propulsion 2022, we caught up with Dmitriy Geler of BekaertDeslee, who serves as their VP of Growth Strategy and Business Transformation. As his title suggests, Geler knows better than most that growth and transformation go hand-in-hand, now more than ever.

Propel CMO Dario Ambrosini hosts Rule #8: Never Stop Evolving, in our ongoing series The Platform Rules, to get a better understanding of Geler’s strategy on how to leverage uncertainty to the company’s advantage. 

Click here to listen to the full episode, or hit play below.

Right off the bat in this week’s conversation, Ambrosini is taken with Geler’s title, which includes both growth and transformation—asking how Geler combines the two different roles. Geler’s take:

“I'm almost more interested now – why would they be different because they're so tied together? I think in order to grow the company, you need to transform within, right? So usually if you find a growth opportunity, such as a new segment or a new customer, or some kind of product development, the company will have to evolve itself.”

Geler’s job is to always be looking for the next opportunity for evolution—both from an external vantage as well as internal.

“I tie in with the commercial team on finding our next new niche. Either how do we reach the same customers, but do more for them? Or how do we find new customers? And then I take that information and go internal and I look at how we enable us to get there quicker.”

Though BekaertDeslee is a leader in the textiles industry, that’s not Geler’s background—which is by design.

“Whenever you're from one industry, you kind of get a blindside, right? And that's dangerous sometimes… I think you need an outside perspective, taking best practices and sharing those ideas, speaking up. And then I take what they like and I double down and I enable it.”

"Win or lose, you will always learn. And once you've learned, you take that and you make the next iteration."

While a diversity of experience can help with execution on the ground, Geler specifically emphasizes the importance of having outside perspectives at a leadership level.

“Going from industry to industry, you can’t just copy one recipe and put it in. We focus on adding leaders that are not from the textiles industry. They’re good leaders within that core competency that are able to integrate analytically, adapt to what they need to do within our organization, but they're not the local textile industry veterans. And that I believe has helped us a lot. “

Leadership at the moment (in every industry) is focused on the future—and facing a rapidly changing consumer landscape. For someone like Geler, this just means there’s more opportunity to adapt and evolve.

“There’s been a legacy problem of long lead times… but the dynamics have changed so much where the consumers are driving the brands which drives us to iterate quicker, to refresh quicker… We need to look at ‘how do we reduce that cycle time so we can get to the market quicker?’ That's been the overwhelming scream from our customers.”

While consumer voices are getting louder and taking on a bigger role in demand, at the same time an increasingly tumultuous global supply chain continues to present challenges.

“The supply chain problems that we've been having, managing that flexibility has been overwhelmingly difficult. The focus is to connect and provide transparency, so our brands as well as everybody within our organization will be trained and understand the deadlines within that project.”

Faced with so many challenges, it’s easy for product companies to be discouraged but the mark of success is in what they do next.

"Win or lose, you will always learn. And once you've learned, you take that and you make the next iteration."

Fortunately, for someone like Geler, a job without challenges isn’t one that he’s interested in.

“Supply chain will always be an issue. But that's why you get into this world of a job in the supply chain, because otherwise it'd be kind of boring, right?”

Click here to listen to the podcast episode. 

Rather watch the full video from Propulsion 2022? Check it out here.

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Digital transformation is all the rage, but there’s no clear definition of its scope and even less practical guidance about how to achieve it. To help manufacturing leaders navigate these uncertain waters, Propel has arrayed a roster of industry luminaries. Dario Ambrosini, Propel CMO, hosts product and other Propel leaders as they put forth a set of key tenets—The Platform Rules—to heed along your journey.

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