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"There’s no going back to how things were before," says new HP chief supply chain officer Ernest Nicolas.

Christine Horton

August 29, 2022

2 Min Read
Supply chain

HP has a new chief supply chain officer. The hire is part of an ambitious plan to turn its supply chain into a competitive differentiator.

Ernest Nicolas says HP was keen to “realize its potential through supply chain” as a growth generator.

“That in and of itself excited me,” said the former chief supply chain chief at Rockwell Automation. “I am a supply chain practitioner. When I hear about an organization that wants to enhance its supply chain … to become a competitive advantage. I wanted to be part of that.”

Nicolas was speaking to partners at last week’s HP Amplify Executive Forum in Palo Alto, California. He described the last couple of years’ supply chain challenges as “crazy.”

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HP’s Ernest Nicolas

“You’ve got disruption everywhere. It’s been tough,” he said.

However, the exec said even pre-pandemic, there were challenging macroeconomic conditions already driving change.

“A lot of companies want to just get back to how things were. Quite honestly, that’s over,” he said. “Things have changed. To get back to where we were — it’s a great thought, but it’s not going to happen. I want to take a step back and start working across, ‘How do I streamline and drive functional excellence within our organization?’ And when I say functional excellence, that is extending beyond our own supply chain. Beyond our own four walls and leveraging our partners, leveraging their feedback.”

Nicolas said that supply chain resilience is now key, praising HP’s efforts to date.

“What’s been impressive as I’ve joined the organization is there’s not just talk about being resilient. There’s investment that’s already happened. Investment and programs that are driving resiliency across HP.”

Work to Do to Increase Visibility

In terms of visibility, HP has implemented artificial intelligence (AI) to improve predictability in transportation.

“That’s allowing us to be much more predictable from a transportation standpoint, whether it’s air or ocean. The next challenge is to work further upstream, and that’s where we don’t have visibility.”

While Nicolas said investments are underway that will give visibility into HP’s factories, “We’re not there yet. We’re still defining and redefining those capabilities,” he said. “Our first pass at scoping them, we didn’t completely think about those capabilities. We thought about them as single point solutions, but we’re going to drive some further improvement. So, there’s more to come. Then we’re on the right path to drive that increased visibility across the entire supply chain.”

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Christine Horton or connect with her on LinkedIn.


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About the Author(s)

Christine Horton

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Christine Horton writes about all kinds of technology from a business perspective. Specializing in the IT sales channel, she is a former editor and now regular contributor to leading channel and business publications. She has a particular focus on EMEA for Channel Futures.

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