Taking a Dip Into Supply Chain Management
Frank Armetta is global vice president of supply chain with Sabra Dipping Company, a division of PepsiCo.
Responsibilities: Leads procurement, strategic sourcing, manufacturing, warehousing, distribution reports, global engineering, and global quality. Also oversees the Australian and Western Europe businesses.
Experience: Vice president, global manufacturing with Sabra; global manufacturing vice president for PepsiCo Worldwide Flavors in Cork, Ireland; and region vice president of operations with PepsiCo.
Education: B.A., History, 1989, Binghamton University.
We’re transforming Sabra’s supply chain by expanding our plant warehouses so we can ship directly to more of our retail customers. On average, we’ve cut about 500 miles from most loads and lopped one week from the transportation timeline.
On a product with a relatively short shelf life, cutting five to seven days is enormous. Customers get fresher product, and we reduce our handling and shipping costs.
It’s always challenging to invest in expanding a warehouse but we ensured the move would be strategic and offer significant efficiencies. The project has been successful and we have increased direct-to-customer shipments by 30% in recent years. We leveraged SAP and BluJay Logistics’ warehouse management system competencies to make this happen.
We have transformed the business to maximize not only food safety but also every opportunity to improve processes and be consistent daily. Along the way, Sabra has grown to capture and maintain more than 60% of the hummus category.
More the Same Than Different
Within Frito-Lay and PepsiCo, I’ve worked in multiple countries and cultures. My biggest takeaway is this: People are much more the same than they are different. They want to be treated with respect and to be recognized for their hard work. They want somebody to take an interest in what they’re doing. Everybody wants that, whether they are in China, Ireland, or Texas.
When I was a kid, I planned to be a veterinarian, but life has a way of twisting and turning. During college, I got a job cutting grass at a Frito-Lay plant in upstate New York. Even before I graduated, they promoted me into a supervisory position.
After 16 years in New York, I moved to Frito-Lay’s Chicago office as vice president of operations for the heartland region. I was responsible for the company’s largest manufacturing site, and all our warehouses and distribution systems throughout the Midwest.
Then I had an opportunity to move to Ireland with Pepsi Worldwide Flavors as vice president of global manufacturing. I oversaw 13 manufacturing locations in 11 countries.
I’ve never been technical, but I’m intellectually curious. When I was a manager, I was able to run all the manufacturing lines because I had firsthand experience making Doritos, Fritos, and potato chips. That front-line experience gave me a real sense for what we do at all levels of the organization. It showed me how each level impacts the others, and how important they all are. That has helped me through my career.
From Seed to Shelf
I moved to Sabra in 2014. Over the years my role has changed and expanded. Now I oversee the entire supply chain from "seed to shelf," as well as our Australian and Western European businesses.
Prioritizing supply chain initiatives can transform a business, and doing so means working in close collaboration with farmers, co-ops, and other innovative partners. Supply chain work can be more exciting and innovative than it sounds and maintaining close relationships with vendors, suppliers, and strategic partners leads to meaningful progress.
No matter how technically complex a job is, it’s all about people. I’ve had the opportunity to work with many fantastic people across the Frito-Lay organization.
I’ve also helped to develop many people who today are vice presidents and directors. I take a lot of pride in that.
Frank Armetta Answers the Big Questions
1. What activities outside work make you better at your supply chain responsibilities?
Getting on my tractor and cutting grass is like therapy for me. It is a great way to recharge and get ready to attack the world again.
2. What’s the best leadership or supply chain advice you’ve received?
Don’t worry about trimming the shrubs when your roof is leaking. In other words, before you work on the sexy, fancy things, you’ve got to make sure the basics, such as safety and fill rates, are there.
3. If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 18-year-old self?
Pay closer attention when your family is speaking Italian. I grew up in an Italian neighborhood where everybody spoke Italian, and I never learned the language.