A natural relationship-builder known for his integrity, Robert Cassin has earned the trust of colleagues and stakeholders throughout Ingredion. "This, combined with strong analytical and project management skills, has made him a highly sought-after talent in the company," says nominator Bhart Sarin.
Since joining the food ingredients company in early 2012, Cassin has delivered so much value that in 2014 he was chosen for a special six-month assignment in Shanghai. There, he helped Ingredion's procurement team in China implement best practices and tools developed at the company's headquarters.
"I was focused on procurement, but a huge part of my work was to establish relationships with the leadership team at that site," says Cassin. Those ties continue to pay off. "Now I can serve as a primary resource for anyone who's trying to get something done in China."
Back in Illinois, Cassin leads procurement for human resources services, and works on other strategic sourcing projects case-by-case. "Those projects fall into a variety of categories—logistics, chemicals, or packaging," he says. The projects focus mainly on the needs of Ingredion sites in South America and the Asia-Pacific region. "I'm involved in the entire sourcing process—from developing ideas for an opportunity all the way through contracting and execution," he says.
An avid solver of problems and puzzles, Cassin brings that enthusiasm to all the projects he tackles. "The most attractive part of procurement is coming up with solutions, and being able to realize different opportunities," he says.
One of Cassin's biggest successes at Ingredion so far was a project that developed stronger packaging for transporting a key product from manufacturing plant to customer. "Working closely with our suppliers, who are experts in the field, we came across a new opportunity using high-performance extensible paper rather than natural kraft paper," he says. After performing extensive tests and some trials, the team—which Cassin led—decided to create packaging based on this material.
That choice produced several benefits. "We developed a solution that uses less transportation, requires less warehouse space for storage, and is more sustainable—using 33 percent less paper," Cassin says. The new packaging reduced Ingredion's impact on the environment while also saving money. "The project was so successful, it was a finalist for our internal CEO Awards program," Sarin adds.
"If you get the chance to work globally and to travel abroad, take it," Cassin says. "It's an incredible experience to see different cultures and learn how the business operates in other areas of the world. You'll expand your network as well."
And definitely consider a career in supply chain. "If you're passionate about learning and growing, gaining new experiences and skills that you can call upon in the future, this work offers an unbelievable opportunity," he says.
HOMETOWN: Chicago, Illinois
ALMA MATER: Purdue University
CURRENT POSITION: Specialist, Global Procurement, Ingredion, Westchester, Illinois
NOMINATED BY: Bhart Sarin, Global Procurement, Business Services Team, Ingredion
Yes. My role allows me to deliver savings that help drive profits for my organization.
Yes, my profession has given me the opportunity to live and work all over the world. I find my work extremely rewarding.