Voice of Experience: John McLaughlin, The Gillette Co.

By Mel Duvall Print this article Print

Overseeing global supply-chain issues for Gillette, McLaughlin is supposed to keep up with what's going on in his industry. Whom does he turn to for insight and analysis?

John McLaughlin
The Gillette Co.
Director, Supply Chain Process and Systems
Boston, Mass.
www.gillette.com PDF Download

Manager's Profile: As a manufacturer of the Mach3 razor, Oral-B toothbrush and other brand-name products, The Gillette Co. maintains a global supply chain. McLaughlin joined the company 11 years ago as director of manufacturing distribution systems, having held various CIO and senior executive positions over a 35-year career. He moved into his current position just over two years ago.

What He Does: With close to $9 billion in annual sales, a workforce of 31,500 employees and manufacturing facilities in almost every corner of the globe, McLaughlin must make sure that Gillette's supply chain runs smoothly.

Who Has His Ear: McLaughlin has been using AMR Research for about a decade. He initially subscribed to AMR's market research and product evaluation services, but over the years has developed more of a one-on-one relationship with their key analysts. He says the firm has earned his trust. "We've come to rely on their judgment. They have become an extension of our own expertise."

How He Uses Analysts: There are three primary ways that he uses AMR. First, if Gillette has a specific business need and is looking to purchase a technology product, McLaughlin will ask AMR to scope out vendors and develop a request for proposal (RFP) on the company's behalf. Second, he relies on AMR, and other analyst firms, for their market forecasts and insights. Also, he attends the firm's annual executive conferences to gain market insights and network. "My time is important, and the ability to cram in a lot in a couple of days is pretty significant," he says.

Is It Mission Critical? Absolutely, says McLaughlin. AMR helped the company through its selection process for a corporate enterprise resource planning (ERP) system—a contract that was eventually won by SAP. In addition to cutting through the marketing, AMR helped Gillette get a better handle on how much it should be paying for its deployment, and set up meetings with other customers to gain insights on pitfalls to avoid.

What Could Be Better? McLaughlin says while AMR provided good market research, he needed more in the way of product benchmarking and performance metrics to help him with his purchasing decisions. In response to such concerns, AMR created Benchmark Analytix service this year.

What Does He Pay? Gillette spends about $75,000 a year with AMR, which includes a subscription to an SAP supply chain service. (Gillette also uses Gartner.) McLaughlin does not believe that's expensive, given the value he receives.

This article was originally published on 2002-12-01
Contributing Editor
Mel Duvall is a veteran business and technology journalist, having written for a variety of daily newspapers and magazines for 17 years. Most recently he was the Business Commerce Editor for Interactive Week, and previously served as a senior business writer for The Financial Post.

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