How to Find Your Next Superstar Supply Chain Director in 31 Days or Less and Avoid Bottlenecks

LS International

Over 40 Clients and Counting…

Tom Tailor - Met next Global Head of Logistics 15 Days

“LS International was very quick and efficient through the talent search process, it was clear very early they are FMCG industry experts and their combination of global and local insight was very useful.”

-Liam Devoy, COO at Tom Tailor

Tom Tailor is a global key player in the fashion industry which got in touch with us to find their Global Head of Logistics, a newly created position reporting directly into the VP Global Supply Chain. At the time, Tom Tailor was looking for a disruptive talent, who could redesign and reframe the logistics set up at the company. With a strong focus on 3PL management, outbound transportation and warehouse distribution, the individual who would take the role would have to be a in-depth, hard-won wisdom expert in the field, but also someone who had the necessary cutting-edge innovative and transformational skills to able to take on the big challenge of reinventing how Tom Tailor’ distribution set up.

With this perspective of developing a highly impactful position across all levels and markets, the inhouse Human Resources team needed support to understand the state of the market in regards to this type of talent and how that landscape could fit into their own internal structure. 

We jumped right in and in a matter of 15 short days we presented the candidate which would end up taking on the challenge.

State 1:  Looking to redesign and reframe the logistics set up at the company

State 2: Met top-noche candidates

Time Frame: 15 Days

Zalando - Met Director of Supplier Operations in 7 Days

Zalando is one of the biggest fashion digital retailers in Europe. They got in touch with us in order to help them find their next Director of Supplier Operations who would report directly into the VP of Retail Operations. Zalando was on a very steep growth trajectory with their online sales and they needed a one of a kind visionary leader to optimize their inbound logistics flow in line with their 2030 company strategy. This position was particularly challenging as the individual would have to work very closely with existing suppliers to improve delivery performance as well as helping them bring product quality and safety to the next level. 

Therefore, Zalando not only needed a results-driven, flawless performance supply chain expert, but also an enticing communicator, particularly gifted at building trusting relationships.

We went to the market and we were able to share their next Director of Supplier Operations within 7 days. Of course, these individuals still needed to meet various other stakeholders, but after this process, offers were accepted 30 days later.

State 1: Need to optimize inbound logistics network in line with 2030 vision

State 2: Met top female talent in 7 days

Time Frame: 7 days

Puma - Met their Global Trade Compliance Manager in 31 Days

“At Puma we are highly invested in maintaining and increasing our double-digit growth and  doubling the size of the business in 5-6 years. LS International was a valuable partner when bringing in the right talent to make this happen”

– Morten Wigh Krogh, Global Director Logistics

Puma got in touch with us to find their next Global Trade Compliance Manager  reporting into the Global Director of Logistics. As one of the industry leaders, Puma needed a high potential, passionate expert who could represent them across already established markets but also someone who could understand and penetrate new market entry barriers. This individual had to face the challenge of educating the whole sourcing organization, creating best practices and getting the right products into new markets inside and outside the European Union. With a proactive risk management approach, the Global Trade Compliance Manager had to deliver a clear and crisp message across all levels and simplify complex terms across multiple disciplines: 3PLs, Intelligence, Lobbying and Customs.

Puma had searched for the role for months, until they reached out to us. We were able to quickly assess the situation and understand which type of talent was desired based on the brief given. We went to the market with the aim to find this type of talent, however because of internal priorities and timelines, the leadership team at Puma requested to have the initial profiles sent later, 20 days into the search, rather than the usual 7 days.

After conducting this initial search, we challenged Puma’s initial assumptions on the conditions of the market and the talent available. Taking into account the global scope and complexity of the position, we realized their idea of the type of talent desired, was slightly inaccurate. The focus was on a very senior, experienced profile rather than on a more high potential, international background, which was a better fit for the needs of the position itself.

Puma agreed on our diagnosis, so we proceeded to shift the target of the search. We went to the market again and we were able to share their next Global Trade Compliance Manager 18 days later – an overall timeline of 38 days since the start date. This is clearly a longer process than our usual rates, but due to the complexity of the role as well as the changing brief, this was extremely quick and the client appreciated the flexible and agile performance.

State 1:  Penetrate new market entry barriers

State 2: Met a top performing candidate

Time Frame: 38 Days

Who is this for?

You should read on if you are a Supply Chain VP of an FMCG company and:

  • You are aiming to transform supply chain processes and don’t have the cutting-edge talent to move things forward. 

  • You hate inefficiency and slow roll-outs, which compromise your strategic plan.

  • You did not have an effective contingency plan for Covid-19 and you have missed a tremendous opportunity to get ahead of your competitors.

  • You want to build a legacy as a supply planning pioneer, known for working with the best talent in the industry.

  • You suspect that it doesn’t take 4 months to find the right talent for your team.

Our Background and Grounding Story

Before we get into the steps and how-tos, here is a quick background on LS International for credibility reasons. 

For what it matters, we were founded in 2015. Our team has saved our clients millions of Euros by speeding up their executive talent acquisition process for sales, marketing and general management positions. We have worked with Danone, Carlsberg, and Puma, just to name a few, and we are endorsed by Patricia Corsi the Chief Marketing Officer of Bayer Consumer Health, who said:

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Lauren Stiebing and for the past 8 years, I have been identifying top talent and making more placements with the highest retention rate than anyone else in the firms which I have worked for. 

After working at an executive search firm for over two years, I realized that there must be more to executive search. It is supposed to be about people: finding the right match between job, skills, passions and that right company for each individual’s success, but it was more about making money and ticking boxes. Most executive search consultants were not thinking about long term client and candidate success, but about making quick money and moving on.


I tried to look for executive search companies that offered a better service to candidates and clients, but I couldn’t find one with the professionalism and core values which I could align with. All the firms which I spoke to seemed to have the same short term mentality…

After being discouraged by what I found out, I decided to take matters into my own hands and create LS International.

My strategy worked so well that I started helping the biggest names in the FMCG industry by finding the right talent in the functions of sales, marketing, and general management. Nowadays with a 92.3% success rate and a 92.8% retention rate of LS International placed candidates, we can say that our approach to executive search is helping top FMCG companies by driving growth, while at the same time saving them millions of dollars in recruitment spend. But, even more importantly, we have helped them achieve their business goals.

This “new way” challenges conventional executive search wisdom because the “old way” is not effective in the current business environment. The pandemic has only helped reinforce the value of the “new way” we advocate. This can also be used for the successful recruitment of other functional profiles as well.

Step 1: Use a Numbers-Driven Approach to Come Up With a Strategy

Instead of thinking about getting external help or assigning a fully dedicated talent acquisition manager after too much time has been wasted, you should have a way to analyse the opportunity cost of a hire and then decide on the hiring strategy.

OLD WAY - Reactive approach

Most companies have a reactive approach when it comes down to allocating resources to hire an executive role. Most of the times, they allocate extra resources to a search once the role has been open for a long time. 

NEW WAY - Numbers driven approach

Calculate the return on investment that a succesful hiring will bring  your company before you start the process. The higher the ROI the biggest the opportunity cost of not having this person.    

  • Key variables:

    • Salary of the role

    • Salary of the Hiring Manager

    • Outcome value to salary

    • Time to fill the role

The longer it takes you to find the right candidate, the higher the opportunity cost. Timing is always a crucial factor in how you will approach the market for your external talent.

Yes, we use an ROI calculator which incorporates a probabilistic method to calculate the return on investment that hiring this role will bring to the organization, and we compare it with the time that it takes for an executive search firm to complete the process.

We identify the speed breakeven point as the amount of days in which the opportunity cost of not hiring the right candidate equals the extra amount that a company needs to pay for hiring an executive search firm.

Step 2: Use Outbound Search Instead of Inbound

Instead of sitting down and creating a job description with HR, and publishing it on job boards, one can go directly to the market and approach those individuals that are leading their function within the FMCG and retail industry

OLD WAY - Inbound Search

Using job boards would require the HR team to spend days or weeks to filter profiles, which results in slow execution and time-to-hire. The main reason for this is that usually the best candidates are not actively looking for new opportunities, since they are too busy leading their team, overachieving their targets. Even if they do see the post, they have a very attractive career development plan in place and most cases are that they would not apply.

NEW WAY - Outbound Search

Targeting candidates at competitor companies will mean that you will be able to outperform them faster than if you hired average talent, which are usually the ones applying for jobs.

So, forget about posting jobs and start approaching candidates directly, this will result in better quality hires, lower time-to-hire, and better short-mid and long term results. 

This is quite challenging. Most people look into hiring support so that they can use their time to devote to what they are good at, instead of starting to build a global network from scratch. Also, you can talk to HR so they can specialize a few recruiters in that functional area of expertise.

As long as you use a multichannel approach, we believe you will get the right level of responses. We have a 90% response rate of candidates and our experience tells us that there is always a way to contact candidates as long as you use the right approach.

This will be discovered in the interview process, this is why it is very important to make sure you have the best individuals conducting these candidate interviews. Without the best individuals approaching them, they will not be able to explain why your opportunity is a better offer than their current career plan.

An executive search firm can, but you must check for their off-limits agreements first.

Let us help you with your outbound strategy

Get in contact with us to know more about the different ways to implement an outbound search strategy

Step 3: Have Best Talent as the First Touch Point

OLD WAY - Average and Entry Level Employees

Old way is to have average employees as the face of the company, but in that way, you attract average candidates. If candidates do not feel excited and inspired in the first linked in message, email, or phone call, they will not want to learn more.

NEW WAY - Professional and Experienced

Engagement takes smart, capable, high potentials. Hiring managers will need to organize to invest the time to educate these individuals on the business, market trends, business awards/achievements, etc...

Step 4: Execute a Niche-Specific Hiring Strategy

Instead of assigning the internal team or a generalist executive search firm, you should use a niche-specific hiring strategy implemented by someone with a good enough network in the industry and function. Lack of industry knowledge leads to low-quality profiles that end up wasting your time during interviews and lead to longer fill times. 

OLD WAY - Generalist Recruiter

Generalist recruitment teams work well for entry-level and middle management roles. However, for this type of hard to find roles, lack of industry knowledge results in poor quality hiring and longer time to fill in the role. Generalist have a hard time engaging with these individuals and it is very complicated for them to identify the best talent.

NEW WAY - Niche Specific Recruiter

Searching for candidates within a specific niche leads to compounding benefits. Over time, your company’s reputation for excellence (say, in E-Commerce) grows because you have the best people. As you look to hire more people with the relevant skills, referrals grow as does your ability to attract better candidates in a shorter amount of time.

Most of our candidates come from referrals. Over the years we have built a network of FMCG individuals that can help us find the right candidate (our ‘source’). As we mentioned before 86% of hiring comes from referrals and targeted direct approach hiring. 

In this chart we can see a few of our placements and the way we found the final candidate:

As we can see in these 8 examples, 6 out of 8 were referred to us by someone in our network.

No, it actually saves you money because niche specific firms will find you the right talent more quickly. This can save you thousands of Euros, depending on the job specifics and your ability to brief the firm correctly.

Not exactly, but you need to have enough great consultants who are able to build credibility with individuals who will give them referrals. This is, of course, an ongoing process, but if you have enough good people, you will be able to map the market. Just as importantly, you need to have a secure database which allows for quick and easy search and retrieval based on different criteria. This data is robust.

Let us help you with your Niche-Specific hiring strategy

Get in contact with us to know more about the compounding benefits of implemeting a niche-specific hiring strategy

Step 5: Do a Global Search Instead of a Local Search

For core roles such as a Supply Chain Director, it is important to map out the best talent globally. Do not fixate on a specific market or region. As we see, borders do not mean as much as they used to for Supply Chain as global processes and decentralization of the end-to-end structure are key. Therefore, why would you knowingly conduct a search that only looks for candidates in a certain geography? 

OLD WAY - Local Search

Focusing on location and not skills or industry experience may result in the search excluding qualified candidates from other locations who are willing to relocate for the right opportunity.

NEW WAY - Global Search

In order to find better quality candidates, the search process should look at a global pool of candidates and then narrow the search based on experience, fit, etc...

With the right technology, connections, and strategy, we have been able to remotely find top level executives in all the locations you can see in the map.

66% of candidates placed by LS International moved at least 248 Km away from their previous job location for a new role. 

Evidence:  We recently conducted a search for a VP Sales in Russia, without any previous experience in the Russian market. It took us just 30 days to get the hiring manager to meet the candidate they decided to hire. 

The world is much smaller now, than it was before. Virtual working in the aftermath of the Covid19 pandemic has made it even more so. With the right people, processes, and technology, it is possible to achieve even better results, (does not apply to all functions) than with people on the ground in a given country.

Given our track record and in-house expertise in the FMCG industry, we are very confident that the possibility of such a situation is very small. However, to limit the risk for our clients, we can include a money back warranty on our service if you are not satisfied with the candidates we present.

What to do with this information?

1. Carry out the search yourself

In order to do this you need to be sure that you have:

    • Industry Knowledge
    • Functional Knowledge 
    • Knowledge of Trends 
    • Network
    • Technology (database and communication tools) 
    • Interviewing Experience
    • Time

***If this option does not work in the first two weeks we recommend to not pursue because the opportunity cost of this option is extremely high

2. Request internal recruitment run the search

Be sure your internal team applies that steps we explained to you. Take into account the next points:

    • Time: Minimum cost of 30% base salary
    • Traditionally access only 20% of talent pool if job posting 
    • Industry Knowledge
    • Functional Knowledge 
    • Knowledge of Trends 
    • Network
    • Technology (database and communication tools) 
    • Interviewing Experience

***Please take into account the average time it takes them to find candidates to evaluate if this is a good option.

3. Hire LS International to run the search

Work with LS International and be sure you will get top-quality candidates in 1 month or less.

Again.... Who is this for?

One more time, this is for Supply Chain VPs of global FMCG companies looking to build an outstanding team. Passionate about building a long term legacy and be a respected, impactful leader in the organization. Someone who aims to transform the supply chain process with cutting-edge, hard-hitting talent. Especially for those savvy leaders who appreciate that for each day that key roles remain vacant, that is a piece of work that is not getting done which consequently affects the rest of the supply chain, makinging it increasingly difficult to outperform competitors.

Some More Case Studies

Danone - Met Global E-Commerce Director in 22 Days

“I am extremely satisfied with the way you conducted the preparation work, understood the brief, the fact that the people that got in front of me were in line with the brief….. and that you were able to bring the person we needed. I am extremely satisfied.”

– Filippo Della Torre, VP of Global Sales for Specialized Nutrition

Melitta - Met European Head of Category Management in 21 Days

Duracell - Met Retail Sales Director in 5 Days

Javier Hernandez President of Duracell Europe & Asia contacted us about this role while he was the GM of UK and Ireland. 

Carlsberg - Met Head of E-Commerce Europe and Asia in 14 Days

“Truly impressed by LS International as an executive search company…” 

-Luke Sebire, Global Director eCommerce at Carlsberg Group

Coty - Met Head of E-commerce DACH in 18 Days

We were able to find their next Head of E-commerce DACH in 18 Days who performed a fantastic job in growing their e-commerce chanel.

Bayer - Met Head of Field Sales Force in 13 Days

Bayer - Met Head of Net Revenue Management in 33 Days

Work with LS International to find the best talent in the FMCG space

Benefits of Partnering with LS International

  • 95% likelihood of signed offer in under 2 months

  • Save thousands of Euros in opportunity cost

  • Do not waste time meeting irrelevant candidates

  • Hit your targets, get the talent you need

  • Forget about underperformers

  • Get ahead of competitors

LS International ROI Framework

  • Do not make gut decisions on your search strategy  

  • Be active, not reactive and avoid monstrous opportunity costs

LS International Hiring Playbook

  • Benchmark talent globally, not regionally or locally. 

  • Best talents do international assignments and we know how to reach them

  • Leverage technology

Contact us to find the way LS International can help you


Simple, with a close rate of 92.3% and a retention rate of 92.8% of LS International candidates, if  you compare this with firms you have used in the past, you will quickly realize this is far above the average. 

We have a long-term view on executive search, and we have created a network of talented individuals within the FMCG industry, that allows us to execute searches faster and more efficiently than any other firm. We also build long-term relationships with our candidates which result in better candidate response rates.

Personalization is key in today’s world. This means personalization when it comes to our approach to candidates and clients. This is something which the large firms cannot offer, both candidates and clients alike are just a number to them. 

Also, we are specialized in a niche market which allows us to be up to date with every possible top-rated candidate. This means higher retention rates and successful searches for our clients.

For us there is no option of failure, we will address and re-address the issue with you if we see a misalignment in the brief or the current state of the market. We also always include a warranty in our contracts which help prevent this issue happening.

Because we are only specialized in the FMCG industry and we have a very long-term view on headhunting. In big firms, each account is run individually, and many consultants are working in different industries. The principals are industry specific and that is why from a business development perspective they seem niche-specific, but the consultants conducting the actual interviews are not. This allows them to reach a lot of people, but this does not allow them to build long term relationships with candidates that are essential for response rate, retention, and in turn cost reduction. These are some of the reasons why our retention rate and our success rate is higher than our competitors.

We can find better talent because of our active approach to reach candidates and because we are specialized in sales, marketing, and general management functions within the FMCG industry. Internal teams must recruit for every department and every level in the organization which makes them more generalists than specialized in a specific function and level.

If we do not provide you with the candidates you are looking for, we will return your engagement fee and you would be free to contract another firm or search for candidates on your own. There will also be a potential full money back guarantee which we can discuss if you may qualify in the call.

If you find a candidate yourself, you should send them to us. We will include them in the search and make sure they are benchmarked with the other talent so that you only spend time meeting the best 4 candidates.

This only happens 5% of the time for LS International candidates, but if it does happen, we will replace the candidate, free of charge within 30 days.

Our rates depend on the assignment, the market, and the years we have been working with each company and understand their business. We are committed to building new client relationships, so we are flexible with first-time clients.

There is a simple method that can be used to know if you must hire an executive search firm. This method considers the expected outcome value, time to fill in the role, etc… And considers the opportunity cost and the total cost of the search process.

It depends on the assignment, but generally speaking, you will be able to meet candidates in 2 weeks

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