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Growing and Transforming RCL FOODS-Ilse helps us do MORE

Transformation Director, Ilse Gravett-Hultzer proves that at the core of RCL FOODS is authentic leadership which is about seeing and doing things differently, displaying judgement, drive and influence. Her mantra, “with resilience and creativity, we can get anything done”, inspires her team to have MORE impact, despite COVID-19 challenges.

Here’s what we learnt in our interview with her:

1. Before we get to know the ‘work’ Ilse, tell us a bit more about the ‘24hr’ Ilse.

I am married to a wonderful man, Mark, and we have an amazing teenage son, Kyle! I love to read – absolutely anything, but particularly popular science, science fiction and fantasy, as well as crime novels.

2. Tell us about your career journey that led you to become the RCL FOODS Transformation Director.

I started my career as a Buying Administrator at Unilever. From there, I moved into Commercial and studied Accounting part-time before returning to the Supply Chain field. Prior to joining Vector Logistics as Supply Chain Director, I ran a food manufacturing business and dairy business. In 2015, I was fortunate to move into the newly created Transformation Director role which focused on growing and transforming the business into a single, integrated RCL FOODS.

3. What does a day in the life of a Transformation Director look like?

The best thing about my role is that no two days are the same!  “Grow and Transform RCL FOODS” includes driving the digital transformation journey, working on major initiatives such as carving out Siqalo Foods from Unilever as well as the opportunity that we have created in the plant-based protein space.  In addition, we partner closely with the business to realise potential, savings and bring change.  Two big initiatives that we are working on is Supreme Integrate, a system-enabled transformation project and Cocktail, focused on releasing more than R140m to the bottom line through a co-ordinated effort from Sourcing, the Supply Chain and the Asset Management teams.  We lead teams, drive change and challenge thinking as well as delivering reliably.

4. What do you enjoy most about your current role?

I enjoy working with many different people and seeing the positive impact of initiatives that we are involved in.

5. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, what challenges have you faced in your role?

Moving into the virtual space has brought blessings and challenges. A blessing is that we are more intentional about connecting with our teams. A challenge has been not running into people in the passage! I did not realise how it connected me into the heartbeat of the business.

6. The FMCG industry is fasted paced and rapidly transforming. What strides has RCL FOODS made to be future-ready? 

We have taken big strides in our journey of digital transformation to become future ready including looking at different types of business models and platforms. One example is “Empty Trips,” the freight sharing platform that Vector Logistics acquired last year positioning us as an industry leader in this area. Plant-based protein is another area that we are looking into; an initiative that we started before the onset of the pandemic. 

7. What has been your proudest moment at RCL FOODS?

There have been many! My top pick must be the seamless take-on of the Siqalo Foods business over a single weekend. A proud moment for me and the team, but also for RCL FOODS.

It is leadership like this that inspires us to continue driving our passion to provide More food to More people, More often enabling us to fulfil our promise of improving people’s access to nourishing food while achieving sustained business growth.