I've just graduated. What now?
1️⃣To begin, tell us about your educational background. What did you study, both before and at KEDGE?
Loic: I first became a Kedger in 2009 when I started the Master in Management programme on the KEDGE’s Talence campus. In 2010, I enrolled in the MAI programme (MSc International Purchasing & Innovation Management), this time at KEDGE’s Boulogne-Billancourt location. The experience was incredibly enriching in many ways, in particular because of the environment and facilities benefiting a top school and discovering new cities and cultures.
Romain: I’m originally from the region. I got a BAC ES (high school diploma with a focus on economics and social sciences) and then attended KEDGE in Marseille from 2009 to 2012, earning a Bachelor of Education. Then I stayed on at KEDGE Marseille to get a Specialised Master in Financial and Organisational Management. The fact that I went directly from high school to a business school was a very enriching and valuable experience - I got professional teaching with an external instructor, a different atmosphere, an international culture, etc.
2️⃣ Tell us what you did after your studies were finished. What positions have you held? What did you learn in those positions?
Loic: During the 14 months I was taking the MAI programme, I did an apprenticeship at Faurecia's head office in Nanterre as a purchaser in the office supplies and travel categories. It was an opportunity to manage my first purchasing portfolio in total autonomy and to grow in a professional environment. I then went to work in the global purchasing department of Saint-Gobain, whose head office is located in La Défense. My position was "Responsible Purchasing Project Manager", which was specially created to develop and promote the ethical side of the company’s purchasing activities. It was a very good international experience that allowed me to work with all the country purchasing departments to adopt the new directives. I was then hired by Deutsch Post DHL, where I went from being a Category Buyer to Head of Purchasing France, as well as having a key account managerial role with two of the group’s entities (DHL Aviation & DHL Global Forwarding). By working for one of the most international companies there is, I expanded my skill set as a purchaser through working with buyers from all over the world. I also had to work with many different departments, such as HR, IT, operations, and quality, to ensure the requirements of everyone, on up to the company’s CEO, were met. Finally, Romain (a friend and colleague at DHL) and I created our own company Rezofleet, which we’ve been running for three years now. Creating our startup was a completely different experience than what we had done before, as have our fingers in everything, from marketing to invoicing, including people management and relationship management with our partners.
Romain: For my last internship of my master, I went to work for DHL as a Junior Buyer. Before that, I had had very little knowledge about what this job entailed, but I wanted to do a job that had negotiation/commerce aspects to it, but also would have a transversal side to it so that I would interact with many different departments on various categories. That experience lasted nine-months, during which I managed my first purchasing portfolios on small expenses and a national zone. When that internship ended, I went to work for a large SME in Montélimar as a Company Buyer. There I gained an understanding of the purchasing issues in the world of industry, with a larger purchasing scope and global reach. At the beginning of 2016, I returned to the Marseille area to work at DHL as Purchasing Manager for France and managed several areas and a significant annual expenditure (car vehicle fleet, transport, buildings, energy, etc.). That experience allowed me to carry out a very broad scope of actions, with an annual expenditure of more than €120m, on local, national, and international projects.
3️⃣ What are you doing now? What is your situation today? What gave you the idea and the desire to do what you’re doing today?
We are the two co-founders of Rezofleet, which we created three years ago. We’ve known each other since we were very young. Each of us had a strong desire to become entrepreneurs for several years. Since we had similar career backgrounds, it seemed obvious to us to form a company in the purchasing domain. As we had both been purchasing managers in different large companies, as well as in the same company (DHL) for many years, we realised that 99% of the French economy is made up of SMEs; however, it’s the large companies that benefit from major account agreements with very significant price discounts and "prime services". At the time we were working at DHL, a lot of driving schools came for driving lessons. One time, a question popped up in our minds: how do these companies manage their purchases? So started investigating to the point of market research and finally created our startup.
REZOFLEET was born (REZO as a network / FLEET for fleet in English). Our initial aim when launched it was to become THE purchasing centre for driving schools. The fact is that there are nearly 12,000 driving schools in France, 90% of which are independent and make their own purchases. So we set up a catalogue to meets their main needs- namely vehicles, insurance, fuel, and tyres. That activity for driving schools grew between 2018 and 2019, and so this year, 2020, we decided to expand our offer to VSEs / SMEs / ISEs with a complete catalogue and – importantly - a marketplace that includes our suppliers. In fact, we’ve conducted calls for tenders on all the "indirect" purchasing categories in order to reference a supplier and its offers to meet the needs of all companies. Our catalogue gives unparalleled offers in more than 10 major purchasing categories:General services (office supplies, paper, cleaning, food, etc.);
- Computer & telephones (PCs, telephones, printers, etc.);
- Fleet (vehicles, fuel, tyres, repairs, accessories, etc.);
- Building (regulatory control, fire, electricity, gas, etc.);
- Production equipment (tools, panels, etc.);
- Personal equipment (PPE, work clothing, etc.);
- Finance and social (insurance, banking, factoring, training, recruitment, etc.);
- Transport (transport of goods);
- Business travel (flights, hotel, rental car, parking, etc.); and,
- Employee benefits.
In order to professionalise and automate the exchanges between our customers and suppliers, we developed a marketplace solution, in which it is possible to find all our products and services. Just like an Amazon, but for professionals. Our customers can find all our products and services in a single place. Another advantage is that companies will use quality service providers and will be legally protected through the contracts we’ve put in place. In addition, you can create order validation levels according to the amounts. The company will also know the breakdown of its expenses, which it can then use to manage its purchases. For example, it can be able to see that a facility is using too much PPE or cardboard compared to another facility. Finally, a single key account contact is dedicated to Rezofleet at each of our partners, which facilitates the business relationship. Finally, assist with off-catalogue purchasing requests (project/investment purchasing, all sectors combined) with a call for tenders process that we manage alongside our customers from A to Z: from drawing up the specifications all the way through to searching for suppliers, carrying out consultations and negotiations, presenting offers, and signing the contract.
4️⃣What are your development objectives for the future?
Our objective for the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 is to continue to develop our market share on the VSE / SME / ESI targets. More than 300 companies are already in our network and we want to continue to develop it so that companies of every size (from 1 employee to + 1500 employees) can benefit from large account discounts and conditions. We are convinced that, with the thousands of Kedgers in the pipeline to create a startup, or who are already managers of a company, our network has potential customers who will finally be able to optimise their purchases and improve the financial results of their company.
5️⃣How did the education you received at KEDGE Business School help you become who you are today, and what was it about its teachings helped you develop your project?
Loic: I think that there were a lot of innate things that lay dormant in me before I could co-found a company. I was waiting to find the right business sector, the right timing, the right formula, the right partner. I’m convinced that the training I received at KEDGE was the trigger. After all of my various and enriching professional experiences, I felt ready for this challenge, but I believe that part of the initial spark was initiated by the KEDGE environment. At KEDGE, you learn autonomy, initiative, to think "out of the box", to look deep inside yourself to find what fits you, and to not follow a set path. That’s what I really felt during my time at KEDGE.
Romain: The fact that I started going to KEDGE just after leaving high school clearly allowed me to mature and evolve in the professional world. I always wanted to become an entrepreneur, and KEDGE allowed me to acquire the knowledge I needed to do so (through its courses, external interventions, and the way of looking at things). The ability to integrate classes with international internships from year one allowed me to really get to know the business world and to hone in on what I wanted to do and, especially, what I didn't want to do. KEDGE is a real business school that pushes us to surpass ourselves and to integrate much more easily into a professional world. Lastly, KEDGE's network (its Alumni and partners) facilitates professional meetings and lets us develop our own professional network (suppliers, prospects, clients).
6️⃣If you were to give advice to any KEDGE graduate who wants to do something similar, what would it be?
Loic: If you have an idea in mind and you think it's the right one, take your courage, add unfailing determination, and go for it! Becoming an entrepreneur is a big leap into the unknown because there are many uncertainties. But the satisfaction when your "baby" evolves, gets new customers, and/or diversifies into a new activity, is huge! It’ll take patience because nothing is made in a day. Each event needs to be viewed as a new experience to help you grow.
Romain: Many people will tell you that they’ve had ideas for one or more projects, but most haven’t ever really taken any steps to get it off the ground. There's no point in looking for the idea of the century that has never been invented yet. It becomes more and more difficult, and at least one other person in the world will also have thought of it. If you have an idea, researched the subject deeply, and analysed the risks and opportunities, then go for it! Get started! Nothing is more rewarding (and tiring too) than being an entrepreneur. This isn’t the case for everyone, and it’s difficult to find the right person, but I think that starting a project with two people allows you to progress better. You’ll have several skills to add, be able to divide tasks, have a more critical mutual spirit, and provide support to each other.
7️⃣Anything you’d like to add? A message to pass on?
Don't forget that, although it’s important for a company to increase its revenues, it’s just as important for it to reduce its expenses (even more so in these tense economic times). If your company doesn’t have its own purchasing department to deal in depth with all your expenses and has little or no time to deal with its purchases, then please contact us. Don't underestimate your company's expenses. Using a company like ours will save you a lot of time and money because we pool volumes. Your company can benefit from our support, whether you have one employee or more - we currently have a client with more than 1,500 employees. We also carry out audits to demonstrate that our conditions are the same as those of major account companies, in terms of system, service, quality, and cost.