We sit down with Procurement Excellence Lead at Antofagasta Minerals, Christophe Le Flech, to discuss the state of procurement in South America, the mining industry, and the work he’s doing to make a difference.
As Procurement Excellence Lead at Antofagasta Minerals, Christophe Le Flech has been passionate about procurement from the beginning; he chose his path and has remained true to it. He specialised in purchasing and supply chain management while studying for his master’s degree in management, inspired by a professor who sparked that interest. His first internships were within an automotive company on the procurement side.
In the automotive industry, in Le Flech’s experience, procurement is a well-respected, highly advanced function with a seat at the table – the perfect environment to learn how procurement should be done. However, in time, he was ready for a new challenge where the function needed far more support.
Procurement Excellence Lead at Antofagasta Minerals, Christophe Le Flech
Le Flech moved to South America for the sake of a position in oil and gas where he could improve the procurement function from the bottom up. He spoke Spanish already and knew that procurement in the region wasn’t as developed as it could be.
While he had less seniority than he did at his previous position in his native France, he quickly got promoted and led his first team at just 27. His first major responsibility as leader was to transform the procurement function – certainly an ambitious feat.
“South America was the best place to start creating a strong procurement function,” according to Le Flech. “Today I am in the mining industry, and with a few notable exceptions, maturity and the adoption of best-in-class procurement processes is very low. In many cases, mining companies – not only in South America, but in the industry in general – are just starting the procurement transformation. We started last year.”