Christine Lodder

Global Quality Director, Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition

1. Why did you choose a career in quality assurance?

I find that Quality Assurance has a nice complexity to it, due to the continuous changes (eg. new regulations, technology and innovation of product and pack). It has a dynamic interaction with the value chain end-to-end and has a significant organizational aspect. Especially in Infant Nutrition, it’s key to assure food safety.

2. What are the main responsibilities in your role?

I have had regional quality roles with end-to-end responsibility for quality assurance & control E2E Value Chain in Europe and Latin America. My current scope is on global divisional level, with focus on Down Stream Supply Chain and Business Units. My key areas of focus are food safety, compliance and quality for consumers and customers. Additionally I am leading a number of strategic quality programs for Danone Early Life Nutrition.

3. What are your biggest challenges on a daily basis?

- It is important to keep focused on the key priorities and programs to deliver sustainable improvements 
- To stay tuned with my key stakeholders
- To connect effectively with my team, independently of their location.

4. How do you envisage the role of QA developing in the next 5 years?

A Quality Excellence ambition is essential to enable sustainable growth and innovation. In my view, it can only be reached when everyone in the organization contributes to this ambition. For Quality as a technical function, we are strong in standards and analytics. If we apply these skills through story telling, engagement and fun, we can engage and build a strong culture of Food Safety & Quality in the organization. Last but not least, we should be keen to speak the business language, be the guardian on safety and compliance and accurately translate consumer & customers needs into specifications so that factories or co-manufacturers can consistently produce the right quality.

5. How have the expectations of younger consumers changed regarding digitalization?

The young consumers, millenials and GenZ are more demanding and expect to be able to interact with brands at any time and any platform. They expect responsiveness and self service, as they are technically savy and less patient. As quality function we need to engage the organization and anticipate these new expectations. Capabilities and competencies must be developed to enable frictionless shopping experiences for consumers using their mobile devices.

6. Why is it important that traditional companies refocus their energies toward the digital consumer?

E-commerce is the fastest growing retail market in Europe and North America, with double digit growth. The growth of online sales at the current rate will inevitably reduce the market for traditional shops. 2017 has been another significant year in the development of digital commerce and online grocery shopping. If consumers change their shopping behavior, it is key for quality assurance to understand their new needs and to bring the right quality systems into place.