Sylvie Noel: Emerging as an Epitome for Women in Procurement

Sylvie Noel

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One of the vital operational elements of an organization is Procurement. While procurement is seldom recognized for its importance within any organization, it is known to provide good results for vendors as well as customers. This results in leaders working in the procurement sector, to go unnoticed or unrecognized for their work and contribution to the organization.

As the Chief Procurement Officer of Covéa, Sylvie Noel believes that one needs a very tough mentality and strong character to face that harsh truth. She further advises that those who want to work in the field of procurement should not go into it looking for recognition. Despite several harsh reality checks, Sylvie has earned enormous recognition for her immense contribution to the organization. At Covéa, she is recognized for propelling the company towards growth and success and nurturing its organizational values for a greater cause.

An Impactful Inception

Covéa was created in 1999. Around the first half of the 20th century, Covéa was conceived of three strong brands that are widely recognized by customers, including a sound culture of client-centricity, prudence and long-term horizon. Although the company was founded with three main companies in 1999, the much older company is MMA—which was created in 1828. From the birth of Assurances Mutuelles de France in 1819 to the signing of the Statut Commun in 2017, the Covéa ’s history spans two centuries. Over the second half of the 20th century, the three mutual widespread in the French market—conquering firm position with an acute network over the whole territory. Each of them developed smoothly abroad, creating and/or buying international subsidiaries.

In 2003, two of the three mutual (MAAF and MMA) gathered their strengths by creating Covéa SGAM. The first SGAM created in France introduced solidarity links and a common strategy. In 2012, the creation of Covéa Cooperations sealed the merger of their financial power and operating capabilities. In 2017, the group unified the working status of all its employees, through the signing of Statut Commun agreements.

Immense Input to Offering Expertise

Covéa strives to input every effort to make its offers and expertise accessible to as many people as possible. The company is on its mission to provide the best insurance experience to its clients as well as customers. Moreover, it is attentive to society and its advances in order to develop tools to facilitate the daily lives of individuals, while enabling them to benefit from the offers and services at favorable rates all year around. Covéa also provides a plethora of accessible offers and expertise. To date, the company has made nearly 2500 points of sale throughout France using simple and useful cover and services over responsive and networking platforms.

Commitment to Core Values

In keeping with its mutualist values, Covéa commits to itself everyday with and for its members.

Spread throughout France, the company’s employees accompany its policyholders at every stage of their lives and projects. Its members are mobilized for the people who are always at the heart of the company’s actions and concerns. In addition, they embody and put into action the following values that are conveyed by the entire group, namely—human commitment, proximity, solidarity, responsibility, and the search for progress.

Over the past few years, Covéa Insurance has built an excellent reputation for its customer service and products. Today, the company holds a number of awards. These include Personal Lines Claims Excellence of the Year 2019 (Insurance Times Claims Excellence Awards); and Best Use of Customer Service Technology 2019 (Modern Insurance Customer Service Excellence Awards) among others. Moreover, with immense contributions by Sylvie, the company is currently working with teams of specialized and trained professionals.

Gaining Wider View on Necessities

As the CPO of Covéa, Sylvie is entrusted with various vital duties and responsibilities within the company. Besides being at the helm, she also remarks herself as a ‘builder’. Moreover, she is immensely involved in leading people and convincing them to share common goals. Utilizing her double competency, commercial and CPO, Sylvie gains a wilder view on what might be necessary for a business unit. “I am mostly in procurement but of course with the direct link with the supply chain,” states Sylvie.  As the leader, Sylvie undertook the following responsibilities:

  • Completely changing the purchasing process, including new IT System, on a large spectrum.
  • Changing management purchasing behavior of managers.
  • Implementing new procedures and compliance.
  • Directing report to President of Covéa purchasing.
  • Coordinating with senior and functions managers.
  • Assessing existing functions at a very detailed level.

Sylvie also spearheads and manages the team of Covéa. Her team is based in 6 different subsidiaries. Comprising of almost 60 members, she expresses gratitude for being fully digitalized and to be able to share constantly with all the team members. Speaking of challenges, she remarks that she does not have much choice as to face these challenges. “On top of everything, I love these challenges,” quotes Sylvie.

Transitioning through Challenges

The COVID-19 pandemic induced several challenges against the functioning of numerous industries. However, the ascend of digitalization has helped several industries steer through the obstacles and emerged to the surface with success. During such instances of crisis, Covéa has been keenly focused on keeping supply chain with the best quality level. According to Sylvie, “The most important thing is to make sure that we could fill the BU request and to secure the supplies relations, to have 360 degrees view.”

Analyzing Present and Optimizing Future

According to Sylvie, supply chain industries have considerably moved into a key function over the years. Procurement is in link with the supply chain; however, the significant changes are mostly an improvement or even more, that are caused due to digitalization.

With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rampant transition to digitalization, numerous trends have emerged with promising potentials and the ability to transform the face of the industry. Speaking of the emergence of such latest trends, Sylvie remarks that supply chain and procurement are going to work even more tightly. With the advent of such trends that has the potential to shape and influence the industry, she further adds that the team of Covéa will keep on digitalizing to optimize.

Currently, Covea’s procurement solution manages the needs of over numerous users—with access to over thousands of suppliers on robust as well as fully digitized platform. Additionally, Sylvie can also easily upgrade the access level of anyone on her team.


Image of Quote by Sylvie Noel

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