Leonel Leal, Founder of Leonel Leal Consulting, is a highly experienced and well-respected leader in the field of Supply Chain Management. Leonel has 20 years combined experience leading various functions within a complex integrated supply chain. He is skilled in global sourcing, strategy creation and implementation, supplier contract negotiation and relationship management. Leonel has spent a decade of his professional experience leading teams, including Material Planners, Commodity Managers and Project Managers.
Leonel’s experience includes holding the position of Sr. Manager with NCR Corporation, the world’s enterprise technology leader for restaurants, retailers and banks. NCR is the number one Global Point of Sale (POS) software provider for retailers and hospitality, and the number one provider of multi-vendor ATM software. Prior to NCR, Leonel spent 12 years with Honeywell Aerospace where his career progressed from Project Manager to Director of Materials.
His years of invaluable expertise and knowledge have allowed Leonel to branch out on his own into offering consulting services with Leonel Leal Consultants. With the company, Leonel can assist businesses that may need help integrating their supply chain management (SCM) from multiple systems to one centralized system. Using a centralized system for a company’s logistics and transportation activities to facilitate collaboration across the organization will inevitably improve efficiency and save on costs. After the systems are integrated, Leonel Leal Consultants also provides ongoing customer support to ensure the company’s SCM will continue running smoothly.
Leonel attended DeVry University in Phoenix, Arizona, where he obtained his Bachelor of Science, Business Administration. He then went on to Arizona State University where he received his Master of Business Administration (MBA). He is a certified supply chain profession with the Association for Supply Chain Management, and also a certified Six Sigma Green Belt lean professional.
Leonel and his two children reside in Casa Grande, Arizona. In his spare time, he enjoys staying active in activities like hiking and golfing. He also loves doing home projects. Leonel is currently working on rebuilding a Polaris off-road vehicle. Additionally, Leonel is very conscientious of the example he sets for his children, and one of the efforts he is passionate about is his philanthropic pursuits. Leonel supports his community in various ways, including Compassion International, which is a child sponsorship and Christian humanitarian aid organization that aims to positively impact long term development of children living in poverty around the globe. Additionally, Leonel volunteers with Food Distribution at local food banks to reach as many as possible needing support to receive their next meal.
Whether he is helping businesses streamline their efficiency, supporting great causes that he cares deeply about, or simply being a supportive and loving father, Leonel Leal does everything with integrity and purpose. He has been an integral to his community for the many years that he has lived there and continues to seek new ways to enrich it each day.
How did you get started in your profession?
As a young adult, while pursuing my undergraduate degree, I worked for Avnet Inc., a semiconductor distribution company. Avnet Inc. provided value to its customers by delivering technology quickly and efficiently. During my time with Avnet, I developed a strong interest in Supply Chain Management. That interest influenced my career decisions. After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I continued working in the semiconductor distribution industry as a Product Manager. Shortly after, I transferred my semiconductor and supply chain knowledge to Honeywell where my career in Supply Chain Management excelled. I enjoy working in Supply Chain as it demands creativity, ability to effectively use data to make decisions, and strategic thinking in order to implement efficient operations, processes and effective problem-solving strategies.
How do you make money?
As a Consultant, I charge a fee for the services I provide. The cost is unique to each company depending on the size, the requirements of the job, and other factors. So, I negotiate everything upfront with each new business.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
Leonel Leal Consultants is still within its first year of operations so I cannot speak to profitability just yet. I can say, though, that I am doing all I can to keep overhead low in order to increase my chances of seeing a profitable year as soon as possible. I will admit, that covid has helped in some regard because I have been able to conduct many meetings over zoom instead of travelling. I have also decided to work out of a home office for the time being. These things have both saved a substantial amount of money and decreased overhead costs so it will be very interesting to see where my first year closes in terms of profit margins.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Having decided to make the switch from the semiconductor distribution industry to Supply Chain Management helped to minimize any doubts because this was a pursuit of mine that stemmed from passion. Doing something you enjoy is very motivating and will certainly keep you going in tougher times. I would say that if someone is looking to make a change and may be afraid of having doubts, be sure to pick a career or industry that excites you. One thing I also like to tell my children is to be more motivated by a job description than the job’s salary. Loving what you do will keep you motivated for far longer than loving the amount you make.
How did you get your first customer?
I believe my first consulting client was a referral from someone I had met in a business networking group.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
Making short videos that explain what your company is about, what services you offer, and most importantly, why you are passionate about what you are doing. You can post the videos on your favorite platform (YouTube, Facebook business page, Instagram, even tiktok). Having a social media presence is not only a must for a modern-day business, but then utilizing that platform in ways such as this is going to help potential clients to connect with you and then choose to go into business with you over anyone else.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
I am a planner. I have many goals and ambitions so in order to have a clear path I must have everything laid out in front of me. It can be quite an exhausting process and feel tough at times, but it is always worth it because I know that in the end, I will have a solid plan that will lead me to success.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
Success has many different definitions and means something different to just about everyone. For me, achieving success requires a strong belief in myself and knowing I have the ability to achieve my personal and professional goals. I am very goal oriented, so therefore believe it’s important to remain aware of my thoughts and actions to ensure that I stay focused on progressing towards my goals. I stay positive and optimistic during challenging times; always looking for the best course of action versus focusing on barriers. Every barrier is an opportunity for growth and remaining positive is key to my success. In addition, I adopt a proactive approach to life and work to ensure I am leading and influencing thus staying ahead of problems. I am prepared and never give up on any project, task or endeavor.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Fortunately, I have enjoyed many satisfying moments throughout my career. I have received multiple promotions, recognized for outstanding leadership qualities and selected for executive training programs. I have travelled to China, Czech Republic, Israel and other places around the globe representing my company in supplier negotiations, process improvements and other critical business activities. However, my most satisfying moments are the opportunities I have had to mentor others both professionally and personally. During my career, I have mentored multiple individuals and there is a tremendous amount of satisfaction when you help someone realize their potential. Providing encouragement, growth opportunities and establishing relationships with these individuals are my proudest moments in business.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
I am excited to see where the next year takes me. I am open for whatever growth may come my way!
What business books have inspired you?
Think Big, Act Small: How America’s Best Performing Companies Keep the Start-up Spirit Alive by Jason Jennings and The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Take more risks! Although I am proud of my accomplishments both professionally and in my personal life, I would advise my younger self to take more risks. As I mentioned, my belief in myself has helped me achieve success but developing confidence took time. The benefits of risk taking are numerous and I believe I could have learned more things, had more positive experiences and ultimately had more opportunities in life by taking more calculated risks. Building confidence, developing new skills and developing resilience are benefits of risk taking. I learned the skill of intelligent risk taking later in life but believe this is good advice for anyone who is just starting their career.