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As part of my personal development and growth journey, I had been looking for new ways to enhance my leadership, commercial acumen and problem solving skills.

Tuesday, July 04, 2023

What does it really take to get the product to market?

Taking a product to market is largely a collaborative and team effort and is probably one of the most fulfilling moments for any Project Commercialization Manager; as you are part of the process from inception of an idea all the way through to product launch in market. Getting a product to market requires great levels of meticulous planning, interrogation and analysis of the idea through feasibility assessments, teamwork and unity of purpose to ensure project objectives are realised. Here at MDLZ we have adopted a robust Innovation Framework and other useful tools that allow us to execute our projects seamlessly and as PCMs, our role is to ensure we partner with different cross-functional teams at different project-stages to ensure we execute and get the product launched timeously in market to realise project objectives.

Tell us about your journey in creating innovations for the Sub-Sahara Africa BU?

Since joining the MDLZ Supply Chain Team in 2021 as a PCM, I have enjoyed my journey in development of innovations for our SSA BU, which has given me exposure to the GCBM snacking world for both the SA and ROA markets. Getting the right products launched in the right markets at the right time and price-point (with the lowest cost possible) is highly essential for the BU to realise profitable and sustainable growth, given the diverse and dynamic markets that fall under the Sub-Sahara Africa region. Applying a continuous learning-mindset in project execution has been essential in helping us adapt and adjust to the dynamic environment of SSA BU, which is evident in our continuous growth as a BU particularly within the innovation space. Working on the first Knowledge Hub has been such a proud moment for the PCM team as it will go a long way to foster BU collaboration and easy access to tools essential to drive innovation and productivity within our growing SSA BU. I am really excited about how this Knowledge Hub will be evolving in the not too distant future.

What’s been your favourite innovation thus far and why?

Taking a biased stance (of course), and as Project Lead for GCBM portfolio, Dentyne Whitening Stick Pack + Dentyne Oral Care bottle were my favourite innovations to date. The 2 innovations are particularly special for me as they gave a direct and intentional approach by our SSA BU to play in the gum healthy-mouth space using the Dentyne Brand. The product was successfully launched in 2022 and has done incredibly well in the market (to date), creating quite a lot of excitement and stimulating growth for the gum-category. Apart from the fact the product is delicious, it is such a practical offering for consumers who continue to become more health conscious and are looking for functional benefits in the products they consume.

Why did you choose to complete a PhD in Commerce?

As part of my personal development and growth journey, I had been looking for new ways to enhance my leadership, commercial acumen and problem solving skills-sets as well as refine my innovation and critical thinking abilities. The PhD program offered by Wits School of Business Sciences created that unique opportunity for me to build on these skill sets. While the program was intense and challenging, I also found the journey to be stimulating and fulfilling as it helped me develop new ways of thinking and mind-application when problem solving which I was able to apply in my current role.

Tell us what your typical day is like?

A typical day for me involves planning, stakeholder management, analysis and identification of risks (based on project updates) as well as scenario planning and preparing mitigation strategies with my Project teams. My set of activities for the day normally get planned for the previous day, then I review my meeting schedules and key deliverables that require focus and ensuring adequate preparation has been made for the engagements. As part of the Project Team, I also need to take part in internal department meetings where we explore new ways of working that could benefit the SSA BU as well as address common challenges that can foster greater cohesion and collaboration with cross-functional teams which can be packaged in the form of training series and workshops with team-members.

After work I definitely make it a point to take some off-screen time and wind-down at the gym or play some tennis at a local Country Club before using the evening to relax with my family.

How do you define a good career?

A good career should be an extension to self- which lies in the personal values, passion/interests, dreams, and aspirations one holds as an individual. A great career offers a great level of balance by providing the right level of enrichment through new experiences and challenges as well as creating new avenues to inspire you and others to bring out their best every day. More importantly, a great career provides opportunities for growth and personal development for individuals which, when combined with everything else (mentioned earlier), leads to a fulfilling career. Lastly having the right support around you to develop and manage your career goes a long way in ensuring that you realise your career goals. Within the MSC department and the broader SSA BU, there is quite a lot of emphasis on people development by LT and people managers which is evident in team movements and internal promotions that help to ensure people meet their career ambitions.

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