Wednesday, January 01, 2020
Since joining Mondelēz International in July 2003, she’s continuously taken on new challenges and developed both personally and professionally. Here she tells us her story.
A Global Team Means a Global Approach
I’m based in Warsaw, Poland and I manage a team of three people. Two are based in Germany and the other is in Egypt. Together, we set out a global strategy for buying packaging equipment. I’m responsible for primary equipment, while my colleagues look after secondary and tertiary equipment.
We don’t buy equipment ourselves. We set the strategy, and then our colleagues around the world put the strategy into action whenever they make purchases.
We work on a cross-category team, so that means liaising with people in Chocolate, Biscuits, Candy and Gum. It also means lots of travel. Global CAPEX team members go to Japan, China, Latin America and the US on a regular basis. And even when I’m not traveling, I’m still interacting with project leads and teams in other countries via conference calls. That way, we always stay connected.
Putting Strategies in Place
It all starts with thorough analytics. We analyze our needs as a business. We analyze the market. We analyze buyers within the industry. We analyze suppliers and, based on the evaluation of the business needs, technical criteria & commercial conditions, draw up a shortlist. We negotiate the standard prices of the machinery and the discounts aiming to get the best technology at the best price. All while working closely with our engineering teams so that we can standardize and optimize our specifications.
How Innovation Happens
We never innovate for the sake of innovation. We do it because of a business need. An engineer on one of our category teams, for instance, might suggest a different way of doing things. In which case I’ll get in touch with our suppliers and see if they have a relevant solution. Or maybe I’ll hear of a new development in the industry. One that I think can benefit the business. And when that happens, I’ll reach out to our suppliers and see if there’s a way in which we can embed this technology into our manufacturing processes. If it’s possible, and it meets our budget expectations, we’ll make it happen.
13 Years of Non-Stop Progression
I joined Mondelēz in July 2003 when we were still known as Kraft Foods. And even though I’m in Procurement now, I originally started off in Finance. I worked in financial analytics and financial controlling roles for several years, and was ultimately given the chance to head up Coffee Category financial controlling for all of our Central European countries, including the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Baltics.
After going on maternity leave for the better part of a year, I decided to make a switch and moved into Procurement when I came back. It was quite a change for me. In Finance, I mainly interacted with data tables. But in Procurement, it was all about the people. So the move exposed me to a different kind of environment.
I became a Procurement manager, looking after a team of 35 people located across eight manufacturing plants: seven in Poland and another in Lithuania. After leading the team through a major organizational transformation, my role disappeared and I got another project-based role in the Chocolate category. This project was very exciting as I learned a lot about the peculiarities of the chocolate production at MDLZ, as well as different Research, Development, Quality & Innovation (RDQI) standards and recipe optimization. I also was able to work as part of a cross-category team, with partners from RDQI, Manufacturing and Marketing across the two businesses.
I then stepped into a project management role for a while before taking a second maternity break, and returned to procurement when I came back. Looking at my career with Mondelēz International now, it feels like it’s been 13 years of non-stop growth, both personally and professionally.
What I Love About My Role
I think the main thing is how dynamic my role is. I’m never bored. I go to lots of events and meetings and I interact with lots of people. Also, as with every other role I’ve had at Mondelēz International, I’m learning all the time. I’m constantly being stretched and challenged. And the more challenges I face, the more inspired I become.
How to Succeed in Procurement
The main thing you need to succeed in a role like mine is a passion for people. You really have to love working with people. You need to be a bit of an extrovert. You need to enjoy connecting with others and be open to feedback. Obviously there are lots of other things as well, but I think having these qualities gives you a strong foundation. If you have them, then you can do anything at MDLZ.