A day in the life of a head of supply chain

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Joanne Owens is a Head of Supply Chain. We spoke to her to find out what her job’s really like.






What’s involved in your current role on a day-to-day basis? 

I am currently a Head of Supply Chain for a large global business. Day-to-day, my role involves managing the supply chain department, supporting production and reviewing metrics and performance to plan. 

What skills are required in your role?

In my role you need strong supplier and product knowledge but you also need a thorough understanding of the objectives of the business. You need to be able to create a plan to achieve the objectives and assign resources to that plan. You also need to ensure the plan’s objectives are met and – if it’s not – the ability to recognise when it’s not working and readjust accordingly. This can be through managing the process, the systems and the people.

Why did you choose supply chain as a field to work in?

Work hard, decide what area you want to go in and fully focus on this, be enthusiastic and show willingness. 

I have good skills is sorting supply problems, a good comprehension of what represents and I’m able to work towards this systematically. I also have a strong work ethic and I won’t let any aspect slip, so with many variables to deal with in the supply chain I am best placed for this.

How did you get to where you are (degree, career progression)?

I have a manufacturing and business studies degree and I also set objectives for myself. In the past, people I have reported into that have set high expectations and I then fully focused to achieve these. I have high customer focus and as a result I have always had high recommendations from a number of sources. I work hard and put a lot of effort in. My philosophy is to do a good job and I don’t focus on pay, which actually means I’m recognised for this hard work.

Who would be suited to this role/industry?

Problem solvers, people with a strong work ethic, people who like a wide range of activities to deal with and people who would have a sense of accomplishment from managing a problem and then looking for solutions to ensure it never happens again. 

From your experience, what advice would you give to candidates looking for a career at the top level?

Work hard, decide what area you want to go in and fully focus on this, be enthusiastic and show willingness. You need to have a clear idea about exactly what direction you want your career to take. This way when opportunities arise they are best placed to take them.

Joanne Owens is Head of Supply Chain at Unison.

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