Interview with Vladimir, Supply Chain Supervisor at Valeo
Once a logistics veteran in search of a new adventure, Vladimir, now a Valeo supply chain supervisor, treats each day as a quest to keep his clients happy, with a changing set of variables and resources. We sat down with him for a virtual cup of coffee to understand more about what’s behind the determination he takes to work every day.
You joined Valeo two and a half years ago. What brought you here?
V. – I had worked in logistics for over 15 years, when I applied for a Supply Chain Supervisor position at Valeo. It wasn’t exactly the same role as what I had done in the past, but I could see that at Valeo I would be able to further develop my technical skills and knowledge in logistics, while building on other professional aspects as well, notably my soft skills. I remember my interview clearly. Everyone was so professional and efficient! It was like watching the gears of a well-oiled machine. When the offer came, I accepted immediately, and I have had no regrets since. I still see myself continuing my career at Valeo, with this exceptional team.
If you were to explain what a supply chain supervisor does to someone who didn’t know much about your field of work, how would you explain it to them? What are your responsibilities?
V. – To put it simply, I serve my customers with the right products, at the proper time and in proper quantities. To do this, I have to be really flexible and think on my feet. It’s a daily operations role that requires someone to be at ease with logistics, but also able to face clients.
I’m one of our site’s earlybirds. When I arrive, I check reports and go through my emails, so I can get myself organized. After that, it’s very operational, with a lot of troubleshooting. I meet with my team, each of them responsible for several production lines, and we coordinate production and requirements to be as efficient as possible given our existing resources and needs.
A supply chain supervisor’s day is never the same, because the orders we get, and the specifics of each order, vary each time.
Can you give us an example of a time when you had to be flexible and adapt?
V. – This year is a series of good examples! At the height of the crisis , our production virtually ground to a halt. After all, many of our customers in the automotive industry had to stop operations themselves. Then when they reopened they required even more quantities than before, demand we weren’t used to pre-pandemic, and we had to manage that and cater to their needs. It is my job to manage that fluctuation in demand and keep all our clients satisfied.
We don’t produce clutch sleeve cylinders – my main product – without an order, but there’s also a certain limit to how much we can produce at any given time. It’s a bit of a puzzle, but the thrill of solving what seems to be impossible is always worth it in the end.
On another note, this adaptability has come in handy being a vegetarian in the Czech Republic. I’m used to finding solutions with limited variables.
What does it take to be a supply chain supervisor?
V. – If seemingly impossible challenges excite you rather than daunt you, being a supply chain supervisor may be in your future! Someone from the supply chain or shipping department, would likely already have an existing logistics background and SAP* experience, which is much better than starting from scratch. People new to the industry can definitely learn as well, though it would take more time to fit into the role. With that said, I think the fulfillment of this job is worth any learning curve. I’m certainly grateful I took this path.
*Systems, Applications and Products in data processing