For the last few years, the supply chain industry has witnessed women taking up leadership positions and thriving in their roles. Women have steadily advanced within the logistics and supply chain sector with their passion, talent, and knowledge. Today, many women are playing a significant role in shaping the future of the industry.
One such woman is Shimon Gowda, Manager, Supply Chain Design at Chainalytics and the Founder of Supply Chain Unified, a networking platform for like-minded people and peers who are in the first decade of their career and are exploring what their true ‘mojo’ is.
Let us unveil her journey as a business leader.
An Invaluable Learning Journey
As Shimon looks back and ponders her journey up until now, she sees and realizes how every experience has been invaluable learning and steppingstone. The current situation is also a learning experience and a window of opportunity of what she hopes to achieve, contribute, and give back to society and continue inspiring the way she has been inspired.
She expresses, “A career in supply chain was not by accident for me. As it is rightly said, family is the first school of every individual. Many of our career aspirations are strongly influenced by the envi-ronment in which we are brought up. My father, a doctor and a son of a farmer balanced his pro-fession well and took care of our agricultural land perfectly. As a kid, I would keenly observe the processes involved in running our estate. My initial brush with Supply Chain Process was when I saw how the milk from the cows was stored and diligently transported to the dairy for pasteuriza-tion, where it undergoes various processes before it is sent out to stores for sale. I was always inspired and awed by this mechanical yet very efficient chain of supply. This inspired me to develop a penchant towards Supply chain and the various processes governing them.”
Having a bachelor’s and a master’s degree specialized in Supply chain exposed Shimon to the essentials of supply chain almost 9 years ago. She has come to realize that optimization of the supply chain is a cyclic process. The principle of Lean Six Sigma that states, “there is always scope for improvement and potential to reduce costs”, fuels Shimon’s eternal passion in this field.
Besides, Shimon’s educational background and professional exposure have taught her to have a keen eye for optimization of process, labour, infrastructure, and distribution network including all nodes of supply and demand to increase the three “R’s”: Revenue, ROI and Relationship building.
Like numerous other immigrants who leave behind their hometown and move to a completely different land to see a better future for themselves, Shimon is yet another aspirant who traveled to the United States; first time abroad to pursue her higher education. This was her very first challenge.
Shimon met wonderful new people from different cultures, saw the world from a different perspective, and became more appreciative and grateful for her own culture and upbringing while respecting others and learning every day. She asserts, “Life is not easy being an immigrant on a visa and an aspirant who was particular in having a career of her choice. When you are on a visa, your time and clock is always ticking and there is a constant urge to accept any opportunity that comes your way to stay afloat. I think that was one of the major challenges to me. The zeal and thirst to fight and wait for a career opportunity that you are passionate about. I cannot underplay the impact of a perfect combination of hard work and luck, that has bought me down the path.”
The second challenge for her was being a woman in a man’s world! She puts. “No matter how progressive the times are, I cannot emphasize the number of times I have been the only woman on the table. Having and choosing a career in supply chain also more often means you are inside a warehouse, factory and amongst trucks observing and auditing to perform root cause analysis of issues. It is not always a very glamourous profession. I have been fortunate enough to have worked with wonderful set of colleagues and cultures where gender equality is of the utmost importance and have felt indifferent despite being the only female in the room.”
Thirdly, one of the greatest adversity or challenge Shimon most recently faced was when she had to make a very tough decision to leave the United States, as she did not get ‘lucky’ in the lottery-based work visa. But she believes that borders cannot stop you if one really wants to make an impact. She notes, “I feel more confident now because most companies are now global and the physical presence or location of a person cannot stop you from solving a problem, work in collaboration across na-tions and truly make an impact on what you are passionate about.”
Shimon owes her current success and position to all the mentorship and guidance from some amazing people she has met. She says, “The essence of being in consulting is, every project feels like a new learning phase. There are numerous business nuances that you learn and are constantly awed by.”
Talking about the next big change in the supply chain industry, Shimon believes that there should be the acceptance and adaptation of more companies and supply chain professionals to keep a broader mind and attitude towards learning, accepting, and implementing AI/ML tech-nology and algorithms. She marks, “This is to simplify and automate monotonous jobs and not to take away any jobs. Human intervention will still be required in our industry at large. But by automating several tasks, we can now focus on innovation, empowering mental well-be-ing of workforce and all value to our everyday task without having to feel mechanical or redundant in our tasks.”
Encouraging Companies to Leverage Data
We asked Shimon if given a chance, what change she would like to bring to the supply chain industry, to which she said, “I would encourage more small and mid-sized companies to educate themselves to understand how using data and seeking help from supply chain professionals can truly add to the bottom line and optimize their process. Secondly, increase awareness about the advantages of collaboration, not just within the organization but with all your partners across the organization involving suppliers, freight partners, 3PL and warehouse partners, retailers as well as customers.”