“Mars is a business that puts personal development at the centre. I joined 22 years ago on the leadership experience programme and have spent about half my time in procurement,” says Amanda Davies, global vice president of directs at Mars Wrigley.
I’ve also worked in R&D, heading up a packaging function, and spent five years in HR. I’m now based in Chicago, heading up global strategic sourcing. The virtue of getting experiences in different functions is you are continuously learning. It teaches you to be agile, to be humble about what you know and to respect the expertise of those around you. I moved into HR because of my passion for people, and that has been transferable to strategic SRM, because our suppliers are an extension of our teams.
What’s different about my role today as opposed to 10 years ago is how much time I spend in the extended supply chain. I’ve been to the Philippines, Malaysia, Guatemala, Madagascar, Kenya… It’s important to my values as a leader, so when I talk about being responsible for our raw materials, I can say I’ve stood next to farmers and understood their challenges.
There’s no one answer that says breadth is better than depth. In procurement, I would advise people to get experiences in directs and indirects. In directs, you own your budget, in partnership with the business, deeply knowing your market. With indirects, you develop that skill of facilitating budget owners with the supply base.
I think about development in three ways: thinking about the new functional experiences I need to allow me to grow and progress; the things I need to get stronger at; and understanding what my natural strengths are. Strengths-based development can unlock amazing performance.
The one thing that will allow you to move forward is making sure you are doing a brilliant job in the role you are in now. Excelling where you are will allow you to unlock your dreams, versus letting dreaming where you could be distract you. Think about where your natural capabilities lie. And build a network of people to help you understand how to gather the right experiences.”
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