Supply chain planning manager | Nokian Tyres Inc. | Charlotte, N.C. | Age: 31
What was your first job in the industry?
My first exposure to the tire industry was here at Nokian Tyres, but my first real exposure to supply chain management was at Toyota North America during my second internship after graduating from college in 2017. This internship through NASCAR placed me with Toyota in Hebron, Ky., where I learned forecasting, supply chain analytics and some warehousing functions with an industry leader.
What attracted you to the industry?
Answering with respect to supply chain, I was attracted by how intertwined the supply chain is and seeing how that works in practice. This passion emerged during my time at UNC Greensboro in the Bryan School of Business and Economics, and I am continuing my education through various certifications. Speaking of the automotive industry, my passion came while working on-site at BMW with ProTrans in Spartanburg, S.C. I played an integral role in transporting parts and saw firsthand the materials I tracked coming into the production plant. This role was stressful and high-visibility and taught many lessons I still leverage today.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
The biggest challenge in my career thus far has been transitioning into my current role as planning manager. I was previously a demand planner, and my main objective was increasing our forecasting accuracy in North America. Since transitioning into a planning manager, there have been many challenges in learning our new systems, dealing with new internal and external stakeholders, and shifting my perspective to more tactical operations. I still hold all my previous responsibilities, and it is a goal of mine to keep improving our forecasting accuracy while continuing to learn this new role.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
There are too many people to choose from when thinking back to my time in college up until now. There are countless baseball coaches and teammates who I still look to with admiration for how far they continue to progress in collegiate and professional baseball. And then to all my current and previous colleagues for entrusting me with more high-value tasks and projects as I build experience.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
My biggest accomplishment in automotive would be my second internship with the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program (NDIP) in 2017. I was one of 26 interns selected out of over 1,500 applicants. This program is designed to identify future emerging leaders while promoting diversity in the motorsports industry. Being selected for this internship is my greatest accomplishment because it highlights my academic and athletic successes.
Tell us about your current job and responsibilities. How do you spend your workday?
My current role encompasses a blend of short-term and long-term planning responsibilities. I initially joined the company as a demand planner, and I continue to manage all aspects of this role, which involve optimizing forecasts and product assortments within our system, conducting monthly demand reviews with our sales management team, and long-term planning for both new and ending product lines.
After my most recent promotion, I've assumed additional duties within supply planning. These responsibilities encompass a range of tasks, including overseeing product allocations, monitoring daily fill rates to ensure alignment with customer demands, tracking daily production to address backorders promptly, and handling various ad hoc tasks as they emerge.
What's been the biggest surprise of your current job?
Nokian Tyres gives me the flexibility to address any problem or issue how I see fit. We are a relatively small company, meaning we do not necessarily have extremely strict processes and procedures on how to address problems, which is a good thing. I feel like I have freedom in my role and continue to exercise it.
Tell us about your family.
My dad is a retired Army veteran who served for 20-plus years. He was a track star in high school with the potential to pursue an athletic career in college but instead chose a higher calling. He currently teaches JROTC at a high school in my hometown and plans on retiring in the next year or two. He is the man who gifted me with my athletic ability which allowed me to pursue sports and established my foundation in life.
My mom currently works at a pharmaceutical company near Raleigh, N.C. where she manages the distribution of insulin. She has always been supportive of my career choices and my biggest cheerleader.
My brother is a project manager at a forensics company with a degree in mechanical engineering. He has a passion for process improvement and has always exemplified a strong work ethic which I have always admired.
If you could wake up tomorrow with one new skill, what would you choose?
Better data analysis through the use of R and Python.
In a single word, how would your friends describe you?
If you could switch jobs for a day, what job/who would you choose to swap with, and why?
The head groundskeeper for a Major League Baseball team. I would get to enjoy not only free baseball but also the ability to turn grass and dirt into a captivating work of art.
What's the biggest issue facing the tire industry?
I believe that waste management is a substantial issue not only for the tire industry but for all manufacturing companies in general. This issue has always been at the forefront of Nokian Tyres, and our North American production factory is one of the most eco-friendly tire factories on the planet.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Baseball player. I made it professionally, but not all the way to the MLB unfortunately.
What goal did you set for yourself this year? Are you on track to reach it?
My goal this year was to get my Certified Supply Chain Professional certificate. I am still studying the material but hope to take the exam soon.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
Technology is advancing exponentially so it is very hard to tell. Whatever I am doing, I hope it involves data and the ability to be creative.