The change I want to see

As women it is in our genetic makeup to want to fix things, even the unbroken we are always keen to modify and improve so as to better our lives and our communities. This is not a speculation but a fact which has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt throughout history. From Marie Curie who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity, Josphine Cochrane who invented the dishwasher as a way of trying to minimize breakage of her fine china to Mary Anderson who invented the windshield wiper, just to mention a few. What all these women have in common is the zeal to solve problems using their skills; women who truly chose to challenge. Here is Tsitsi Goto’s story on how and what she would choose to challenge in her carrier field.

The field of supply chain management and logistics is a field that I particularly find interesting, and this is mostly because it is dynamic and constantly evolving. In the last decade, the strategic management of supply chains has become crucial in the enhancement of the competitive advantage of organisations globally. As much as supply chain management (SCM) is critical in the success or profitability of organisations, many organisations are still struggling to effectively manage their supply chains. The ever-evolving customer needs and requirements have also contributed to the complexity in supply chains, and more than ever responsive and visible supply chains are a must. On that note, one of the global problems I would like to solve is that of supply chain responsiveness and visibility seeing that today’s supply chains lack in that regard.

According to Morgan Swink the Executive Director of the Supply and Value Chain Center at TCU Neeley School of Business, “visibility is easy access to data that are current, accurate, complete, and usefully formatted”. This data can give visibility into demand (sales), inventory (traceability), assets, disruptions, and other factors.” On the other hand, supply chain responsiveness is the “capability of firms to respond persistently, in appropriate time to the demand of customers or change in marketplace to sustain its competitive advantage.”

The year 2020 and 2021 have seen the world go through a global health pandemic that has had a negative effect on a lot of sectors and in most if not all these sectors, the supply chain has been disrupted significantly. The global pandemic caused by COVID-19 highlighted the magnitude of the problem in supply chains globally. This pandemic highlighted how supply chains lack in terms of visibility and responsiveness. Having carried out an extensive research in the field of SCM earlier on in my career and coupled with a foundation in Industrial Engineering, I have realised the importance of effective SCM within and across organisations and would therefore like to address this problem. Using the STEM skills and the foundations that I have acquired in my professional journey; I would like to make supply chains more responsive and visible.

I will be particularly interested in solving this problem because that will allow for organisations to effectively deliver value to their internal and external customers. This will be an interesting problem to tackle because it is dynamic and will always require continuous improvement as it is influenced (amongst many other things) by a change in consumer behaviour and expectations. This problem also presents an opportunity to potentially make use of both Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain Technology to address responsiveness and visibility respectively. With blockchain technology being one of my research interests, I feel this problem will present a welcome challenge even as I contribute towards the world of SCM and logistics. I believe that responsive and visible supply chains will bring about more efficient supply chains, which will then effectively serve the customers and ensure that the needs of the customers are met at every level.

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Tea in 60 is a community that seeks to bring about the much needed practical one-on-one conversations between girls interested in STEM and women already in the field. In one hour, girls in high school, as well as those that are in or have just finished tertiary education will have an opportunity to discuss anything they want in the career of their choosing with a selected mentor.