Passionate about seeing and doing things differently, RCL FOODS offers a wide variety of career opportunities-including some you may not have heard of, like a Solutions Architect. For Ashleigh Jacobs, being a Solutions Architect in our business is an exciting combination of understanding, analysing, modelling, presenting and implementing. Meet Ashleigh who is helping us do MORE and inspiring other women to do the same.
Read more about her journey at Vector Logistics a division of RCL FOODS.
1.What does a day in the life of a Solutions Architect look like look like?
It is always different and continuously brings new challenges. Our work is project-based, which means that we always follow the process of understanding, analysing, modelling, presenting and implementing. We work with different teams across the Group which varies from Customer to Commercial to IT and Operations. The role is very dynamic, which is part of the reason I enjoy it so much. It keeps you thinking and encourages you to work outside of your comfort zone.
2.What does one need to study to become a Solutions Architect and what made you choose this career?
I studied a Bachelor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Pretoria. I have always been good at numbers, science and logical thinking. I’m also fortunate to have an older sister who studied the same degree as me and gave me valuable insight into the broad scope of Industrial Engineering and the value that it can add to the marketplace.
3.What do you love about being a Solutions Architect?
I love the combination of working with people, data, software and technologies across the various functions and seeing the solutions come to fruition from its inception to success. I also love working with numbers! Numbers talk “cents”.
4. Which one of the OUR WAY values would you say resonates with you the most and why?
“More Brave” – in the space that we play, bold decisions make us successful. It’s not necessarily the outcome of the decision, but rather the learning experience that helps us grow towards reaching our goals.
5. How, in your view, does RCL FOODS ensure that they are up to date with the technological innovation within supply chain, specifically the Vector Supply Chain?
There are two main aspects of this: we need to ensure that we stay close to global industry trends and ensure that our business’ strategic goals and IT & Supply Chain strategy roadmap is aligned. Technologies are forever evolving. By working with key partners in this space to test, pilot and transfer knowledge, we can make sure that what we work on is relevant, up to date and ultimately driving us towards success as a leading partner for our customers.
6.What are some of the challenges that you face in your role regarding the South African macro-environment?
There are many, but the following springs to mind: slower adoption rates in technology, misconceptions of global buzz words, a lack of specialist skills in the market and difficult economic conditions . These make it that much more difficult to really drive innovation and invest in new solutions. The pressure remains high to reduce costs, collaborate and optimise processes in order to stay ahead of the curve!
7.During your tenure here, what is your proudest and or most fulfilling moment at RCL FOODS?
I have played a vital role in growing our Supply Chain Centre of Excellence (COE). I have also supported the business in decisions that have caused changes to be made to our supply chain and analytics processes. Through this, we’ve managed to win important business contracts with key clients such as Pick ‘n Pay and Massmart. I have also assisted in enabling Siqalo Foods and Imperial Cold Logistics in very short timelines to deliver market efficiencies.
We’re so proud to have such a passionate young woman as part of RCL FOODS and Vector Logistics family!
If you’re interested in a career with us, click here.