Paula Dovey, Vector Logistics’ ICSE Executive proves that authentic leadership is about being authentically you, learning from those around you and inspiring others to Go Beyond.
We interviewed Paula on her life and role and here’s what she had to say:
- Tell us more about Paula and what you are passionate about
I am married to Martin Dovey, with 3 kids – Georgia, Ella and Aiden. Family life is busy but a priority. We are passionate about running and have both completed the Comrades Marathon several times. We enjoy an active lifestyle and try get out as much as possible.
At work, I am passionate about innovation, growth and profitability in supply chains. I spend my days solving problems and ensuring our conversations are fact-based and encompass critical thinking. I enjoy creating an honest connection with people and helping them navigate any problems. Being open about my experiences costs nothing but can be invaluable to someone who feels overwhelmed. Diversity and inclusion is very important to me.
- Tell us about your career journey that led you to becoming a Vector Logistics ICSE Executive.
I was fresh out of varsity and overqualified with little experience, doing shift work at Meadowfeeds in their lab, when a recruitment agent asked if she could submit my CV to the Unilever First Bounce Programme. I attended the necessary interviews and was then offered the role of Production Planner in the Unilever Personal Care factory in Maydon Wharf. I took the leap and saw the start of a 13-year journey with Unilever which included Site Logistics, Planning and Procurement, which culminated in my final role as the Home and Personal Care Planning Director for South Africa. I was afforded many opportunities and learnt from a global multinational the nuances of supply chain management, for which I am very grateful. The time then came for a career change when my role was impacting on family time. A tough decision – but one that I am very glad that I made as it has led me to where I am today.
- What does a day in the life an ICSE Executive look like?
No two days are the same! In the most predictable of days, I am responsible for the Customer Service Centre, Demand Planning, Supply Planning and International Planning sub-functional outputs for Vector Logistics-this explains 10% of the role. Most of the time, I am involved in optimisation projects, spanning our network, processes, how we resource our teams, and deploy technology and reviewing what we do with the intent of doing better. Vector Logistics’ journey has been incredible, and I have enjoyed being a part of their incredible growth.
- What are you enjoying most about your current role?
I love the diverse nature of the role and that it is customer-facing and operations-facing. I enjoy my peers and I love the freedom to fully own our spaces, and to think critically regarding service and cost optimisation. I have received tremendous support to make dramatic changes. Being involved from ideation to implementation is something that I don’t take for granted. I appreciate the Vector Logistics leadership team and their ‘family first’ approach to business.
- Share your thoughts on how the Covid-19 pandemic has and will transform the logistics and supply chain industry on a global scale.
The impact on Supply Chains has been severe and has spanned stock availability challenges (linked to manufacturing and stock movement challenges), demand volatility challenges and workforce management challenges (linked to the impact of absenteeism) however, I think the take-outs and learnings for supply chains are going to be more varied and interesting than the challenges experienced.
This experience has forced companies to move quickly to an agile way of working (which has raised interesting questions on what connection, engagement and leadership looks like virtually as well as how productivity should be measured in a truly agile world). It has forced companies to quickly and critically assess their level of risk and exposure in the ‘new normal’ (and put in plans to address exposure through active scenario planning and the like) and it has forced a quick adoption of a digitization agenda as a means to manage workforce risk. This experience will cause us to ‘pivot’ to a new set of skills to successfully navigate this and the future impact-a transformation which I am personally looking forward to.
- What strides has Vector Logistics made to be future proof/ready?
We embraced agile working almost overnight. We have taken great strides in maintaining the requisite connection virtually and I believe that we were already ahead of the curve in managing output rather than time in seats in an office (which was very forward thinking for South Africa and led naturally to a productive agile way of working). I do think that we have a job to do to understand how depressed consumer spending will impact our business and put robust plans in place to close this revenue gap.
- What is your proudest moment at Vector Logistics?
Being afforded the opportunity to officially open the Vector Control Tower in 2017, having only been with the business for 4 months – this was the start of an amazing journey.
- What is your mantra as a leader in the business?
To bring my whole self to work every day. My colleagues know that I have good and bad days, personal challenges, and that I make mistakes. I try to be authentic and set a good example.
We are proud to have leaders, like Paula who uphold our Standards of Leadership and use their authenticity and experience to Go Beyond for their teams and Vector Logistics.