Patricia Sjauw: “My focus is to make supply chain the heartbeat of the company”

Patricia Sjauw

Global Women Supply Chain Leaders Awards 2020 (GWSCL 2020) is the first global event to shine the spotlight on the dedication, passion, and incredible success stories of women in the supply chain – cross-domain and from around the world. The 3-day mega event, starting from September 22, will be packed with panel discussions, live Q&A, keynote speeches and loads of networking opportunities. This will finally culminate in the virtual awards ceremony on September 24.

As part of the awards, B2G Consulting (headquarted in Singapore) conducted interviews with some of the Top 100 Influential Women in Supply Chain. Following is the interview conducted with Sabine Simeon, Head of Supply Chain Europe at Schindler Group and Ivanka Janssen, SVP Global Integrated Supply Chain at Philips. As official media partner of this event, Supply Chain Media publishes the third interview.

How did you decide to pursue a career in supply chain?

”After my graduation from Singapore, I came to the Netherlands in 1992. I started my career with Texas Instruments, which was then setting up its European Logistics centre in the Netherlands by consolidating 14 centres across Europe. Combining logistics with trading in Europe, this was an exciting role as it differed from my background in civil engineering but helped me incorporate my family background in trading business. Through the years, I transitioned into various other logistics and supply chain roles. I am glad to say that there has never been a dull moment in the past 28 years!”

What is your greatest career accomplishment?

”In my current role as the COO of Amazing Oriental, the biggest Asian supermarket in the Netherlands, I am responsible for dealing with all aspects of supply chain: end-to-end supply chain management from planning to manufacturing to returns. This involves direct import and export to the whole of Europe along with food production. My role here is also to initiate supply chain transformation – I am working on executing a new operating model with a new best fit warehouse model to support our warehouse automation and mechanization initiatives. This is an exciting venture which we are executing in-house in collaboration with third party software vendors. Thanks to the full ExCo support, we have already made significant progress.”

What contribution have you made to the supply chain industry/your organization that is most meaningful to you?

”As the VP – Data & Analytics at Liberty Global, I oversaw 2 major supply chain transformations in 8 years, across 14 countries. We launched a new distribution centre for the European market, and implemented Master Data Management. We also implemented the JDA planning tool to support supply chain analytics.  In the end, my team delivered more than the business case. We brought increased visibility to the 80,000 SKUs that were deployed across Europe.

While installing a new high-speed architecture across Europe, we standardized and reused this past inventory as much as possible – improving our sustainable performance as well as achieving multi-million costs savings. In addition to reduced stock by 30% YoY and improved cash flow performance, we also integrated the supply chain team across all entities in Europe. For me, the most important achievement was that these results highlighted the significance of the supply chain function to the ExCo. They realized the potential of supply chain for value creation and the impact it can have on the overall performance of the company.”

Your thoughts on how the industry has changed for women from the time you started your supply chain journey?

”We surely have come a long way from when I started out. My daughter, currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Supply Chain Management from Erasmus University, has more females than males in her cohort! I receive more job applications in the supply chain function from females than males. Women supervisors are outnumbering their male peers in the warehouse!

I believe that the mix of quantitative and qualitative aspects of supply chain makes it a very appealing career option for women. It is now widely acknowledged that women demonstrate more holistic thinking, are less impulsive and take more measured decisions – traits which are essential in the supply chain function. It is heartening to see that men are taking note of this. It has not been easy for them to change their perspective, but they now acknowledge that women show how it can be done – we are more action than talk!”

What do you think companies can do to make supply chain careers more attractive to women?

”Companies today need to empower a change in their recruitment approach – women applicants score high on parameters such as collaboration, empathy, negotiation, which can be beneficial to oversee supply chains.  A willingness to hire more women will also help women to change their own mindset and overcome the social conditioning of supply chain being out of bounds. Current women leaders can also be role models and lead the way by hiring more women – though purely based on merit, not as a concession.”

If you could do one thing to leave your mark on the supply chain industry, what would it be?

”I have always tried to elevate the position of supply chains in whichever organization I have worked. The ExCo in many companies still view supply chain as a supporting function but it should be one of the leading ones. My focus, like in my current role, is to make supply chain the heartbeat of the company. It is a specialization which allows industries to exist by enabling the balance between customer service and profitability.”

How would you use this recognition to influence others and how would it impact your career?

”In my experience as a Singaporean Chinese woman residing in the Netherlands for almost 30 years now, working hard and showing your competencies overrides factors like your ethnicity and background. This recognition is an endorsement of the same, and I hope to influence young women, especially from Asia, to not be shy in being ambitious.”

If you want to know more about the top women leaders in the supply chain industry, register for the GWSCL 2020 now at

If you want to read more about gender diversity, read the following content: