An international Schneider Electric career in supply chain operations

An international Schneider Electric career in supply chain operations

 November 26, 2021

Erica is an expert within Schneider Electric's Global Supply Chain, including operational leadership and managing the end-to-end Engineer To Order (ETO) processes. Her job role is to manage the production of Genie Evo, primary switchgear & OKKEN, low voltage switchgear in Leeds, UK.

Erica holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in Brazil and a Master’s degree in Physics, Nanotechnology in Hungary.

Erica shares her experiences working in various roles at Schneider Electric, from intern to manager in Hungary and the UK.

Studying alongside her job at Schneider Electric

Erica joined Schneider Electric as a new graduate in a "somewhat unorthodox" way. After graduating with a mechanical engineering degree in Brazil in 2016, Erica decided to do a master's degree in Nanotechnology in Budapest, Hungary, due to fewer career options in Brazil. And it was this move that led her to Schneider Electric. After three months living and working in Budapest, Schneider Electric offered Erica an engineering internship position via a recruiter on LinkedIn. 

Working 24 hours a week, Schneider Electric gave Erica the flexibility to study alongside her job. "Needless to say, I felt grateful to have their support for completing my studies," she explains.

Training from managers and peers

In the first few months, Erica received training in Industrial Engineering under Supply Chain. She was coached in a learning-on-the-job approach from managers and peers in the business. In that same year, she entered an internal competition for Millennials in the Global Supply Chain, Equipment and Transformers business unit, where she worked in groups to suggest improvement ideas for Schneider Electric.

"At the outcome of this competition, the teams met with our business unit leaders, they listened to our ideas and we finalized a 1 on 1 meeting to discuss career and development plans. In the following year, I attended a workshop on women leadership, and they offered me a full-time position in the UK, covering my work visa," Erica adds.

A supportive leadership culture 

For Erica, the best thing about Schneider Electric's culture is the support and empowerment she receives from managers.

"They are true leaders, they take time to train me on the factory processes and give me clear responsibilities, demonstrating that my work accounts for our deliverables. Their recognition of my contributions, even if limited at the beginning as I was still learning, is one of the major reasons I choose to stay at Schneider Electric. They help build my confidence, skills and believe that I can achieve more," she says.

Don't be afraid to ask questions

After completing her master’s degree, Erica relocated to Leeds, the UK, in March 2020. "Admittedly, I felt intimidated by their English, experience, and knowledge, but I didn’t let anyone see. I started to blend in, to learn their ways of working, and I kept focused on not being afraid of reaching out to people and asking – what in my head were – stupid questions," she says.

Erica's most important pieces of advice for new graduates: don’t be afraid to ask questions. "I know you will feel sorry to bother others with your questions, but how fast you learn and your success in a company depends highly on that," she adds.

Achieving leadership goals

After a few months in the UK working as an Industrial Performance Leader, Erica drafted her development plan and presented it to her managers, which led to her next career move: to become a process manager, an important step towards her primary ambition to become a plant manager.

"At first, I honestly thought I was nowhere near ready for a leadership role. My managers supported me to work on the gaps, and in January 2021, I became the manager of one of the production lines in the Leeds factory, with a team of around 80 people," says Erica.

Advice to graduates

Working in Global Supply Chain Operations and specifically in an Engineer-to-Order facility offered Erica a great opportunity to learn the in-depth mechanisms of the supply chain, each of its support functions, and the harmony among them needed to create the best products for Schneider Electric customers.

Erica finishes with final advice for new graduates: "Starting your career in Supply Chain operations can be one of the greatest foundations for a career in Engineering."

"There is the opportunity to learn multiple topics within the supply chain or specialize in one of them. Lastly, take advantage of the opportunities and put your best efforts into them so that soon after, you will no longer feel like a new graduate," she concludes.

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