Under the patronage of Ensolva, the first ‘Women in Adria: Evening for Women in Procurement and Logistics’ was held at Zonar in Zagreb. During this inspirational evening, participants discussed the increasing significance of procurement and logistics as vital and strategic functions. They explored the impact of inflation and the pandemic, personal challenges faced in their professional journeys, and the enhancement of the sector through automation and artificial intelligence. Women constitute 41% of all employees in the procurement sector, yet only 15% hold managerial positions. In order to promote the development of women in this sector, Women in Adria, a leading business network uniting female entrepreneurs and managers from various sectors, decided to emphasize women in procurement and logistics—a cause Ensolva was pleased to support.
Game Theory in Procurement
The evening commenced with a lecture by Ensolva Account Manager, Hari Zamlić, on the topic of ‘Game Theory in Procurement.’ He highlighted that processes in procurement, much like in life, can be viewed as a game, whether finite or infinite. The ‘finite game’ necessitates a winner, defined rules, and clear players, where the goal is to outperform others. On the other hand, the ‘infinite game’ in procurement aims for long-term collaboration and mutual satisfaction instead of a one-time victory. The importance of playing the infinite game in procurement was particularly evident during the pandemic, when stable relationships became crucial for overcoming challenges.
Pandemic as a Turning Point
The panel at the Evening for Women in Procurement and Logistics brought together experts such as Ivana Cvetko Iliev, Country Procurement Manager BU Adria at Coca-Cola, Marina Repić-Šarić, Director of Procurement for Central and Eastern Europe at Carlsberg Group, Mirela Senica, Head of Procurement at IBM and President of HUND, and Snježana Sokol, Head of Supply Chain Management at Metro. Participants emphasized that the coronavirus pandemic significantly altered the position of procurement. While they may not have had their representatives in boardrooms, the role of procurement became vital for the survival and success of companies. Ivana Cvetko Iliev from Coca-Cola highlighted that they faced challenges in procurement during the pandemic, but at the same time, they noticed positive changes in sales and logistics sectors. Flexibility and speed became crucial, and the importance of procurement gained greater emphasis.
No Glass Ceiling
The panelists also touched on the topic of women in procurement and logistics, emphasizing that there is no ‘glass ceiling’ limiting their progress. Snježana Sokol, Head of Supply Chain Management at Mateou, emphasized that logistics is increasingly becoming a female-driven business, and women are successfully positioning themselves in this sector. Procurement provides an excellent platform for career development in various sectors, as it requires broad knowledge and competencies. The panelists confirmed that there are no limitations to what women can achieve in this sector.
Advantages of Corporations and Challenges of Centralization
Discussing the advantages of corporations, it was highlighted that within large companies, women can develop in different departments, following their interests. This enables advancement within the same company without the need to change employers. However, as a key challenge in small countries like Croatia, the panelists pointed out the lack of centralization in the procurement process. The lack of centralized systems makes progress and coordination in the procurement sector more challenging.
Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence
The panelists also addressed the digitization and development of artificial intelligence in procurement. While some may be skeptical about artificial intelligence, they all welcomed the general digitization of processes. However, it should be noted that automation in procurement will come gradually.
Transparency, Honesty, and Care
Lastly, the panelists shared their insights on what makes a successful leader and manager. Transparency, honesty, and care for employees were highlighted as key elements of successful leadership. Emphasis was also placed on the importance of building relationships with colleagues and teams. Experience and years bring their advantages in a career, and the panelists agreed that continuous learning and adaptation to new situations are important.
The Evening for Women in Procurement and Logistics was an opportunity to explore the challenges and potential of this sector and provided inspiration for women aspiring to progress in it. Through transparency, the infinite game, and support for mutual collaboration, women in procurement and logistics can shape the future of this critical sector in the business world.