Transcript #04 Industry 4.0 and Diversity Part 3 – Personal success stories and habits with Roxane Desmicht Head of Supply Chain at Infineon

Time stamp Speaker Answer Key words


Radu Moving on to the final segment, a couple of quick questions so let’s say somebody comes to you. I’m sure that you might have people in your team that you mentor. If somebody asks you, “how do I become the next head of supply chain at Infineon in years to come?” What one piece of advice would you give them?
0:29 Roxane I think it’s important to explore different functions. First, within supply chain you have a lot of domain. Second, supply chain always has a lot of stakeholders and I think you can be very good in what you do if you understand what the others are doing. So exploring other functions is one. Not only function but also exploring different sites. We have a strong manufacturing culture. I think you cannot understand manufacturing as long as you haven’t worked in a manufacturing site. Functions, domain, stakeholders, exploring, sites, culture, manufacturing
1:07 Radu For sure.
1:09 Roxane Manufacturing is important to supply chain so understanding how the work is done in manufacturing, that’s where exploring different sites comes in. Building up your network; as you go along you will find out maybe at the early stage of your career you send CV to find a job. Down the road, if you do a good job the jobs come to you.


That’s about network is an internal or external depends on what you want to pursue. Of course, how we spot talent that will usually be people who are volunteering for projects. It’s a stretch because you tend to take the project on top of your daily tasks.


But is usually a very good opportunity to meet different people to drive topics which you might not be familiar so to develop some sort of domain expertise. Create your own visibility because like it or not, the world is not fair. Visibility is important for planning your career. I tend to be a strong advocate that you should not do your whole career within the same company.


I think it’s important to understand different company cultures, different ways of working. Otherwise, you might develop some bad habits within the same company. But of course, there might be a price to pay. The more you rotate out, the longer it might take you to reach the goal.

Manufacturing, network, projects, visibility, career
2:49 Radu It’s a fine balance.
2:50 Roxane It’s a fine balance but as you go along, I think the more mature you get, the more you will recognize that company culture is also important for your job satisfaction and for you to excel and that’s maybe exploring different might also help you find the one style that fits you the best. Balance, culture, satisfaction, style
3:14 Radu Very personal. Personal routine. Morning routine. Some people are interested in that. Any morning routine that you do? First thing that you get to the office in the morning or anything that helps you get to today. Routine
3:25 Roxane First, I think you need to be healthy. It’s always about managing mind and body. Good breakfast is important. Exercising. During the week, I go to the gym twice per week in the morning before going to work to burn out some toxin and get refreshed and re-energized.


When I don’t go to the gym, I do a bit of stretching as well as some exercise which I learned recently to improve my focus. Standing on one leg with your eyes closed for more than 30 seconds.

Exercise, gym, focus
4:04 Radu That’s not easy actually.
4:05 Roxane That’s not easy. It actually helps to improve your brain to focus. Somehow you can amend the way your neuron is connected. So when you do it regularly, your focus tends to improve. Focus, improve
4:16 Radu And I imagine that would be a good fun group activity as well.
4:20 Roxane It can be as well if you want to do it with your team. I worked in a factory before so somehow from this I developed the habit to start work early which somehow I like because then you can clean up all your night’s email. Start to plan your day so that you are most efficient during the day. Of course when you have, you also interact with your newest colleagues if this is applicable for you.


During the day itself, I try to practice not overbooking myself because if you have back to back meeting all day, first it’s likely you will be late to one or the other and waste the time of the other people. Second, whether you can really keep a very strong focus if you have back to back meeting. You can put a question mark to it depending on your capability.


Third, if you have back to back meeting, then there is no chance for impromptu discussion and somehow I like to keep my door open and people have some questions they can just drop by.

Habit, meeting, focus, discussion
5:32 Radu Exactly. Chitchatting is important. Chitchat
5:33 Roxane Yup. Chitchatting is important. Chitchat
5:37 Radu What is the book that you give most to people? Book
5:41 Roxane Well, I have a philosophy so management or business books. Some sort of a business. There is always a new book being published and new released I encourage you to spend. Though I feel the underlying principle are still the same.


My practice is I stick to a couple of books but I do complement this with a lot of reading of articles, particularly Mckinsey quarterly or Harvard Business Review because I find their case studies tends to be very complete and well written.


Also very relevant because it tends to address current problems and challenges while a book has always been published based on studies from a couple of years ago. Nevertheless, in terms of books I would agree with Charles. I think “Good to Great” is always something to have in your library and I have one in my office.


I’m quite fond of Blue Ocean strategy. So many people believe it’s a marketing book when actually it’s not. It’s also helping you to rethink about how you want to position yourself, how you want to position your supply chain, how to want to position your job to create new Blue Ocean instead of competing and fighting in the same area.


Since we talked a bit about challenges ahead and change management, I think Leading Change from  John Kotter is also quite relevant. And to complement with the gender diversity topic, I’m quite fond of “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg. “Lean In?”

Business, books, Mckinsey, Harvard, Blue Ocean, Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg, Leading Change from  John Kotter
7:41 Roxane I don’t know it well. It’s about how women should position themselves in the workplace. It’s about something which was very refreshing for me maybe because naturally I’m more assertive. So maybe I’m not a typical woman. But then she came with the observation that from very early childhood, you start to create a bias.


So you have toys for girls and toys for boys. You have girls are pretty like mommy and boys are smart as daddy. Of course, as a girl you are just brainwashed from very early that you’re bad at math and you’re just pretty. It’s unlikely you will do good in your career.


She really brings this bias perspective which was really an eye opener for me maybe because my parents didn’t raise me like this. But now I can also understand why there are some handicap…

Assertive, women, bias, handicap
8:02 Radu Exactly. Unconscious.
8:06 Roxane And how we can address it. I think for both female and male alike, I think it’s a very interesting book to read.
8:55 Radu I’ll look into it. Now this is an interesting question…what is something you believe in that other people think it’s insane? Believe, insane
9:04 Roxane I don’t know how people will feel about that. Insane? Maybe first because I’m an engineer, I think working with data is fun and rewarding. Insane, data
9:16 Radu But definitely most people will think that’s insane.
9:20 Roxane I really like to work on the report and do my data crunching and finally come with a good storyline. I get extremely excited about this. Sometimes I find people might not relate to my excitement. This is one. The second is I also believe there is no stupid or uninteresting topic. It all depends on perspective.


It all depends on how you put your heart into it. So to your previous point about supply chain being sexy, maybe when I landed in supply chain…it’s a long story. Might not have been exactly my original choice or plan. But somehow down the road, I found a lot of fun into it just because I looked into those area where I feel I can contribute. I can make some change and somehow I enjoy my work.


At one point, last one I don’t know if it’s insane as well, but I think you need to enjoy what you do to do it well. You have to be quite brave that on the day you don’t like what you do anymore, maybe it’s time change instead of just staying there. Of course with the comfort of staying in a known environment but in being demoralized and demotivated everyday. That’s not good for your health or your balance.

Report, storyline, excite, topic, sexy, fun, balance, enjoy
10:54 Roxane But of course, it’s required to be brave to make a change but I think sometimes it’s better off to go this way instead of staying on. Brave, change
11:04 Radu Social media…do you use social media to help your brand as an employer and as a potential employer? Courage, social media
11:22 Roxane  To clear the air, I don’t do Facebook. I do not tweet so you might see me a little bit like a dinosaur. I’m quite active on LinkedIn simply because the purpose is work related. It helps to build new contacts which can create either some interesting discussion about a new topic or looking for candidates.


LinkedIn also helps candidates to reach out to me so that helps in your talent engagement. A couple of interesting posts which can also open your mind complement a bit what I do when I read Mckinsey quarterly. It’s good also when you meet new people in forums, you keep a connection somehow because you can see whether they are moving in to a new company.


Maybe this new company might be of interest to you. It’s really from a work perspective. I think it’s a very valuable platform.

Facebook, LinkedIn, talent, Mckinsey, forums, connection
12:34 Radu Absolutely. One quick example of an area where you’ve been challenged a lot around supply chain, how did you face it? How did you overcome? Challenge
12:47 Roxane I think the biggest challenge I ever faced was when we change system and migrated to SAP in 2006.

If I recall, my life at that time I would have said there is life before and after SAP. Though SAP now is very robust and that was the right decision but at that time…

Challenge, SAP, decision
13:17 Radu A very painful decision. Decision
13:17 Roxane The project had a couple of challenges and hiccups. What did help really was instead of getting depressed and overwhelmed by all those challenges to take it as that’s a new norm and we have to move forward. Looking at based on the challenges of the project, establishing peer communication platform so that information will be shared.


Having escalation paths, looking at monitoring all the issues, encouraging the team and most importantly to have one common goal. At that time you might appreciate I was 1 year plus in Shanghai knowing the challenge of retention in China, you can appreciate that.

Challenges, project, information,
14:12 Radu Not everybody was ready to be resilient. Resilient
14:13 Roxane Exactly. That’s why the encouragement and making sure people would stay on despite challenge from customer, internal challenges was definitely a stretch but a good learning opportunity.


It also was a good opportunity to understand the system better to contribute to making sure it would perform and deliver what it’s supposed to deliver.

Encouragement, challenge, opportunity
14:43 Radu When you think of the word “successful” in your practice in supply chain, who is the first person that comes to your mind and why? It can be from Infineon or whoever. It doesn’t have to be internally. Successful, Infineon
14:54 Roxane That’s a very difficult question actually because I never thought about it like this. Usually, I inspire myself from articles, so a lot of readings. I don’t really relate to one single character. So I’m scratching my brain…maybe somebody would come out I would say, Jeff Bezos? Articles, Jeff Bezos
15:25 Roxane Maybe because he is definitely a game changer in supply chain. But what I like is that he really has a long term focus. Not like some of the leaders who invest in new technology and doesn’t get return within one year then drop it or scrap it. It’s really taking a long term stand and making some long term bets.


Driving the company towards more profitability and bigger scope in a steady way without looking back. Learning from experience. I feel maybe not the culture of finger-pointing, but more of a culture of openness. If I would get a chance maybe I would definitely work for him.

Jeff Bezos, term, culture
16:14 Radu Well, he’s really playing for world domination, isn’t he? Of course to eject might have a different opinion, but  . I would have asked you how do you keep yourself in tune with the market but you did mention Mckinsey and Harvard Business Review.


Final question, if you could go back and give your 20 year old self a valuable piece of advice, what would you say?

Market, Mckinsey, Harvard, advice
16:50 Roxane Maybe I should not have moved out of technical field so early because I still feel like I miss it from time to time. Maybe my career would have been completely different if I had not done that. Technical
17:14 Roxane During my study time, I wish I would have had the opportunity for exploring different fields. Not only science. Just to have a more rounded up view instead of having to do an MBA a couple of years later. But all in all, I would agree with my dad.


Once you make a decision, you just move on and don’t regret. I try not to think too much as of how life could have been different if I would have done things differently. I made a strong choice so in fact when I moved to China, that time maybe it wasn’t my plan to move to supply chain like I hinted before.


I made a decision because I wanted the cultural exposure. I don’t regret it. It was a huge and very fruitful experience. It brought me here today. Maybe I would have been here today even with a different path but culturally-wise, it was a huge experience. So I would still continue to encourage myself to explore different culture.

Decision, choice, exposure, experience
18:31 Radu Super. Well, Roxanne it’s been a pleasure. Thanks for joining us. Thanks for sharing. Very insightful, provocative, useful. Many thanks for taking the time and it’s been a pleasure having us with you.
18:43 Roxane Thanks, and thanks for the very challenging and interesting questions.
18:48 Radu Catch you soon.


End of Podcast

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