After pivoting to focus on consumer priorities during the pandemic, world’s leading healthcare and pharmaceuticals producer Johnson & Johnson has expressed confidence of growth in the Philippines.
“The Philippines is definitely poised for growth this year. The first few months of 2022 gives us a lot of confidence around the positive momentum we are seeing and delivering in the Philippines,” said Arlene Juliano, supply chain director Johnson & Johnson Philippines, in an email interview with Manila Bulletin Business.
As head of J & J’s supply chain operation in the country, Juliano has to oversee the planning, manufacturing, sourcing, and delivery of products of the company. J&J pioneers solutions to deliver better health for everyone whether it be consumer health, pharmaceutical or medical device products.
During the pandemic, Juliano said there were several areas that were impacted and lots of volatilities that needed to be managed such as the demand due to the shift in buying patterns, supply of products, and the different policies brought about by the pandemic.
“My team was able to recover by staying focused on our top priority,” she said. This helped fuel its agility to pivot and take extraordinary measures to reach customers. Some of the examples include working with one of its partner distributors to charter flights to deliver products, in-housing staff in third party warehouse to continue to operate during lockdowns, and finding other solutions to get essential products to customers.
Juliano explained that during the pandemic, there were shifts in spending patterns. J&J saw consumers shifting to more essential and health related products during the pandemic.
Since J&J has a diverse portfolio, she said, they were able to cater to the different needs of Filipinos during the pandemic – products like Bactidol, Tylenol, and Sinutab were very relevant. “In spite of the volatilities, the J&J Supply Chain team in the Philippines was able to pivot quickly to serve those changing needs, and provide them with the essentials they needed the most,” she added.
“Supply Chain has a big role to play in the J&J business in the Philippines given that the work we do directly shapes the cost structure of our products, and the quality of service we bring to our customers. We also provide solutions to the business by forging partnerships to unlock value in delivering better service, cost, and cash,” she added.
As a woman leading in a traditionally men’s domain, Juliano cited of huge changes in the role that women play in the supply chain industry. “When I started my career, it was not uncommon to find myself as the only female in a meeting room, as there were also a few role models at that time who made it to the very top in Supply Chain,” she said.
With over 17 years of experience in Operations and Logistics, Juliano has fuelled innovation in her area of expertise by creating significant programs that steered an entirely new dimension of logistics and operations both in the local and international markets.
Now, she said, there has been a huge positive shift in this area. “In J&J especially, there are numerous female leaders globally leading large areas in Supply Chain who have been a great source of inspiration for women who see themselves in a similar light. There has been a clear focus in J&J to nurture the career paths of women by ensuring we help them grow, and at the same time empower them to fulfill their family responsibilities and duties outside of the office. This is evidently seen in the culture and in the hard policies that have been created to build a positive support structure for women,” she added.
J&J is no stranger to embodying Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the way they operate, with eight out of their first 14 employees being female in the early 1900’s, while concurrently having 50 percent of its of workforce comprising of females leading the charge in ensuring that they work towards their vision of making healthcare accessible to all. The company has provided a multitude of initiatives and partnerships to equip women in their respective fields, and ultimately to help women thrive.
She cited the importance of creating a culture where diverse perspectives are heard, and anyone regardless of gender or background is welcomed and valued. “I find that it is essential to stay close and personally mentor female leaders in supply chain and provide the guidance and flexibility they need to be successful in the workplace. We have to recognize that women go through different milestones in their lives, and oftentimes, are measured against a different standard due to gender bias, unrealistic expectations, etc. We need to recognize and embrace these differences, and I use this as my guiding force in helping individuals map out their career goals and development plans,” she said.
She further noted that women, especially Filipino women, also have a tendency to be conservative in displaying or talking about their achievements and capabilities. “As a leader, my role is to make sure I create those opportunities for my team members to showcase their talent and discover how they can achieve more,” she added.
At J&J, Juliano said there other female leaders in the supply chain who made it to the very top noting that chief supply chain officer of J&J is a woman. “Women should no longer be afraid to be ambitious in pursuing their career goals in technical roles like Supply Chain, and feel that they will not find a place to belong. There is merit in having diverse voices brought to the table to deliver unique perspectives in shaping how to best serve our customers and communities. So for any female looking to pursue a career in Supply Chain or in Healthcare – I would say go for it, and you might surprise yourself just how far you can go,” she said.
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