For the second year in a row, Fluke Corp. is home to one of the winners of 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars recognition program, a jointly sponsored initiative of ThomasNet and the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). Bernadette Quiriconi, Fortive Business system leader at Fluke was nominated by the “Megawatt Winner” of last year’s slate, Amy Georgi, a program manager in supply chain acquisitions and integrations at Fluke.
The now 30-year-old was the only person in Fluke’s Cleveland facility to be hired before the age of 25 in many years. From the beginning, she proved her ability to create and participate in intergenerational dialog. Further, she highlighted the importance of supply chain management to the organization. Fluke’s biomedical was split between two sites, in the Seattle and Cleveland. On-time delivery of product to customers had fallen below 70% percent, leaving the company spending $400,000 in expedited freight between the two facilities annually to compensate. Quiriconi, using her analytical skills, she identified areas for improvement and got buy in. Within two months, the delivery backlog was gone, on-time delivery reached 96% and expedited freight cost were down by more than 70%.
Since then, she’s worked in the Seattle facility, helping to improve operations and cut cost for the plastics unit by bringing work in-house. “She demonstrated that not only was their product of equal or superior quality, it was more cost effective,” the nomination said. Further, when a supplier was in financial trouble and about to shut its doors, she raised the alarm and created a transition plan. She and her team insourced 85 tools totaling $1.1 million in annual spend in less than two months with zero impact to factories and zero impact to revenue.
Recently, Quiriconi has been promoted to be a Fortive Business System leader, an internal consultant leading kaizen activities across Fluke within supply management, transportation logistics, procurement, planning and other areas.
We sat down the Quiriconi to ask her to share some of her thoughts on the role of millennial workers, the ways that top organizations attract top talent, and what makes supply chain a great career choice.
EBN: Data and data analysis has been a big part of your success. How do you see data and data analysis used in creative new ways in supply chain?
Quiriconi: Predictive measurements are the best way that we use data and analytics currently. As we broaden the areas of data we can get, we have more and more opportunities to successfully predict behaviors and course correct.
EBN: What tips would you give other young professionals about closing the age gap and creating a strong intergenerational team?
Quiriconi: Listen first. Oftentimes with a group that is intergenerational, the younger generation feels they need to prove themselves, or show their value up front and they usually go about it all wrong, forgetting that they still have a lot to learn. You can be smart and capable, and learn from others at the same time. I would also tell others to find the right opportunity to show their abilities. Listening is a great first step, but you will have to show your value at some point. Find a way to do so that is inclusive of the group.
EBN: Tell us a little about your role at your company. What do you like best about what you do? How do hope your job will evolve over time?
Quiriconi: Current state, I am working as a Fluke Business System Leader focused on implementing meaningful standardization of processes through Daily Management that ties together Operations functions with our internal partners, Finance, Demand Planning, and Leadership. I really enjoy being able to help correct long standing issues by connecting a larger network, and combining efforts to ease everyone’s workload. I also really enjoy taking the skills I have learned and processes I have developed and rolling them out to a wider generation of Operations Managers throughout our company, growing our current and future leaders. It is a very cool thing to see folks drive the business forward because they are armed with the right set of tools, and the ability to use them. I believe my roll will evolve to encompass more of the connective tissue of the company, meaning I will be able to help connect more back office functions, rather than just a focus on groups that touch Operations.
EBN: What advice would you give someone who is considering a career in the electronics supply chain? What did you learn about this career path that you wished someone had told you earlier?
Quiriconi: I did not study Engineering at all when I was in school, but when I got into the work force, I found that I felt slightly behind because while I understood the supply chain, I didn’t fully understand how things went together or why certain features and specs were of critical importance. If I had to do it over again, I would likely tackle more Electrical Engineering of Mechanical Engineering related course work to gain more hands on experience. If that’s not an option for someone, they can always do what I did, and find partners in the Engineering groups and at Suppliers to help learn on the fly about the specific products manufactured at that company.
EBN: What are the biggest challenges in terms of getting beyond old school attitudes and ways of doing things in the organization?
Quiriconi: The politics and not letting them hold you back. Helping people to not be afraid to just try something new. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you have to be willing to start! I often find people come up with a million excuses on why something won’t work if we were to change it or break away from the norm. I try to get them to focus on what COULD work, and push to try as a result of that. Focus on their pain points and how new processes might help alleviate that pain, and you can at least get people started.v Leadership support doesn’t hurt either…
EBN: What help and support have mentors offered you? What advice would you offer to electronics OEMs who want to be an employer of choice to the next generations of supply chain managers? (Why did you pick the employer you did?)
Quiriconi: My mentors, in and out of work, have helped me find ways to take my perceived weaknesses and turn them into strengths. For example, I tend to be a very outgoing and inquisitive personality. At times, that can be too much for people. But, thanks to excellent coaching and some good luck, I have found the sweet spot where I can take those aspects of my personality that can be challenging, and turn them into ways to engage people who would otherwise be disengaged.
I chose Danaher/Fluke/Fortive as the place I wanted to work because I was looking for somewhere I thought I could work for a lifetime. I wasn’t looking for the same thing for a lifetime, but somewhere I truly thought I could find growth, work/life balance, challenging tasks, great people, and a fast pace. I thrive on managing chaos, and that describes most of my days. Many people coming out of school now are not looking for somewhere to work for a lifetime, they are looking for something different. To that, the match of what the company is looking for and what the associate is looking for need to match. Some places want to turn people every two years to keep fresh ideas, fresh motivation as a strategy. Other places thrive on the ability to have people for a lifetime that build a culture of family. I would say both sides need to find their match.
EBN: What else would you like to say about supply chain as a career or your experiences?
Quiriconi: Winning in supply chain is not a solo game. Don’t try to win alone.
— Hailey Lynne McKeefry, Editor in Chief, EBN