Kansas City, Missouri–based engineering, construction and consulting company CRB has named Valerie Silva as director of procurement.
With experience in cost optimization, project management and supply chain issues in the automotive and pharmaceutical industries, Silva will work within CRB’s innovative Global Technical Operations team. Silva will help the company’s clients address challenges related to speed to market and risk management.
Core focus areas for CRB include the pharmaceutical and automotive industries.
In the following interview, Silva touches on her background, explaining how she supported the manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments while also sharing which projects she looks forward to helping with at CRB.
What first drew you to procurement?
Silva: When I graduated with my MBA, I initially intended to focus on supply chain and inventory management, but quickly switched direction when introduced to procurement. I was lucky to land in an organization that positioned procurement as a strategic role alongside supply chain. I quickly became drawn to procurement, where I could incorporate strategic thinking to mitigate supply chain risk, and drive value in quality, schedule, and total delivered cost.
In many cases, procurement strategies can be relevant and applicable across industries. From a pharmaceutical lens, however, it is important to recognize that quality and speed-to-market are paramount, as that translates into faster delivery of life-saving medicines to patients who need them.
What projects, past or present, have made you love what you do?
Silva: When I reflect on past projects, my work to support the manufacture of the COVID-19 vaccine and treatment easily ranks as the most impactful of my career. The amount of effort that was put into COVID-response projects, across the industry and across the globe, was awe-inspiring. Teams worked around the clock to create the infrastructure to manufacture vaccines and treatments, and all for the greater good. It is that human heart and passion to successfully deliver critical projects that makes me love what I do.
What projects are you most looking forward to?
Silva: In this newly created role, my most important project is not a project in the traditional sense. I am most excited to progress and lead the overall procurement strategy, developing robust process and tools to drive standardization across regions. Consistency of implementation and application allows us to have greater control over project outcomes. The positive impact of that work can be felt across all of our clients’ projects.
How do you help pharma clients develop and fine-tune best practices and processes for procurement?
Silva: In today’s volatile market, supply chain risk, as it relates to capacity, cost and lead time, has created disruption in the industry. Proactively sharing a real-time pulse of the supply market with our clients is critical in forecasting and project planning.
As an additional defense against supply chain uncertainty, clients find immense value in CRB’s OneSolution delivery method, where they experience first-hand the importance of CRB’s trade partner and equipment supplier relationship management system. Having mutually respectful engagement of strategic suppliers enables an integrated project delivery team where we are able to identify and collaboratively solve supply chain challenges as a team versus traditional risk-shifting project delivery methods.
Talk about your leadership skills. What is the most important lesson you have learned that has guided you in your career?
Silva: I have worked in multiple industries, all with unique cultures and management styles. When I consider the great leaders I have met, the one constant, despite their differences, is their focus on the human connection. I keep that front of mind when considering my professional interactions. Relationships can be critical in the success of a single project, or even across a company at large. Establishing positive working relationships with colleagues, building credibility with one’s team, and forming partnerships with trades and suppliers all have roots in the human connection, and their success largely depends on one’s ability to create strong relationships.
In your opinion, what more can be done to promote greater participation of young women in the life sciences/procurement today?
Silva: Procurement, in life sciences and all industries, represents an exciting career path for young women. The cross-functional, collaborative nature of procurement allows for a broad understanding of many areas of the business, which can rapidly accelerate career growth. Like many things, however, representation matters. Highlighting the advancement of women into industry leadership roles allows young women to see female leaders influence with impact. I also feel there is a responsibility of historically underrepresented leaders to invest in their network and serve as a mentor to guide others in navigating their own path. I look forward to serving in that capacity within CRB, as well as the broader industry.
Filed Under: Women in Pharma and Biotech