#115: Tonya Jackson SSVP and Chief Product Delivery Officer of Lexmark

Tonya Jackson is senior vice president and chief product delivery officer for Lexmark International.

Tonya has been with Lexmark for 36 years and in her current role, Tonya is responsible for hardware and supplies development, supply chain, manufacturing, and service delivery.

From 2016 to 2020, she served as chief supply chain officer, responsible for worldwide supply chain operations and the shared services centers for Lexmark. She has been in global supply chain operations since 2013.

Listen to the full discussion here:

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Connect with the Guest:

Tonya Jackson: LinkedIn

Some of the highlights from the podcast:

  • Tonya’s career of 36 years with one company (and what the key role that made the most difference) 
  • Chips shortages and how engineering works with supply chain to fix it
  • How Tonya’s team designed an inhouse supplier visibility tool in record time (key is communication between teams: engineers, data scientists, planners and sales)
  • Key career advice

Show notes:

  • [1:05] Maybe tell us a little bit about how you’re putting headhunters out of a job in your 36 years in the same company? 
  • [4:48] If you look back into your career, how important was it that we should be even more focused on customer-facing and how did that play out in terms of having their customer-first mentality?
  • [6:17] I think it gives you a good feeling of that balance between trying to stay true to your operation, stay true to what you’re trying to do, but also be flexible and understand that wherever possible that you have your processes as you can to meet the customer’s requirements. 
  • [7:09] The chip shortages are affecting most industries, how is that impacting you at Lexmark? 
  • [8:56] The semiconductor crisis, in particular, has really brought the team together. We’re able to be much more flexible and much more agile as a joint organization.
  • [10:16] Between engineering and supply chain, how do you deal with the sales? How do you make sure that they understand and speak the same language as the sales team?
  • [11:33] Everybody is trying their very best to make things work for the customer. So there’s a lot going on, but I can tell you, the alignment is very good. We like to keep them happy and let them know we’re working as hard as we can.
  • [12:16] How have sourcing patterns changed for the long term due to the chips crisis?
  • [13:59] Engineers are wonderful and they’re doing things for function, for cost and all those kinds of things. But we’ve got to figure out how to balance that trade-off a bit more in order to get through these kinds of crises. So you can’t just source your way out of it, there’s got to be some engineering help as well.
  • [14:16] You have dual-sourcing but in actual you are not, because if that tier 4 falls then basically all your sources fall. And you told me offline about how you build your own. So, maybe let’s talk about that. 
  • [18:15] Depending on your visibility and IBP, big data, AI and machine learning. What are the advantages of creating your own?
  • [23:10] We continue to operate with open communication, full transparency. So I think we have a good culture where people are really digging in and trying to develop this as fast as possible.
  • [26:03] Maybe let’s talk a little bit about the transportation side.
  • [26:26] I guess our strategy is to continue with the port strategy that we have. We’ve been working with our logistics providers to secure containers and to secure lanes and we are doing everything we can to optimize containers, but we’re just waiting like everyone else for this to settle out. 
  • [27:44] What are you seeing in terms of building great teams? Is there a secret sauce or a combination of hard skills and soft skills? 
  • [28:49] I think for me, it’s important to make sure that we allow good ideas to be heard, especially in times like this. It’s about giving people the ability to try new things. And again, it doesn’t mean everything’s going to work but we learn something in the process.
  • [29:38] How do you keep yourself on top with so many changes, new technologies, new software, and new solutions? 
  • [31:21] For me, it’s about keeping up on the internet but also using either people in my external network to understand what they’re doing. But certainly, we have a lot of different people within Lexmark that learned and understand this emerging technology, so I bring them in and then we talk it through.
  • [32:10] In terms of technology, within the realm of supply chain and end-to-end supply chain. What is one that is underrated and one that is overrated? 
  • [32:42] It’s hard for me to say it’s overrated. I just haven’t quite figured it out in terms of how we should leverage and that’s blockchain and those types of technologies. And I think what’s underrated is communication. If we can figure out the communication to connect those two technologies together, I think you got something there.
  • [33:51] If you were to look back on something that helped you the most, what would it be and what would you say?
  • [35:20] Don’t back down from an opportunity because you don’t know much about it. That’s an opportunity to learn and an opportunity to learn how to learn.

Related Episodes:

#112: Building Relationships and Leveraging Social Media | The Logistics Tribe

#113: Emer Cunningham, VP Internal Medicine Global Supply Chain at Pfizer

#114: Susan Johnson, EVP Global Connections and Supply Chain at AT&T

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