Episode #62 Transcript | Susanne Hundsbæk-Pedersen of Novo Nordisk

[0:00] Radu Palamariu:

Hello and welcome to the leaders in Supply Chain Podcast. I’m your host Radu Palamariu, Managing Director of Alcott Global. Our mission is to connect the supply-chain ecosystem in Asia and globally by bringing forward the most interesting leaders in the industry and I’m very happy to have with us today Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen who is the Senior Vice President for Devices and Supply Chain Management at Novo Nordisk. Novo Nordisk has been producing insulin and helping people cope with diabetes for more than 90 years. And today it supplies half of the world’s insulin and serves 28 million patients in around 170 countries employing approximately 41,000 people worldwide. Susanne joined Novo Nordisk in 2002 and has since been holding positions as head of procurement and divisional CFO for global product supply and IT. Before taking out her current position as Senior Vice President of Devices and Supply Chain Management. She’s responsible for the global end to end supply chain management operations, ranging from procurement to manufacturing, planning, and distribution all the way through the seven local affiliates and certainly 170 countries. And she’s also responsible for the manufacturing development of the assembly and packaging operations across the global sites. Her organization brings efforts in R & D with operations with a global reach across US, Brazil, Europe, China and manufacturing in Japan, Russia, Algeria and a number of partnerships setups in multiple countries. Susanne, thank you for taking the time and it’s a pleasure to have you with us today.

[01:30] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

It’s a pleasure to be here.

[01:32] Radu Palamariu:

So wanted to ask you, Susanne, as a start of the discussion, you’ve achieved some incredible things in terms of supply chain and your end-to-end supply chain activities at Novo Nordisk. You’re one of the two healthcare companies that have been recognized in the prestigious top 25 supply chains in the world by Gardner which is a very comprehensive and thorough process to get on that list. So, I’m curious to start maybe by asking you, what are some of the accomplishments that you and your team have achieved and you’re most proud of?

[02:08] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

I think that the thing that I am most proud of is how the supply chain is positioned in the company today. We came from, when we first established the global supply chain management organization from being a planning engine and, today I would say we’re a partner to the business. We are a closely integrated into early decision processes in the R & D phase, in the development of products and the choices of materials and the manufacturing processes. So, our ability to today integrate into the agenda and be a partner and sit at the table when discussions are taking place rather than planning on the backend of decisions made. That makes me really proud which means that isn’t evidence I believe of my organization delivering value to the company. And I think that’s what makes me most proud is the positioning of supply chain today.

[03:11] Radu Palamariu:

And then ultimately is business partnering. So definitely a lot from our chest and from our talks across the industry also. I think it’s probably one of the main and key criteria for supply chain to be a partner with the business. And great to hear that you’re at that level cause definitely a lot of organizations I think it’s a challenge to have that seat at the table from a supply chain perspective. Asking you in terms of, because I know you’re doing a lot of interesting things in new initiatives as part of industry 4.0. I would like to ask you, what are some and the most exciting, sexy projects that you’re working on? Let’s call it a knock on Novo Nordisk and where you’re putting a lot of emphasis in terms of future developments for the industry 4.0?

[04:01] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

I think we have so many things I’m going at this moment. I mean, in all corners of the organization. The elements of digitalization and the next generation of automization are changing how we look at our processes. It’s down to the planning processes, how fast we can simulate scenarios and drive forward positions. So very much into the space of analytics, providing guidance and predicting better shipment routes or better packaging options for our shipments. If we’d step into the factories, again we are basically rethinking our processes, what it takes to do them. So adding next-generation robotics is one, but to a very large extent, it’s leveraging the data in our system to make smarter and better decisions or even guide our people on the shop floor to make the right interventions. So there are pretty cool things happening where we are trying to shift how we think of complexity, things we used to perceive as complex.

[05:06] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

For instance, product mixes or shift overs or former changes. We’re trying to eliminate and reduce some of these barriers through technology. So, how can we move towards continuous manufacturing, not have patched games over then we’re less sensitive to product mix and, changes. And that technology leaves us a lot of opportunities to address. I think that’s quite interesting. So we basically more or less trying to look at it from an angle of what creates complexity and difficulties in our current processes and then completely rethinking this. It’s in, the production of our products, it’s also all the supportive administrative processes. So we have big back-office support to generate data to demonstrate the integrity of our products. And in those processes there was a huge opportunity as well to improve introducing RPA, getting unstructured data, structured, and accessible to people to make better decisions. So I must admit I’m super excited about this notion of being a 95-year-old company and rethinking the core of how we perform our key processes.

[06:30] Radu Palamariu:

And I want to ask you in terms of, if you make an exercise of imagination and also working on your objectives, what do you think your supply chain organization and capabilities will look like in three to five years down the line? What would have improved and how would it look like?

[06:51] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

I would say to a large extent we would have automated many of the things we do today. I believed by acessing data, ensuring data quality is high. We can allow, automization of many of the decision and planning processes we have today. That means we can upgrade our focus to work more on development together with our colleagues across the company on upgrading our business model in terms of providing scenario, evaluations. And you can see people become more sophisticated in how we approach our opportunities and even more up front in predicting things that can disrupt and address these more proactively than we do today. So, I foresee a shift of focus from here and now, planning, effort from any of the people in the supply chain to forcing, predicting and mitigating risks, scenarios and optimization opportunities.

[08:03] Radu Palamariu:

In terms of specifically from now to then and to bring it to make it sort of bring it down to the practicality for some of the listeners that have many challenges themselves and of course, you have your own set of challenges. So, I’d like to also ask you from that perspective of main problems and challenges that lie ahead of you in order to achieve that, what do you see as some of the top ones that you will need to overcome?

[08:30] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

Well first and foremost, I think for every one of us, it is getting the quality of our data in control. So, we do have still an effort to go to make sure that the data we work on that we try to become more sophisticated on holds the right level of quality. It is real-time and it is accessible so, there are a lot of infrastructural elements that needs to come together before we can change our focus from the task that we have today and that’s an ongoing effort. It’s a journey we’ve already been on for some time. I would still say that from a very practical perspective, we still need to invest into ensuring the quality of our master data, how will it reflects the reality in our value chain, our transactional data quality and the timely accessibility of that and down into the factory floor, getting access to the data that helps us understand, upcoming disruption. So there is a lot still to do even though I think we’ve come far still in terms of ensuring infrastructure in data quality.

[09:42] Radu Palamariu:

I wanted to ask you, specifically, so that is on the data side. How about the soft element of mindset of people’s side? Do you see any challenges around that, because usually when it comes to changes and it’s an ongoing change in today’s work really, but usually we as humans are a little bit reluctant to change? Do you see that as potentially a challenge as well? The constant retraining, reskilling, learn under, and then we learn a type of situation and how do you normally address that?

[10:19] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

You’re actually touching on the most important point? I think when I listen in on the digital transformation journey of many companies, there is a strong emphasis on onboarding the new talents, the digital natives. I actually think the bigger challenge that is upscaling and onboarding the existing organization. And one of my realizations was that I needed to list, not only into the onboarding of new skills but actually into, the skill level and understanding my management teams, my direct reports, their management teams. Actually I saw managers being a barrier to making or conducting the transformation because they were ignorant of the opportunities. So, a lot of what we spend time in the past two years period has been in terms of exposing our leaders to the opportunities by visiting institutions that are more mature than ours.

[11:21] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

Visiting other industries is also, I cannot expect my leadership team to drive forward the transformation I want to see unless I also invest in their resources and that is the truth for all layers of the organization. The legacy or organization needs to be part of the journey, and we need to make sure we invest in that as well. So, I would much rather train an operator in the ability to a program and then I would provide an app that would ease the work and that’s what we’re trying to do. We are onboarding our technicians our operators, our academics, our leaders in terms of understanding what are the opportunities and giving them the basic skills thereby they can start pulling the solutions where they see the value. Because another danger is, and I think many companies struggle with that is there is a hype around the technologies.

[12:17] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

And so if you push technology into the organization, dangerous, it doesn’t deliver value, the adoption rate is slow because people are not very excited about it. It’s pushed on them rather than it becomes a poor where the actual need is. So, I would rather make that investment and have my organization pull the actual value, adding opportunities into their operations and by being inspired, and enthusiastic about the opportunities that they can see once they begin to understand some of the things’ technology can do for them. So, people are as much part of the journey, if not even more than understanding the technological opportunities.

[13:05] Radu Palamariu:

For sure and it’s quite a task to accomplish. So, on top of your mind, and I know that sometimes is not easy to remember all these numbers, but maybe would you have some sense of, success KPIs or success numbers or achievements in terms of what you’ve managed to drive by doing so? Whether it is a cost, whether it is optimization, whether it is effectiveness, whatever might be the measured that you’ve seen or that you’ve measured the success of this initiative.

[13:41] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

The first objective we set was actually more than of harmonizing our approach to our businesses because we didn’t even have a language to talk about our planning. We didn’t really have a proper understanding of what defined the sizes of our inventories. We didn’t have a coherent measurement system in terms of our service levels. So, whereas my vision and ambition was to think of it into integration, my main story from the very beginning was getting the basics right. It was getting everyone out of their individual planning system into one global ERP platform. It was closing the gap in our planning system to have everyone working in the system. It was to develop the planning functions in our current system that wasn’t there. It was developing, the framework of how we defined our inventories.

[14:42] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

Up until then, I would say it was, more so a function of experience and individual preferences. Then, it was actually an inventory management system that was defined based on design of the supply chain. So, my initial part was less pressing on KPIs, more so talking about getting a harmonized approach to how we were running the supply chain, getting our measurement systems in place and having, a coherent approach, to pretty basic supply chain things only. Then after that, we started becoming more ambitious in terms of how we could integrate more across the chain and adding onto that what we’ve most recently been investing quite a lot in is the analytics. How do we get the full transparency? How do we know who make the right decisions based on data that everyone trusts us to actually move away from discussing whether the data is right, to having discussions where we don’t discuss data, but actually discuss what are the business opportunities that we should pursue.

[15:56] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

So the journey took a offstart or an offset, in connecting the organization. So our ability to supply patients has always been a very high priority. It’s chronicle diseases, patients do not easily shift around between products. We serve this as you mentioned in the very beginning, 29 million patients across the global hundred 70 countries. We do that no matter the turbulence that maybe there due to political turmoil, natural disasters, war zones will supply anything. So, we have throughout keep a very high circle. What’s been more, my attention points has been the efficiency in terms of delivering to that high service level.

[16:51] Radu Palamariu:

That’s fantastic and its true business partnering, that’s what we would call supply chain as being a true strategic business partner. And great to hear that you are involved even at such an early stage in terms of the product development, which makes a lot of sense once you have the right data in place and I guess this question popped into my mind and I would make a little bit of a link and I heard it that the conference recently, I don’t know if the statistic is correct or not, but there was a number which was extremely high in my mind, but it’s probably close to reality which said that most of the manufacturing as legend organizations and this is not mostly MNCs but it’s smaller medium-sized companies as well, still rely heavily on Excel, and they don’t have a centralized data and so on and so forth.

[17:39] Radu Palamariu:

Obviously, Novo Nordisk and a lot of other companies that top fortune 500 or top fortune 100 have a lot of advancements in supply chain. But I want to throw you these scenarios and if you were in the shoes of maybe a smaller company, maybe less access to all the techs or you’re running steel, a lot of the supply chain in Excel, what would be some of the basic fundamental steps that you will take to digitize fast or fastest or the low hanging fruit and the basic principles that you will do to get them up to speed sooner is because a lot of organizations are in that situation where they’re unfortunately or fortunately, that’s just the reality. They’re still a kind of incipiently starting on the journey, and they don’t know what to do first. So, what would be your thoughts to this question?

[18:27] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

Of course, the steps into the analytics world, takes an offset in what is the most critical performance parameters? So I would certainly start out by saying where do I have my biggest question marks? What is the most critical agenda item to be addressed and start building the data around that? So no doubt that I would start with my most critical business process, it’s not a huge team that started this off. I’d even say less than 10 people so I would say smaller companies can do this too. The importance becomes making data accessible, becomes trusting your data that you need abilities to clean that out. But, that’s not the effort of the big organization. That can actually be done by a few good data guys. So, probably make an investment in, if not, those are already in the company to hire in a few to help you do that.

[19:28] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

There are a lot of good visualization tools, available data is great, but data that is not converted into intelligence it’s not that exciting. So, you need to be able to present it in a way that it becomes an intelligence for you on that business topic that is most critical and then I would say intelligence is worth nothing if it is not converted to actions. And so take that what you see and make sure that you act on it. One of the concerns I had, when I saw started seeing the dashboards evolving, was, are we actually use them now? Is this just a hype of being able to visualize things we didn’t see before or is thhe action actually happening? So, I did a lot of walking around trying to, visit the dashboards to know that we were actually taking actions on the back of those.

[20:26] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

And so data converted to intelligence, intelligence converted to actions is really the journey. So, start small and start with the most critical business aspects. If you need to hire in a few people to help you do that, good and not necessarily huge systems needed to get started. Then once you pick up on those impacts that you’re able to create, hopefully, that allows you to reinvest into building a stronger muscle. And that’s basically how we’ve gone about it. We didn’t start out with a big program on this, we didn’t start out establishing a big organization, we started out with a handful of people. Once we saw the effect and the impact it created, we added more resources into it and today the fact that I have more 400 data stewards being able to help themselves to a large extent, and we drive this kind of self-service environment.

[21:21] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

My central team, is across manufacturing and supply chain is probably 30 people at this point in time, and they work on the more complicated matters they go out and help in the line organization. And so the pull from the line organization basically then means that I know that I’m creating business impact because the line organization would not pull on my central team unless it was actually making a difference for them. So, I do central led, but I also, to a large extent believe in the distributed knowledge. Also, goes for how we work with robotics, how we work with different types of digital tool, a push of knowledge and the push up capabilities. But a very strong proof, from the broader organization, is how I would like to go about it. I don’t believe in this central push of solutions as the only means of driving transformation.

[22:19] Radu Palamariu

Got it. Moving the conversation slightly to the agility and flexibility required for the global supply chain and you run a big global scope of 170 countries and there is a differences between established markets versus emerging markets. And this, as you rightfully said, high volatility of demand for emerging markets. How do you build that, agility and flexibility in your supply chain to make sure you’re not caught by surprise, maybe some principles?

[22:54] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

I would talk to them in two different aspects then. One is, of course, a very close collaboration with the markets to get the best signals I can from the market. So, the fact that whatever is picked up in the local markets are in a structured manner feeding into our planning decisions. So, that’s one element of it that I understand what could potentially happen, that I can at least bring that into the scenarios. I do particularly I would say around launches where we see in our business the most positively. Once we start developing the market to a large extent, patients are loyal, and we don’t see the volatility that fasts moving consumer goods do not fall for chronicle diseases. So, volatilities then we’ll relate it to a tender market versus the other markets so that creates some turbulence.

[23:56] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

But picking up demand signals in an efficient manner is one element of it. Another element that is developing the responsiveness within the supply chain. How fast can we act on the decisions that we see? And that, of course, is again down to how we design the supply chain. Where are we decoupling, how fast is the lead time within our facilities? Distinguishing between the product portfolios that require, that has a higher mix. For instance, differentiating our lines so that we know some sort of steadiy stable markets. And some factories and lines and organizations are designed to fit more the responsiveness of fast times or fast changeovers. So, and then which we’re looking at and working on how can we modularized for instance in the device area that I’m responsible for, how do we modularize our products that we postponed variations as far down the chain as we possibly can. And that is actually an effort that takes place when we work with the development organization to make sure that is helping us to build the right level of responsiveness later on.

[25:19] Radu Palamariu:

I wanted to ask you in terms of your suppliers, because there are some really good case studies that you mentioned in the past we’ve picked up on collaborating with your suppliers and especially because you don’t have a strictly to protect the IP, then you can share a lot of things and you can develop long-term relationships to the point where you are sharing that you invite them to your factory, you do joint value stream mapping together. Could you share with us, some case studies of collaboration maybe for other people within supply chain and manufacturing to learn from on how to work best with their suppliers?

[25:56] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

Yes, I strongly believe in partnerships. As we talked about it internally, the company of course that also goes externally the company. I think we missed out on the potential, whenever we tried to stay. I truly believe in trying to join the agendas and it seems we would rather have long-lasting relationship with our suppliers. There’s very good reasons to try to form common agendas. So, what we’ve done, let me pick out a couple of examples. We’ve sat down with some suppliers and done value stream maps together internally we take, when we go on and on an optimization journey to a large extent, we will do very started out with saying, let’s try to map out what’s happening today. Sitting down with the supplier to see what is that value stream look like when it cuts across the companies is actually an interesting one.

[26:56] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

Sometimes, we find that the requirements we’re pushing on the supplier, so how we communicate our demand or controls where we’re asking for, is maybe not filling their systems very well, and sometimes we don’t even know all the good stuff we can get from a supplier on this, we go through that exercise. So, trying to put together a jointing doing joint value stream maps, figuring out how can we align our processes internally, has uncovered a very nice potential fields. In terms of removing redundant work or just trying to help each other out improve. We also have areas where we have outsourced the majority 89% of our processes was still doing some internally. Quite often when we say we meet suppliers, and we say, let’s share what best looks like, they’re a little hesitant at first because they’re thinking all, you’re only doing this because we don’t have a competitive advantage any longer.

[28:00] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

We invite them in to our factories to see how we’re doing, sharing our better practices, sharing with themwhat we find is difficult and allow them to look in depth into many of our processes. And those kind of opens up a dialogue where we can sit down the technical teams and talk about what are the learning or the experience that we’ve built up over the years to drive really high efficiencies. And over time that mutual trust that we both parties gain more from that close collaboration develops. And then I’m a strong believer, of course we have intellectual property we need to protect, but there are so many opportunities to share. And then, doing that is built close collaborations but also helps us develop. And I do also humbly believe that we sometimes help our suppliers develop their businesses as well in terms of how, they set up or the choices they make, in their factories. We have teams meet up even at operator levels to share experiences and see how can we do that. Particularly when we have similar processes internally and externally. So, partnering, is a big thing in my mind, and we need to become even better at that. Also, when we talked on the environmental journey without partnerships there, we are never going to achieve the objectives we put up.

[29:42] Radu Palamariu

On that subject, we are all in it together. Businesses, organizations, government and all the like pretty much. Moving to the last part of the discussion, I wanted to bring up the subject of talent, the subject of skills and future proofing the supply chain talent needed in organizations. You mentioned in an interview that, in terms of how you understand management and managing teams that you would rather those people stretch themselves and play safe. And I wanted to start with that and ask you what does that mean to you? How does that translate in your management style in the way that you recruit and develop your leaders at Novo Nordisk?

[30:24] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

It’s interesting you’ve picked this up. Fundamentally, I would at all times prefer an organization that is daring. I think any job description or any current doing always has the opportunity to push the boundaries and do more and having people or asking people to be daring. You can do that in words, but it doesn’t mean a lot. It is about creating an environment in which people feel safe to be daring. So, that actually comes back to me and any leader in the team knows – your kind of get the organization you deserve. And unless you create and promote a culture and an environment in which people feel safe to experiment and push the boundaries of what can be done, it will not happen. I cannot ask people to think out of the box or be creative or innovative.

[31:22] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

It’s just words. But I can create an environment in which people dare to and where they see that this is promoted, acknowledged, and stimulated. And so, I will always ask my people, how do you know what good looks like? Who inspires you? What could we dream of? Where can we learn? I mean this type of not being, content with current state, but let’s see how can we push the boundaries. But it all really boils down to have I deserved the trust of my organization, that they actually dare to take those steps. And when things are not going as expected, or we are failing on elements. How I deal with that is probably the most important moment because if I react to that in a manner of disappointment or I’m upset with it then that sets the tone for the next time.

[32:22] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

Being curious then on the learning or should we try it again? What can we do different next time or let’s try to go another route? Those type questions are becoming the proof to my organization that I’m willing also to take on failure on the journey to do great. So, to me this thing of stretching an organization or having people that are willing to stretch themselves actually stands at the foundation of trust. And I think there’s, as I said, only one way to go about that. That is making sure you actually to serve that trust of people from your organization. Then, I’m a rather patient person myself and I do love to go new ways. So, being on a learning journey, exposing myself to new ways of going about things, trying things out is a personal belief as well. I get a lot of energy from trying out new things and going new ways, and so I put myself out to stay curious, to learn new things.

[33:22] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

I push my management team to go out and learn. Visit companies, different industries, academia, what do we do to stay current? I actually think sometimes leaders and managers can be the barrier to transformation because of lack of knowledge or insights or because of too much pride in what we’ve accomplished up until now. I would rather try to be an environment of humbleness where we know there’s always more we can learn, always more organizations that can inspire us and create a culture of curiosity. So, that’s what I mean when I say let’s try to see how we get an organization that’s rather willing to stretch than to play safe and it’s just more exciting to be in such an environment.

[34:17] Radu Palamariu:

For sure. And I loved also, I was reading that you use one of the African Proverbs that I also personally resonate a lot with, in terms of working with the team. And then the proverb goes like this. If you wished to travel fast travel alone, if you wished to travel far, travel together and, you were saying that you always prefer to travel together. So, I think that’s a very good mantra and also you’ve kind of highlighted it all throughout our discussion. So, when you mentioned suppliers and I heard it very strongly from you as well as when it comes to your management style. So that’s a great, way to approach things I think and the team will always have more perspectives and a better judgment than one individual for sure and I wanted to ask you a big question that it’s on top of the most agendas of companies. It’s like it’s bigger sustainability I guess and nowadays or on the same page, which is gender diversity and gender diversity in supply chain is a big topic. You’re a great example of that you’re a woman in the top echelon of supply chain and I wanted to ask for your perspective of how and what can companies do to encourage more women in senior positions, in management positions, in supply chain and specifically because there that tends to be a bit of a discrepancy still in terms of the ratio?

[35:41] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

It’s a question l get and I always find it really difficult to answer. The fact of the matter is that I don’t necessarily think a lot about my gender when I engage, in meetings or doing. I’m looking at the task more so, but I do realize that the statistics are definitely not reflecting the population, in the organization and the same is the case of the company I worked on when I go to conferences or meeting, I do see an imbalance in gender. So, I think there is an unconscious bias. I also think I may be as guilty as anyone else. So, I don’t think that is particularly men being biased. I think there is a bias sometimes to promote people that look more like yourself and since there are more men at the top, they are probably more likely to promote more men that likes to have the same preferences in life that they do themselves.

[36:49] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

And, so I think there was what we’ve done in Nova Nordisk is working quite a bit with the unconscious bias, not only on the gender but on multiple dimensions and I do think that’s a good starting point. Then, I think there was a need to be deliberately pushing ahead female talent as well. So to make sure in the talent programs there is a fair distribution representing the population in the organization and then you can start drilling that down. If that is the case, then you need to start becoming better at spotting your diverse talents but not only on gender. Actually also on probably could be educational background, experience, working style. I think it’s interesting to talk about diversity on many aspects but I do think pushing ahead on the talent part is probably the most favorite way of going about it. So, I’ll make sure that when we send candidates for talent program, so when I pick out people to drive initiatives, that is a diverse population. I believe that builds the leaders of the future. I’m not in for the quotas. I sometimes asked about that as well, I don’t think that is a respectful manner to go about promoting diversity. I believe, in focusing on talent management and killing whatever biases maybe there.

[38:22] Radu Palamariu:

Big topic that I wanted to ask you about is sustainability because it’s very high and it should be very high on everybody’s agendas and on organizations agenda and I know that you do, number of initiatives in the area of sustainability and the circular economy, and maybe you can tell us a little about that.

[38:36] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

The circularity or the sustainability agenda has actually been with us for, quite a number of years, 20 plus years Novo Nordisk has worked with our environmental footprint, and we report out on the triple bottom line, our financial performance, our social and environmental performance is reported out in one report every quarter. So, it’s very high on the agenda and has been so for many years and I’m really proud to say that by 2020, all of our manufacturing facilities will be supplied with renewable energy. We have built capacity around our factories by working in partnerships to create solutions that being windmills or solar power plants that would supply our factories to the tune that we are 100% covered in our supply chain by 2020. Circularity is also an agenda that’s been with us for some time.

[39:51] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

We’ve worked in a symbiosis of 27 companies in one of our areas. Making sure that the waste of one company became the resource of another very exciting things. We just launched recently our new environmental strategy those aims towards 2030, and it is under the headline of circular for zero. We want to make sure that we collaborate with our suppliers to find solutions, to eliminate our environmental footprint. We want with all the choices we make internally, the company to redesign, to make sure that we leave no nowhere environment to impact. And we want to redesign and look at our products to see how can we change our products to the circular principles. Actually also the end of life waste challenge that is associated with our products. So, we’ve just launched the new strategy and it certainly a very aggressive one that we are now having mobilized the whole organizations to find solution to together with our partners as much as bringing along everyone in the company to find the solutions to do this.

[41:07] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

And that is exciting times. It is how can we work with our transportation partners to make sure that there was a zero seal omission coming from, that when we can only do that in partnership, not as individual companies, but make sure that our suppliers with us on the journey. It is working and favoring suppliers that are thinking environmentally sustainable solutions as well. We want to make sure that 50% of our key materials are sustainable by 2030, that we have zero CO2 footprint from our key suppliers by 2030 and that we can find solutions for half of the products that we have out there by 2030. So quite radically rethinking the footprint. Ultimately we want to go for zero impact across the board.

[42:06] Radu Palamariu:

That’s fantastic and the sooner the better. We definitely needed them. The planet definitely needs it. Final question from me Susanne. What is the best career advice you have received? You have come a long way. You have had an incredible journey and incredible career and looking back and especially we have a lot of young people and professionals listening to this. We have, mid-level professionals, we have senior professionals. What would be a piece of advice that you’ve received and that helped you a lot through the journey?

[42:38] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

Well, there is a couple of good advice I’ve gotten. I think one of the simple ones is this one of being yourself. I think I was so impressed with when I was right out of school, when I met senior executives and thing, but I would say that at the starting point please just be true to your own beliefs. Be true to your own personality, be true to the thought that you have, and voice out what you think and not trying to be too much a mirror of what you think other people may expect of you. It’s a very simple advice, but at all times I prefer to be surrounded by people that are just speaking their voice and being themselves rather than trying to be something they are not. I’m sorry, it’s that simple. Second thing that I’ve learned in advice and that I also promote to people is that thing that the job that you’ve been granted is, just this starting point in all positions.

[43:41] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

Depending on your energy, your experience, your visions, there is a possibility to push the boundaries. So, your initial job description, that’s basically just filling the minimum but apply or push the boundaries of any job, the job content where you think that you can make a real difference. So, that’s why I also like to rotate people in my organization. Not because I think I’m addressing something that’s not working, but because new eyes will see new opportunities and if people always try to apply and go where their enthusiasm and the energy is, they will push the boundaries to what can be done. And so at certain points you’ve come so far in a job, someone else’s needs to come along and push new ways. Then for myself, what I try to do is I’d try to push myself as well in terms of my knowledge, my understanding, at this moment in times is educating myself on technologies that weren’t there when I took my engineering degree 25 years ago. So, that I can start pushing the boundaries of my current job, my current understanding of what can be done. So, be yourself and push boundaries would be probably be the two key points I would promote.

[45:14] Radu Palamariu

Thank you, Susanne. Great advice and many thanks for all the good sharing and case studies and examples and in concrete the stories that you shared with us in the transformation journey thus far in Novo Nordisk. And good luck to keep it running, to keep pushing the boundaries and to keep traveling far by traveling together.

[45:35] Susanne Hundsbaek-Pedersen:

Thank you.

[45:37] Radu Palamariu:

Thank you for listening to our podcast. If you like what you heard, be sure to go to www.alcottglobal.com and click the podcast button for all the show notes of the interview. Also subscribe to our mailing list to get our latest updates first. If you’re listening through a streaming platform like iTunes, Spotify, or Stitcher, we would appreciate a kind review five-star works best to keep us going and our production team happy and of course share it with your friends. I’m most active on LinkedIn, so do feel free to follow me and if you have any suggestions on what to do and who to invite next, don’t hesitate to drop me a note. And if you’re looking to hire top executives in supply chain or transform your business, of course, contact us as well to find out how we can help.


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