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At Let’s Talk Supply Chain, we think it’s important to elevate the voices of the female trailblazers who are boldly changing the face of our community. That’s why every month we highlight a woman leader in the industry on our blog. We share the stories, achievements, and advice for other women coming up the ranks in supply chain.
This month we’re proud to feature Daria Kremenskaia in our Women in Supply Chain blog series. Daria is a business development manager in the Netherlands for CargoSnap. She is a supply chain veteran with over two decades of experience in Logistics.
- How did your supply chain journey start?
As the daughter and granddaughter of merchant navy captains, my journey started early—sailing the Russian North with my father as a child on board a vessel carrying timber or supplies to smaller villages. It left an everlasting imprint on my memories of childhood and my life.
Since I was old enough, every summer I worked in shipping and forwarding companies—learning about cargo manifests, bills of lading, stowage plans and so forth. After my studies, the going into shipping was the obvious choice. What I didn’t realize is how little people who aren’t involved in shipping know about shipping.
I was always surprised at the reaction of others when I would answer where I work. “Ooh, you work for a cruise company”, or, “ooh, you send parcels”. When you aren’t in this amazing, crazy world of movement of cargo, you simply can’t comprehend the level of complexity.
That’s why I try to make that journey more visible. Everybody talks about supply chain visibility, and I think as a company at CargoSnap we’ve made significant strides in making that happen.
So, that’s when I took every single booklet of every single major my university offered. I flipped through every page and happened upon logistics and supply chain. I interviewed some of the seniors and figured it might be a subject I could enjoy. It was a big decision to actually sign up and go to the classes.
And I told myself that there was no going back, taking full responsibility for my decision. Fortunately, the more I learned, the more exciting it became. It felt so at home—I made the right decision.
2. What makes the supply chain journey remarkable?
Almost everything around us is from somewhere else. For example farm produce. That had to be picked up by truck; maybe bagged; inspected; reloaded onto a pallet; secured; stored at a warehouse; then loaded into a container or a ship. All before being transported across the vast seas to some other ports, where it would be discharged; inspected; reloaded; stored elsewhere; then probably reloaded again on a truck to a distribution center.
It is a huge, complicated journey for everything around us that I’ve always found fascinating.
3. What challenges have moved you forward in your career?
The main obstacle—it hasn’t always been easy to be taken seriously in the beginning—a woman in shipping starting out at a very young age. I have seen it all. This male-dominated business has only shown its ugly face to me a few times. But shake it off and move on and become stronger.
And because reputation is all that matters, as you grow and work hard and honest, trust is built wherever necessary.
4. Speaking of those challenges, what does it take to be a woman in supply chain
It takes balls to be in this business. It takes dedication, hard headedness and character. You work hard, you are also expected to play hard. And you do, to a point. But I love to tell my kids (son and a daughter) about things I’ve done, and places I have been where not many people would dare to go to obtain business, like Haiti. But you do, you take more risks then men. Because there are other things in life but work so it’s easier.
5. What advice do you have for women in supply chain?
Don’t change who you are, put your foot down when it is right, and enjoy your work. Supply chain is a multi-layered cake: you need to be the chains, and the missing link in the chain, and the next step in the chain. Prediction is prevention so always (always) look 10 steps ahead.
6. What risks have you taken?
I have not changed many jobs. When I did, it was always because something didn’t feel right. Whether the balance of home and work was becoming a mess, or the position really was not for me. My prior position was completely wrong for me with repetitive work. So, I left quite quickly.
Most importantly, be honest with yourself. If something isn’t right, take the plunge and make that change.
7. How do you balance work and family?
Before I was absolutely rubbish at finding a balance, hence my divorce. I was travelling too much, working way too much and not seeing my kids enough. Now, I am lucky I can work from home at times as well. I still work hard, but at hours that are a bit more flexible. I have my boss to thank for that, again I am extremely lucky.
Work is hugely important, but one cannot forego the love and the responsibilities that your family life brings. If you do, it will hit you in the face eventually.\
8. What needs to change in supply chain?
Supply chain is not an old concept, but it has great opportunities now for innovation. It is not an exhausted field, and it is dying for new ideas and creativity. We can all bargain for prices but can you work on the puzzle of how to make improvements without cutting physical costs?
9. What do you want generation Z to know about supply chain?
Ask yourself two questions: First, is this really the industry or job that you want? And second, what’s your passion that will keep you going when you don’t want to do it anymore?
Do a lot research and some soul searching. Find somewhere in the supply chain where you can incorporate your vision and passion and then try to link the two and pursue it. That can be your niche.
10. What’s next for you?
I’m continuing on the road that I am, because this is part of the future. At CargoSnap, we are educating people with our solution, we show them that supply chain can be different, it can be better. The focus nowadays is on how to make it easier for everyone, and that is what we are trying to do, making old processes easier.