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Ravina Govender

Director Quality Assurance, South Africa

What do you believe you bring to the supply chain industry as a woman?

While women have made significant strides in the fight for equality, gender disparity still exists in many prominent industries, including Logistics and Supply Chain. I believe that women bring their natural skillset of multitasking to any task that they perform. Having to constantly juggle the work–family dynamic makes us experts at handling multiple activities at a time and there is no better place to put this skillset to use than in supply chain. There are always numerous wheels in motion at any one time and we need to be able to balance them all to be able to deliver great service to our customers and clients.

The reality is that women bring a different perspective into the organisation and the Supply Chain industry.  We are more collaborative in our approach, and more inclusive from a people partnership and management aspect.

My role as Quality Director and part of the Board of Directors at DSV Healthcare allows me to use my natural collaboration, communication and relationship building skills to build a resilient team

What do you attribute your success in supply chain to?

Passion and Persistence have been my driving force since completing my Pharmacist qualification.

As a student, supply chain was not even a field of pharmacy that we were taught about. I envisioned a future as a Retail Pharmacist, owning my own community pharmacy. During my internship year, it became abundantly clear to me that this was not where my future laid. The main thing I learnt during that year is how aggressive people become once they’ve run out of their medical aid.

I love the diversity of supply chain and the fact that every day presents a different challenge and a new opportunity to learn. I think that I could end my working career still not having learnt everything that this challenging industry has to teach.

I also really enjoy the people element of supply chain. I spent some time in my career working as a Registration Pharmacist, registering new drugs with SAHPRA. I could spend an entire day at the office without the need to interact with another person in order to do my job and I absolutely hated it. I love the variety of people and personalities that I get to interact with daily.

Regarding my success, I would say that I have never been afraid of taking on new roles, even those outside of the pharmacy profession. During my first 2 years in logistics, I had worked in every pharmacist role that the warehouse had to offer. I then moved into Operational roles such as Returns and Stock Controlling HOD positions in order to gain more experience. It is this knowledge that I rely on almost every day in order to do my current job well.

What advice would you give to young women considering entering the supply chain industry?

I think that in the past women may have been reluctant to join this industry due to the physical work involved. With the high level of automation that exists today (the Meadowview facility being a perfect example) this is clearly no longer a deterring factor and it is important for women considering entering the logistics space to understand this.

Whilst the industry is still male dominated, it is important that women understand the incredible value that we bring into this industry.  Our strength as females lies not in our ability to be like men, it lies in our ability to be authentic, to be nurturing and to be flexible in the ever-changing world of work.

The best advice I could offer is to never be afraid of the unknown. Your life will hardly ever follow the picture in your head, so while you can grasp every opportunity to explore and learn. You'll never know what opportunity may present itself around the corner.

I would like to leave you with this quote by Kavitha Ramdas : “We need women who are so strong they can be gentle, so educated they can be humble, so fierce, they can be compassionate, so passionate they can be rational, and so disciplined they can be free”

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