Elizabeth Richter, who is currently serving as chief of staff for the chief procurement and supply chain officer at contract manufacturer Flex, describes her current job as “supply chain heaven.” She has made her mark on her company with a focus on excellence and new challenges and is building a promising supply chain career. She was recognized by the 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars recognition program, a jointly sponsored initiative of ThomasNet and the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).
At Flex, Richter has been able to take part in leadership program rotations that gave her a wealth of experience including, in addition to her current role, a customer facing role, real-time asset velocity tracking, and driving the rail- and-road initiative while based in Hong Kong.
Richter also does her part outside the organization by helping encourage the next generation of supply chain pros. She serves as trustee of a charitable foundation where she manages a scholarship program for undergrads in supply management. She also serves as the vice president of professional development for Institute for Supply Chain Management (ISM)—Silicon Valley.
We sat down with Richter to get her thoughts on having a supply chain career in the high-tech electronics industry. We also wanted to find out more about what smart organizations can do attract and retain the brightest and best talent available.
EBN: You call Flex “supply chain heaven.” What makes it that? Can you tell us more about the supply chain leadership program at Flex?
Richter: I do think it is that. I can’t imagine a better place than Flex to learn the ins and outs of supply chain management. We are in 12 different verticals. We run a bunch of different mini supply chains under one umbrella which makes it very complex. That’s how I started viewing it once I started here. The leadership program was created by our chief procurement and supply chain officer, Tom Linton. His vision is to cultivate young professionals because he loves to give back to the profession. His idea was to give emerging professionals plenty of experience. He runs the program and hand picks the participants, no more than 10 at a time. We are getting 20 years of experience in just two, he says. We rotate throughout his organization and get opportunities to see supply chain management, finance, logistics, etc. We get to see so many different facets of the supply chain in the two-year program plus we get international experience.
I got to relocate to Hong Kong. It was an amazing opportunity and living abroad was quite the experience. I was tasked with researching how the Belt and Road Initiative might affect our customers and look at how Flex can benefit from it. I was also able to work with some of our third-party logistics providers and renegotiate some of our contacts. We are all post-graduate employees.