Over the past decade, young supply chain professionals have faced unprecedented challenges—natural disasters, economic disruptions, and most recently, a global pandemic. While those challenges have proved to be daunting, many of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals’ (CSCMP’s) younger members have viewed them as incomparable learning experiences, tackling them with determination and commitment.
To honor that commitment, each year CSCMP’s Young Professionals Committee recognizes those supply chain professionals under the age of 35 who are already making a mark on the profession. The committee selects individuals who have gone above and beyond—not just weathering current challenges but actually thriving in the face of adversity.
This year’s Emerging Leader Award winner is Gleb Mikulich, operations manager at driveMybox Italy, a digital platform for container transport. He was chosen because of his career accomplishments and his record of achievement in the supply chain profession, as evidenced by awards, peer recognition, and recommendations.
Milulich was honored at CSCMP’s 2021 EDGE Conference in September. He recently spoke with CSCMP’s Supply Chain Quarterly Managing Editor Diane Rand about several of his memorable career experiences so far.
NAME: Gleb Mikulich
TITLE: Operations Manager at driveMybox Italy
EDUCATION: Master of Science in Industrial Engineering from Belarusian State Technological University and a Master of Science in International Management from University of Trento in Italy
PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: Senior Supply Chain Consultant at ToolsGroup; Supply Chain and Operations Consultant for Accenture; Founder of freelance consulting agency SCDataLabs; Founder and CEO of digital marketing agency Belwebmasters
LEADERSHIP: Young Professionals Chair, Global Sustainability Committee Member, and Global Ambassador at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP)
HONORS: CSCMP Young Professionals Emerging Leader Award 2021
You’ve been working in the supply chain field for the past eight years. What initially attracted you to the supply chain management profession?
I’ve been always attracted by its complexity and infinite list of issues that can be solved in traditional or digital ways. When you work in supply chain, every day brings you new challenges and you never have a routine.
If you get tired of the area of supply chain where you work, you can move to another one. You can have more than one career and remain in supply chain.
For example, I started in production, switched to consulting and digital transformations, moved to supply chain planning and data analytics, and have recently joined driveMybox Italy which is transforming the world of container logistics.
In your previous job at the supply chain software company ToolsGroup, you had the opportunity to work on several projects. Is there one that you’ve found to be particularly interesting or beneficial? If so, why?
ToolsGroup gave me a chance to work on a lot of interesting and challenging projects. However, the Supply Chain Forecast & Inventory app, one of the last projects I worked on, is the one I will remember the most.
This app is a pay-as-you-go demand forecasting and inventory optimization tool for small and medium companies that would like to benefit from sophisticated algorithms and machine learning but may have a limited budget.
During this project I was exposed to all the stages [of launching an application]—starting from product development, to sales pitches and deals closing, and finishing up with implementation and receiving positive feedback from clients.
It was an extremely enriching experience for which I am very thankful to Francesco Stolfo (vice president of business development) and Leo Cataldino (head of pre-sales Italy).
Before starting your job at ToolsGroup, you spent several years at the consultancy Accenture. How did that experience prepare you for your role as consultant of supply chain digital transformation projects at ToolsGroup?
Accenture and other big consulting companies offer a perfect entry point for new graduates. They give you an opportunity to learn about the business world and its dynamics and trends. They also provide you with an overview of different industries and processes while helping you build up your professional network in a relatively short period of time. And, if you’re lucky enough, you will have a chance to travel and work on international assignments.
How do you feel the pandemic has changed the supply chain landscape with regards to digital transformation initiatives?
The pandemic has disturbed and unbalanced the supply chain to the extreme. I strongly believe that the current effects are just the beginning of the storm, which will last for the next three to four years.
At the same time, the pandemic has uncovered a lot of issues in the supply chain that have existed for many years but have been hidden. However, these issues could potentially be resolved with digital transformation initiatives. So, I personally consider this time as the golden age of digital transformation initiatives in supply chain.
You speak English, Italian, and Russian. How has being fluent in several different languages helped you in your career?
Up to now, I’ve lived and worked in six countries and done projects in more than 15 countries. Based on my experience, being fluent in several different languages gives you personal and professional freedom. It increases your chances to get a job or a project you like. Knowledge of several languages helps you understand cultural differences and create strong and lasting personal or professional connections.
If you were to speak to a class of supply chain management students, what advice would you give them?
Keep the balance in your studies and develop your soft and hard skills equally because in supply chain, you must deal with both the human world and the digital world on daily basis.
What goals do you have for yourself for the next 10 years?
Ten years is an extremely long period, and I haven’t planned that far out. I know that I’ll remain in supply chain, I still have so many areas to discover and explore.
In addition, I’ve recently changed my job and moved to container logistics, so, for the moment, my main goal is to learn this field in detail and transform it with the help of the driveMybox team.
Do you see any big trends in the supply chain that you feel will have a large impact on the industry’s future?
I would say the big trend now is a “smart digitalization.” Thanks to COVID-19, we’ve realized that even the most sophisticated digital solutions need people and can’t manage certain situations autonomously. So, in my opinion, companies have stopped doing digital transformation just for the sake of transformation. Instead, they have finally realized that they need to review the processes first, make sure that they’re in line with the current global situation, and then—only if it’s necessary—transform them digitally.