#62: Susanne Hundsbæk-Pedersen Senior Vice President at Novo Nordisk

#62: Susanne Hundsbæk-Pedersen Senior Vice President at Novo Nordisk Featured Image

Susanne Hundsbæk-Pedersen is the Senior Vice President – Devices and Supply Chain Management of Novo Nordisk. Novo Nordisk has been producing insulin and helping people cope with diabetes for more than 90 years. Today it supplies half of the world’s insulin and serves 28 million patients in around 170 countries. Employing approximately 41,400 people globally.

Susanne joined Novo Nordisk in 2002 and has since then been holding positions as head of Procurement, Divisional CFO for Global Product Supply and IT before taking up her current position as Senior Vice President of Devices & Supply Chain Management.

Susanne is responsible for the global end-to-end Supply Chain Management operations ranging from the procurement function across manufacturing planning and the distribution to 70 global affiliates serving 170 countries. Furthermore, Susanne is responsible for the manufacturing development of assembly and packaging operations across global sites. Her organization bridges efforts in R&D with Operations with a global reach across US, Brazil, Europe and China and manufacturing set-up which includes factories in Japan, Russia, Algeria and a number of partnership set-ups in multiple countries.

Susanne is also a member of the Supply Chain Advisory Group to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Listen to the full discussion here:

  • Stream by clicking here.
  • Download as an MP3 here.



Connect with the Guest:

Susanne Hundsbæk-Pedersen: Linkedin
Novo Nordisk: Twitter | Linkedin | Facebook | Instagram

Some of the highlights from the podcast:

  • Novo Nordisk’s future developments for industry 4.0
  • Change the mindset and implementing global supply chain changes
  • Serving 29 million patients across 170 countries
  • How Novo Nordisk promotes diversity
  • Making 50% of materials sustainable and having zero emissions by 2030
  • Being true to yourself and taking risks (forget playing it safe!)

Show notes:

  • [02:02] What are some of the accomplishments that you and your team have achieved and you’re most proud of?
  • [03:47] What are some of the most exciting and sexy projects you are working on in terms of future developments for the industry 4.0?
  • [04:42] 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.
  • [06:41] What do you think your supply chain organization and capabilities will look like in three to five years down the line?
  • [08:26] What do you see as some of the top problems and challenges you will need to overcome?
  • [09:09] We still need to invest in ensuring the quality of our master data, how will it reflect the reality in our value chain, our transactional data quality and the timely accessibility of that.
  • [09:53] Do you see any challenges around the mindset of people in terms of constant retraining and reskilling?
  • [11:08] In the past two years, we spent time in exposing our leaders to opportunities by visiting institutions that are more mature than ours. I cannot expect my leadership team to drive forward the transformation I want to see unless I invest in their resources.
  • [13:16] Do you have some success KPIs or success numbers or achievements in terms of what you’ve managed to drive whether it is cost, optimization or effectiveness?
  • [14:08] 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 and closing the gap in our planning system.
  • [16:04] Our ability to supply patients has always been a very high priority. We serve 29 million patients across 170 countries and we do that no matter the turbulence that maybe there.
  • [17:51] If you were in the shoes of a smaller company with less access to technology and still running their supply chain through Excel, what would be some of the basic fundamental steps that you will take to digitize fast?
  • [19:32] Data is great but data that is not converted into intelligence is not that exciting. And intelligence is worth nothing if it is not converted to actions. So take that what you see and make sure that you act on it.
  • [22:43] Can you share some principles on how you build agility and flexibility in your supply chain to make sure you’re not caught by surprise?
  • [25:44] Could you share with us some case studies of collaboration maybe for other people within supply chain and manufacturing to learn how to work best with their suppliers?
  • [26:46] Sitting down with the supplier to see what the value stream looks like when it cuts across the companies is very interesting. Through this, we can find what demands are not very well filling their systems and know the good stuff that we can get from them.
  • [30:01] You mentioned in an interview that you would rather that people stretch themselves than play safe. 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?
  • [30:43] Having people or asking people to be daring, you can do that in words, but it does not mean a lot. It is more about creating an environment in which people feel safe to be daring.
  • [33:35] Sometimes leaders and managers can be a 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 that we can learn.
  • [35:29] What can companies do to encourage more women in senior positions or management positions in supply chain?
  • [35:47] The fact of the matter is that I don’t necessarily think a lot about my gender when I engage in meetings or doings, I’m looking at the task more. 
  • [36:31] I think there is a bias sometimes to promote people that look more like yourself. What we’ve done in Novo Nordisk is to work quite a bit with the unconscious bias, not only on gender but on multiple dimensions.
  • [38:33] I know that you do a number of initiatives in the area of sustainability and the circular economy. And maybe you can tell us a little bit about that. 
  • [39:18] By 2020, all of our manufacturing facilities will be supplied with renewable energy. We’ve also 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.
  • [41:35] We want to make sure that 50% of our key materials are sustainable by 2030 and that we have zero CO2 footprint from our key suppliers.
  • [42:14] What is the best career advice you have received?
  • [43:00] Be true to your own personality, be true to the thought that you have, and voice out what you think. Don’t try too much to be a mirror of what you think other people may expect of you.

Quote from the Episode:

Soundbite from the Episode:


About the Host:

The host, Radu Palamariu is the co-author of “From Source to Sold – Stories of Leadership in Supply Chain”. He has been named one of the top 3 Global Supply Chain Influencers on LinkedIn and was featured in ForbesBloombergWEFBangkok Post, and MIT Supply Chain Talent magazine. Radu invites executives to share stories and perspectives around technology, logistics, e-commerce, supply chain, and manufacturing, and their views on how the future will look.

Alcott Global connects and upgrades the supply chain ecosystem by finding the right talent through executive search, developing talent through learning solutions, and meeting supply chain technology needs through a comprehensive crunch base marketplace.

The supply chain executive search has been our focus since the very beginning, offering recruitment services for top-tier supply chain roles at every level of the end-to-end supply chain: plan, source / procure, make, and deliver. Our consultants have years of experience in placing top talent, in North America, LATAM, Europe, the Middle East & Africa, and APAC, and besides speed, one of our biggest strengths is our network within the supply chain industry, and we capitalize on it to find the best solutions.

Through the years, we have grown as an organization and our offerings with it. One of our initiatives, the learning solutions- training and supply chain academy, is focused on transforming leadership- self-leadership, executive presence, influence capital, and business acumen. Through Supplify, we aim to match corporations with the top technology companies to solve their supply chain and logistics challenges with a focus on innovation and digital transformation.

We are in constant touch with the leaders in supply chain, inviting them to inspire the supply chain professionals in thought-provoking podcast episodes and events, and showcasing what is possible at the yearly Leaders in Supply Chain Awards.

Related Episodes:

Episode #39: Richard White CEO of WiseTech Global and CargoWise

Episode #56: Dr. Dirk Holbach Chief Supply Chain Officer, Laundry & Home Care of Henkel

Episode #61: Lidia Yan CEO and Co-Founder of NEXT Trucking





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