Wendy Paczkowski is based in the Netherlands and has been a supply chain coordinator at Teva api for the last 6 years. Having previously worked in the hotel industry, she draws both similarities and differences between it and the API world!
I worked in hotels and restaurants for over 10 years! I like the interaction with people. When I left that business, I knew I couldn’t just sit in any old office – I needed the people and the dynamism around me. So I moved to an air freight expediter and spent 5 years dedicated to a pharma company, dealing with their shipments. It gave me the feeling and understanding of what comes along with pharmaceuticals and APIs and how they’re rolled out in to the world.
I started at the end of the journey and now I’m back at the beginning – with APIs. After working in the air freight business, I moved to a pharmaceuticals company that dealt with finished doses of oncology products, and medical devices. And then I moved to Teva api. So I’ve really seen the full circle of taking an API to the customer, the customer then turning it into the final dose, and that final dose being distributed around the world. It’s so interesting!
Working with APIs is different to working with pharmaceuticals, in my experience anyway. There are far more regulations and I’m personally dealing with a bigger portfolio of products. There seem to be a lot more steps that need to be considered when getting the API to the customer. I find it very diverse, extremely fun, and challenging! I love being in contact with so many people – from customers to the manufacturing sites to the account managers.
There’s no time to sit back and relax! It’s an extremely challenging job but that’s also the reason I’m still here. I really enjoy the dynamics around the job and the contact with all the people all over the world.
Working in this business makes me feel I’m doing something that matters in the world. It’s something I always think about. For example, with the recent COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been so interesting to see how the challenge of moving medicines and APIs around the world is being handled. And how different countries are managing things differently.
I do miss being in the office. When you’re home for a long time, it gets harder to get in to the workflow. When you’re in an office with your team, your share information more and talk to colleagues. It’s nice having my own office at home but also lonely. Luckily, my customers are very understanding because they’re in the same position, wherever they are in the world. I would say that although this past year, with COVID-19, has brought up a lot of challenges, it’s also brought a lot of opportunities.
I think our biggest challenge is having more demand than capacity. This is when we’re not able to deliver because we simply don’t have the materials. This can happen for a number of reasons, but if the product isn’t there, it’s just not there. And that’s sometimes really hard to explain to the customer, especially as we want to do all we can to help them. But I always feel that the most important thing is to keep my customer informed about what’s going on, so that our relationship is full of trust and honesty.
Together with a colleague, I initiated the ‘coffee table talk’ that the Supply Chain team has once a month. We meet with the entire team from around the world and one person presents their religion or a specific cultural or religious holiday. It’s a very open discussion where everyone can ask questions, and they do! It’s a fun learning experience and has really bonded us as a team.
I think the most important skills for this job are being focused and thinking out of the box. You have to be focused the whole day and be able to handle the stress every once in a while. And being solution-minded is crucial. Although there are rules to follow, there are also always possibilities which you have to explore too.
I have an amazing team and no matter how big the challenges are, we ALWAYS make it happen! I’m so proud to be part of such a team. It’s so nice to work with so many people who are just so dedicated to their role.