Alumni Success Story – María Pérez, ZLOG 2009 and Organizational Change Management Advisor at Elanco


Alumni Success Story: María Pérez, ZLOG 2009 and Operational Excellence Advisor at Elanco. See profile on Linkedin

Hello María,

Firstofall, welcome back to Zaragoza!. What is it like to return to your hometown after being more than 12 years living abroad?

I am very excited to be back and thankful to Elanco, that gave me the opportunity to continue developing my career from the location I have chosen. The last 8 years I have been working in Switzerland and the previous ones traveling around the world with long assignments on the customer side, for instance in Egypt, Turkey or Sweden. One of the most important things we have experienced during the last few years due to the pandemic is that we can work from everywhere, specially for global positions such as mine. That is what led me to join Elanco Spain with the same global role.


Based in Switzerland, you were working for Panalpina and more recenlty for Elanco, the pharmaceutical company you are currently working for. What was it about and what did you take-away from the Swiss experience?

To be honest, I ended up in Switzerland by chance, since I was contacted by a Talent Recruiter through Linkedin. At that time I was working in a project in Sweden and I considered that going to Switzerland to the headquarter of a big logistics company as Panalpina, where you could be taking part in the decision making, was a good professional experience and further step in my career. There I worked as Subject Matter Expert on Supply Chain Solutions and responsible of digital transformation initiatives. All of that meant a good learning on innovation within supply chain.

Being in Basel, the cluster of pharmaceutical companies, I decided to begin in that industry in operations to complete a 360 knowledge on Supply Chain as Supply Chain Manager. That broader insight from the business side, contributed to focus on my interests as an engineer, which is in process improvement and operational excellence.

Then, if I need to summarize my Swiss experience, I feel fortunate of the opportunities developed in there, in such different industries and business areas.


What is your favorite part about being in logistics and supply chain?

Supply Chain is a very broad area with a spectrum of multiple possibilities in completely different functions. In my case, I have worked in Supply Chain roles from IT to business units perspective: as Solution Architect in a software company or Supply Chain Manager in Elanco. There are innumerable career paths within Supply Chain that can also lead to cross functional roles since you interact with many other departments and stakeholders.


Could you briefly describe your role as an Organizational Change Management (OCM) Advisor in Elanco? Is there a project that you feel especially proud of?

This role within Operational Excellence is focused on leading initiatives and projects in external manufacturing network. The key projects I have worked on are the independence from Eli Lilly & Co. and the integration of acquired companies. Very interesting and challenging projects where could contribute on the digital transformation and integration, from leading implementation to designing global processes, focusing on standardization and operation streamline. The independence from Eli Lilly & Co. was an exciting journey where individuals and their ownership made a difference since we had the one time opportunity to define together as a company our model and processes.


On your personal note, what are the main challenges in the Global Supply Chains of the Animal Health? What are the pathways for innovation?

Animal health is an industry where end customers are very diverse, from pet owners, veterinaries to farms. Therefore, demand depends on many factors. It is very important to understand the market and those factors to adapt the supply chain to specific needs.

In this industry, as well as others, the digital strategy is where we could see significant opportunities in innovation within Supply Chain and Logistics.


How has the ZLOG master program influenced your career path? What are the most significant aspects of the master that you have applied at work to succeed?

The technical knowledge and professors’ excellence are key factors for the success of this program. In my case, I studied the program while I was employed by ZLC, working in the transportation department at that time. I am thankful to ZLC for their support on conciliating work and studies, great experience that defined my career path.

Network was what probably influenced the most. The exchange with students and alumni empowers to have global perspective and international experience, as well as opens many doors with good credentials coming from this program. In Basel, we had a big alumni group which was not only enriching professionally but also personally, since they have become great friends as well.


Would you recommend to study the ranked #1 master degree in logistics and supply chain at ZLC?

Definitely, with all being said, master curriculum, professors, experience, network, this program completely has expanded the career of the alumni, opened doors in many industries, companies and countries worldwide.