“ZLC has always created diverse and balanced student groups, creating a truly diverse program”

Alumni Success story: Carlos Ernesto Arias, Colombia. See Linkedin
ZLC Graduate 2008
Senior Consultant Operations at Siemens AG, Germany

Flicking through your resume, anyone would be surprised to see that, after more than 4 years working for the global energy multinational company Shell, you decided to quit your job in Colombia and embark on an exciting journey, enrolling as a ZLOG master student at ZLC in Spain. What prompted you to take that decision?
Is was mainly two reasons: the first, my job and career was demanding more and more expert knowledge about Supply Chain Management and I wanted to strengthen my skills and expertise. The second reason was my wish to expand my cultural exposure by working with truly international teams, and the ZLC has always created diverse and balanced student groups, creating a truly diverse program. It was a real privilege have been studying with such a fine group of classmates.

Right after graduating from the MIT Zaragoza Master of Engineering in Logistics and Supply Chain, you joined Beiersdorf, a German personal-care company which includes brands such as Elastoplast, Eucerin, La Prairie or Nivea among others. Based in Hamburg (Germany), you were working for the multinational company over 5 years. What was it about and what did you take-away from it?.
I was responsible for the development of Supply Chain processes at the corporate planning department. I was developing a global framework for Supply Chain network planning as well as designing a SQL-based solution for consolidating and interpreting the worldwide demands for enterprise planning. In addition, I was responsible for ensuring adherence to Supply Chain KPIs, according to the targets set by management for selected countries in Europe. Furthermore, I was supporting the exchange of best practices across manufacturing sites and developing solutions for specific demand management problems. My main takeaway was that, fast-moving consumer goods is a very particular industry segment where top-notch supply chain concepts are needed due to the fierce competition in the marketplace. In that sense, what I learned at the ZLC played a major role in my personal success.

It seems that the tech industry has hitched you! For a few years now, you have achieved global experience as Senior Consultant Operations working for Siemens. What to date has been your biggest challenge? Is there a project that you feel especially proud of?
The biggest challenge has been to adapt Supply Chain standard concepts into an Engineering company which is mostly project driven, with high customization and long supply lead times. The supply chains work particularly different when compared to, for example, FMCG.Maybe the most memorable project I did was the implementation of Sales and Operations Planning at Siemens Gas Turbines. It was a challenging project where I played the role of expert advisor, lead the implementation and even developed the technical solution needed.

What is your favorite part about being in logistics and supply chain?
I believe Supply Chain and Logistics is an area where there is little room for speculation. Improvement measures are based on hard facts and its success could be measured objectively. I personally enjoy recognizing concrete and measurable results from the implementation projects where I participated.

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 ZLOG master program undoubtedly influenced my career. The international approach of the program, the toolbox and pragmatic solutions which I learned, were very useful and applicable in every business context I faced so far. Thanks to this program and the experience gained over time, I consider myself nowadays a true expert in Supply Chain Management.