As our Operations Manager, Anna O’Connor supervises all manufacturing, supply chain and logistics activities. Her primary role is to ensure the correct planning, execution and quality of all orders being produced at our production facility in the Netherlands.
Halma Future Leadership Programme
Anna grew up in Los Angeles. Looking back on her youth, she remembers always being interested in problem solving and understanding how things worked. “Engineering looked like a very natural choice for me and growing up around the aerospace industry afforded me the opportunity to explore that interest”, she recalls. After graduating from University of California, Berkeley with a degree in mechanical engineering, she started her career at a Halma company working in a development engineering and product management role. A desire to ‘learn more about B2B manufacturing and gain experience in diverse working environments’ led Anna to embark on the Halma leadership development program, which ultimately brought her to Sofis in the Netherlands for a permanent role.
From Continuous Improvement to Supply Chain Manager in one month
Anna began at Sofis in a continuous improvement position, employing lean principles to various operational improvement projects. However, this role quickly became derailed. Anna: “Not long after I started at Sofis, a gap opened up for a Supply Chain Manager. I had extremely supportive people around me who were willing to take a chance and urged me to take a crack at the role. I said ‘yes’, and since January I started wearing the hat of interim supply chain manager.” Looking back, Anna admits this was very challenging, but in a positive way. “I was going from ‘no supply chain experience’ to having to manage procurement and warehouse teams internally, coordinate with local and international suppliers externally, and managing risk from a COVID-affected global supply chain.” Challenging as it was, she’s also proud to explain that significant improvements have been made. Anna: “We’ve taken some key steps over the last year to reduce risk in our supply chain, including onboarding new suppliers, strengthening existing relationships, and improving our stock forecasting. Our strategy has been focused on becoming more proactive and prepared for increased demand. The team has really come together to make these measurable improvements a reality.”
Driving customer intimacy KPI’s
Only recently, Anna has taken over the Operations Manager position, responsible for supervising all manufacturing, supply chain and logistics activities. “As the Operations Manager, my challenge lies in working with several teams to manage capacity and ensure OTD in alignment with critical customer deadlines.”, Anna explains. “It’s crucial that manufacturing, supply chain and logistics are all aligned and operating on one scheduling plan. We can’t operate as a silo, either – operations need to be in sync with the commercial and fulfilment teams to understand where we can reduce lead times, improve quality, and maximize the customer experience.”
Moving to Microsoft Dynamics helps to better schedule work orders
Moving to Microsoft Dynamics as the new ERP system will improve processes even further. As part of the core project team, Anna is responsible for ensuring a smooth transition for manufacturing: “It’s going to be a lot more robust than our current ERP system. With Microsoft Dynamics, we’ll be able to further improve how we manage our stock and supply chain, and completely overhaul our production planning. Success is critical as we continue to streamline processes, become more digital, and make things easier for our teams, while improving customer experience!”
‘High energy’ people
Anna particularly appreciates the international background of Sofis employees. “Sofis is a convergence of so many nationalities and cultures. It’s a great experience to understand the nuanced perspectives and working styles that people bring from a diverse set of backgrounds.” She also values the relationships she has built with the people both in her own team and across other business functions. Anna: “Folks at Sofis are ‘high energy’, and we know what our shared goal is. I like walking into the building every day and working with people, whether in production, commercial, or finance, to solve challenges and ultimately make the world a safer place.”
Alphen aan den Rijn
Anna currently lives in Alphen aan den Rijn, near Sofis headquarters in The Netherlands. “Coming from LA, which is one of the largest cities in the world, Alphen is such a stark contrast, and I think that’s why I like it so much”, she admits. She likes being outdoors, traveling, and has recently taken on photography. “Taking on a permanent role in Europe was a big step for me, but I truly appreciate everything that Sofis and the Netherlands has to offer. Especially the ‘fietspaden’ and ‘hagelslag’!”
Anna has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of California, Berkeley.