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EDC15 interview: Paula Gould, Vertu


Paula Gould is the supply chain programme & training manager for Vertu, the UK-based manufacturer of hand-made, luxury phones. It was established in the late 1990s by Nokia, and has design partnerships with some of the world’s most iconic brands, like Ferrari. She will be speaking at EDC2015 on the importance of empowering your supply chain staff.

Paula Gould, Vertu

Paula Gould, Vertu

eD: Tell us about your role.

PG: I’ve been at Vertu for eight years and performing my current role for three years. I am responsible for defining the supply chain strategy document, developing the road maps to support the strategy, delivery of the roadmap, training and people development.

eD: What’s the best thing about your job?

PG: No two days are the same at Vertu, so I would have difficulty describing a normal day. The diversity of my role, and seeing the effect my role has on the people within supply chain (i.e. watching people present the success of their projects to the exec team, seeing the difference in confidence that a training course has had on someone, and watching people get promoted through training and the PDP process). These are all highly rewarding aspects of my role.

eD: What are some of the key milestones for Vertu where e-commerce and supply chain issues are concerned?

PG: Getting the delivery experience right has to be the defining moment; we have a hugely complicated product with a very challenging delivery promise of 3-5 days globally. We operate in 69 countries worldwide, selling through 400 stores – that’s around 200 of our own, and the rest are typically high-end/luxury jewellers. We have 1,586 active finished-good SKUs, and that’s without any of the personalisation options taken into consideration. Our latest product has a configurator that allows up to 2.2m possible combinations. We also have eight in-country service centres, handling all the repairs, making things look like new.

eD: Do you have the same peak periods as everyone else in retail or do you experience your own rhythms?

PG: Generally yes, although Chinese New Year often creates an extra peak. China’s a big market for us, but it takes around 5-6 weeks to get products into China. Our two other biggest markets are Europe and the Middle East.

eD: What do you think are some of the biggest challenges currently facing the retail delivery sector?

PG: Handling the sheer volume of returns.

eD: How do you handle returns?

PG: Customers can return things free of charge; we organise everything, all the customer has to do is hand it to a 3PL.

eD: What will you be speaking about at EDC2015?

PG: Empowering your people to ensure supply chain effectiveness and business growth in the omnichannel today. I’ll be explaining how we set an apprentice scheme for everyone in our supply chain operations who was interested in learning more about how the supply chain affects the overall business. It’s been a real success.

eD: Are there any of the other speakers you are looking forward to hearing from?

PG: I’m looking forward to hearing Florent Aonnon from ITinsell speak about improving the quality of information to the end customer.

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