08/11/2021 “More people should challenge traditional truths in purchasing and logistics”

Janine Cover moved from Mexico to Sweden to study International Economics at Jönköping University. She originally planned to move back again after her degree, but Stockholm was calling. She has now been in Sweden for over 12 years, and currently works in logistics planning and purchasing at Boliden – the Nordic region’s leading company in sustainable metal production.

Her job brings her into daily contact with manufacturers, and she also checks metal prices and administers invoices. Janine is responsible for deliveries from Boliden’s own mines in Scandinavia, and for purchasing raw materials from America, Europe and Asia. Two years ago she worked for Precuris to optimize the purchasing system at Capio St. Göran Hospital, and Janine is convinced that there is great streamlining potential in logistics and purchasing in more sectors.

“Many companies use outdated systems, and manual reporting is still widespread. This leads to long lead times and scope for human error. I also think a lot of companies underestimate how costly the actual logistics can be. There are often chains in place that need to be looked at and questioned,” says Janine.

Overhauling logistics is rarely a simple, straightforward path, but often doing so adds value and reduces costs. There may be a lack of knowledge, and at times a company or a project might grow a little too big for the current processes.

“Obviously it’s hard to start analysing processes when a large project is under way, but it’s important that it gets done. A classic scenario in purchasing is that a company grows accustomed to ordering materials from many different places, so it may feel unnecessary to implement a purchasing system. But what often happens is that the workload eventually becomes too much. Only then do they realize that had the chain been reviewed earlier, they would already be enjoying better cost control, more precise budgeting, and the ability to monitor the flow in real time,” Janine explains.

The major, industry-wide challenge is to continue the transition from manual handling to automation. The pandemic has forced the pace of digital development in many sectors, and Janine thinks that more companies should challenge traditional truths.

“Many individual companies have become more digital, while it is also clear that the world is not digital enough – at least not yet. From my perspective, I know that there’s potential in logistics. Even digitizing the management of documents, signatures and the exchange of information is a big step forward,” Janine concludes.

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