“30 Under 30” Supply Chain Star and Traveler Subhash Segireddy on Working with Global Teams

We are nearing the end of our series of Q&As with the winners of this year’s ISM/Thomasnet.com 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars Recognition Program. Today’s Q&A is with Subhash Segireddy, who works on supply chain network design at Cisco. Segireddy started his career at Tata Motors in India, managing electrical commodity suppliers. This piqued his interest in supply chain, and two years later he enrolled in the master’s program in supply chain engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Segireddy was chosen to take part in the highly selective supply chain leadership development rotational program at Cisco, which took him to Norway and the Netherlands — perfect for someone who loves to travel in his downtime. Segireddy talked to Spend Matters about leading a project using internet of things technology, the importance of multicultural experience and his love for traveling.

Spend Matters: Can you tell me a bit about your current role at Cisco as a strategy manager for global supply chain network design? Where are you based?

Subhash Segireddy: I relocated to San Jose in 2016, taking a global role after working on an international assignment in Amsterdam, where I led initiatives focused in the EMEA region. I currently work in the supply chain network design team at Cisco, responsible for developing the end-to-end network strategy of a multibillion-dollar supply chain.

I analyze, develop and execute data-driven strategies by liaising with various business leaders to optimize manufacturing and distribution footprints while balancing multiple factors like cost, delivery, risk and other critical internal and external business considerations. Internal drivers include contract manufacturers capabilities (outsourced supply chain), cost structure at the sites, vertical integration capabilities, resource/talent support, etc., while external drivers include geopolitical risks, foreign exchange rates, inflation and energy prices. The projects that I typically lead drive multimillion-dollar savings and have an impact on large global teams spanning Cisco’s entire product portfolio.

SM: What are your thoughts on the most enjoyable and the most challenging aspects of the supply chain field?

SS: Business requirements change very often in a high-tech supply chain. That makes my job challenging and interesting at the same time. I deal with a lot of ambiguity, which makes me [have to] think outside of the box. [This in addition to] staying on top of emerging trends in the industry make me excited about my job. The work my team does is strategic in nature and gets the visibility among our executives that definitely helps me to understand their perspectives in solving a problem.

SM: You’ve worked with a number of international, multicultural teams, and this applies to other “30 Under 30” winners, as well. Pretty much any field can claim “international experience” as a plus, but do you think it is especially relevant for supply chain? What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned by working on multicultural teams?

SS: Supply chain organizations are usually global, and being aware of cultural differences is very critical. A simple example is understanding the stories behind the holidays across different cultures. Working in global teams helped me bridge cultural differences and deliver results. The biggest lesson [I’ve learned is] that no two individuals are the same, especially if they are from different cultures. Being aware of this has helped me strengthen my leadership, problem solving and communication skills.

SM: You’re leading a project using internet of things technology to improve customer fulfillment. We at Spend Matters love writing about the latest technologies, and IoT is something we’re fascinated by. Can you tell me a bit more about this project?

SS: While developing strategies for network, we factor in IOT solutions that multiple internal teams/partners design. On this particular example, we plan to implement predictive analytics, energy management, hyper-location, etc., to optimize the manufacturing and fulfillment sites.

SM: Like others in your “30 Under 30” cohort, you value giving back to your community and are funding the education of two low-income high school students from your hometown of Vijayawada, India. Do you think that volunteer work is a trend for the millennial generation?

SS: Yes, giving back to the community is a trend that I have seen in my millennial circles. The way people live, work and play is changing at a great speed. In general, corporations are becoming more and more active in the areas of social responsibility, be it is direct support like community service and food banks or indirectly contributing to initiatives like going green by building sustainable business models to preserve the world for our future generations.

With my background of growing up in a small town in India coupled with the values my parents taught me, I truly believe that basic education is a key for one’s success and growth. [That is why] I am invested in children’s education.

SM: Volunteering aside, you’re also a traveler who has been to some 24 countries. What has been your favorite place?

SS: Growing up in India, it has always been my favorite place. [Besides] India, I love Bali, Indonesia. Diverse art forms, Balinese food, rich culture, amazing beaches and sights, endless rice fields and coconut farms, and truly lovely people make it one of my most favorite places I have ever travelled to.

SM: We’ve been asking some variation of this question in all of the “30 Under 30” interviews: Where do you see yourself in, say, 20 years?

SS: Twenty years from now, I hope to diversify my experience to develop various viewpoints and experience both on functional and geographical fronts. With this, I hope to become a leader of a large organization that delivers immense business value and help develop people to make impactful decisions.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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