Pitch Stephanie Bedard a curve ball, a fast ball, a knuckleball—whatever you throw her, she'll hit it out of the park. "Stephanie has been successful in roles as disparate as consumer packaged goods, new product development, and medical device distribution operations," says nominator Jami Bliss. These days, she's embracing a new assignment in the U.K. Highly adaptive and always game to take on the next challenge, Bedard stands out for her ability to connect, lead, shape, and deliver, Bliss says.
After her freshman year at the University of South Carolina, Bedard spent the summer studying in Europe. One day, she found herself on the floor of an automotive assembly plant in Prague. "It was just magical," she recalls. A silver minivan moved by on the line, followed by a yellow sedan. "Car doors came flying overhead, arriving from the different suppliers that were co-located with the plant. The sense of urgency and operational focus were really exciting."
That look into just-in-time manufacturing so inspired Bedard that she switched her major from economics and international business to international business, global supply chain and operations management.
As a top performer in Johnson & Johnson's Global Operations Leadership Development program, Bedard did three work rotations. During one, she led the team that prepared a facility in Memphis to distribute product for a J&J business that makes premium equipment for cardiovascular care.
Bedard was responsible for all aspects of that project, such as developing receiving, picking, and shipping processes; arranging to make and store shipping cartons; creating an ad hoc database to track product before it became live inventory; and having cages and racks built to quarantine and store the product.
The project timeline was tight. To add even more excitement, a last-minute hiccup in the warehouse management system forced Bedard's team to go into overdrive, picking, packing, and shipping product themselves, alongside hourly associates.
"We had people working crazy overtime to make sure we could get orders out the door, so surgeries wouldn't be canceled," all while triple-checking their compliance with regulatory requirements, says Bedard. In the end, customers received their product without a hitch. "It was incredible to see the team mobilize and make that happen."
In October 2014, Bedard joined a global team that handles facilities management for the J&J enterprise. That job has sent her a whole new range of tasks to tackle, such as: auditing supplier performance; measuring the success of energy conservation efforts; monitoring performance of building infrastructure; and exploring how to give J&J employees a distinct workplace experience—a workplace brand, if you will.
Bedard loves the new challenge. "There's a lot to learn," she says. "That's what's most exciting about any new job."
HOMETOWN: Charleston, South Carolina
ALMA MATER: University of South Carolina
CURRENT POSITION: Business Operations Analyst, Johnson & Johnson, High Wycombe, U.K.
NOMINATED BY: Jami Bliss, Director of Procurement, Teva Pharmaceuticals
In 2010, I found myself in a just-in-time Skoda Volkswagen plant outside of Prague. I was so impressed that I decided supply chain and operations was where I needed to be.
It’s a dynamic and engaging field. To stay cutting edge, we need transformational big thinkers. Join us. Warning: Supply chain isn’t for the faint of heart.