Smartmatic delivers to meet the expectations of electoral commissions worldwide, offering technologies and services
December 10, 2021
“COVID-19 has had a disruptive effect on supply chains. There are product shortages, gridlocks at ports, and a global rise in prices. The unequal reactivation of the world’s economies has created huge tensions, which makes booking spaces for shipments extremely difficult.” These are the words Debbie Lai, Procurement and Supply Chain Analyst at Smartmatic, describing the supply chain crisis the world is facing today.
In this difficult and uncertain post-pandemic environment, companies are seeking alternatives to keep their products available to consumers. Smartmatic is not a stranger to this, as it must meet its commitments with election commissions worldwide to help them carry out secure elections on fixed timelines. Unlike some other industries, which have the luxury of delaying their deliveries, postponing an election can have a lasting negative impact on the stability, economy, and democracy of an entire country. The work of our Procurement and Supply Chain (P&SC) team is today more critical than ever.
Debbie remains focused on her task despite the pressure. From our offices in Taiwan, she tells us about the four keys that have helped her navigate the current global supply chain crisis: 1) building relationships of trust, 2) being flexible, 3) thinking outside the box, and 4) working as a team. All are fundamental to finding the way through this situation.
Since 2003, Debbie has been in charge of connecting suppliers with customs agents, creating shipment routes, coordinating container space, and other indispensable logistics tasks. The trusting relationship that she has built with all stakeholders has become very valuable in these difficult times. “Facing such volatility and uncertainty, we need to have empathy with those who support us. We need to be candid and communicate efficiently with everyone. We must make sure we are all aligned.”
Flexibility and adaptability are proving to be very useful traits these days. For many companies, changing logistical processes is extremely hard. “Not for Smartmatic, where flexibility is in our DNA.” For Debbie, flexibility has helped the company weather these abrupt changes without breaking down. Despite the supply chain crisis, Smartmatic has delivered election equipment to at least nine countries this year without any delays. “Logistically, we are used to finding new alternatives when plan A doesn’t work. We do this without stopping or getting stuck on the first plan.”
In a time of extraordinary upheaval in the world economy, Debbie has found creative solutions to the challenges. “The worst thing to hear when working in logistics is ‘we have to pay a delay penalty.’ That is why I’m doing my best during this crisis and won’t take no for an answer.” Reacting quickly and thinking creatively are crucial aspects in Debbie’s day-to-day routine.
“Being in sync with the team in the field so we can take appropriate steps at the right time is also a fundamental point.” In Smartmatic, we know that teamwork helps meeting our goals. That is why our ability to work collaboratively is a well-defined company strength.
While some experts believe that getting back to normal will take until late 2022, some feel the collapse is already behind us. regardless of which is true, Smartmatic delivers to meet the expectations of electoral commissions worldwide, offering technologies and services to make each step of the electoral process more efficient and transparent.