Shafik Tawadros

Age:  28 years

Nationality: Danish (half Egyptian, half Dane)

Education: Graduate Diploma in Business Administration, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark

Working for Novo Nordisk:  9 years

Job title: Senior Project Manager, Product Supply

Shafik Tawadros

Senior Project Manager

“In Product Supply there are direct consequences if we don’t deliver – if the production line goes down we have to solve the problem today, not tomorrow, because lives literally depend on us doing our job. This is the ultimate motivator!”

The engine room

The best thing about working in Product Supply is knowing how important our job is. We are the ‘engine room’ of the company. Without us there wouldn’t be any Novo Nordisk medicine on the shelves in the pharmacy - medicine that people use to treat life-threatening conditions. It is very exhilarating but also a big responsibility.

I imagine that Product Supply in any big company would be an exciting area to work in, but a long time ago I chose to work for a company whose products save lives. This for me is meaningful and makes a huge difference. We cannot be complacent, or put off until tomorrow what needs to be done today, because people are relying on us for their health and wellbeing.

Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration

Product supply is an amazingly diverse area. There are lots of different functions and people all working towards the same goal of supplying high quality products to the market on time and at competitive prices. My job is to work with people at all levels in Product Supply to make this happen. I build on good relationships from the bottom up – from shop floor workers who have great experience and are “hands on”, to our senior management who are setting direction. Facilitating discussions between these groups is both rewarding and fun.  I am a relationship guy, which is why I think I have achieved so much at my age!

Collaboration is key – across departments, functions and geographical boundaries. One of my tasks is to optimise our production flow and ensure best practice sharing and alignment with our production facilities in Denmark, France, Brazil and US, so supporting our mission of becoming ‘Fast to market’ and to do this we have to get the best out of our people. I also love this global outlook to business!

You have to remember in Product Supply that there is no ‘golden answer’ – there is always room for improvement in whatever we do. But we also have to be patient because everything we want to do to optimise and bring products fast to market has to be checked as the quality of our products always comes first – it’s our licence to operate.

Open to opportunities

I started in Product Supply 9 years ago on an Office Trainee programme. I came straight from high school with no higher degree as I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but knew that working from the bottom up was the best way for me to progress. And I was right – by the age of 26 I was a manager, responsible for a logistic department with focus on worldwide supply of insulin products and collaboration with suppliers, production and our customers. In recent years I have begun studying again to support my career, but ‘getting my hands dirty’ so that I learn on-the-job what the business is really about has been important for me.

I think the key to my success has been my open-minded approach to change, my love of a challenge and that I am so open to opportunities. And there are many, many opportunities in Product Supply. I think that Product Supply is the most exciting place to work in the company - and the speed with which the last 9 years have flown by for me proves it!