Stories and Viewpoints
By: Niki Kapsambelis
March 22, 2022
Getting medication to patients who need it is the very definition of access. But it doesn’t happen unless the manufacturer has all the materials available to produce the medication and can transport products to patients – a task that has become increasingly difficult as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact global supply chains.
That’s where Marion Nash comes in.
As the director of Viatris’ supply chain in New Zealand, Marion has spent the past two years finding ways to keep the lines moving, despite the fact that the country’s borders have been shut since March 2020.
“We’re at the bottom of the world,” she explained, noting that no flights were entering New Zealand, and shipping lines had stopped or bypassed the country. “But we did great. We still maintained a really strong customer service level. We did that by working hard with our suppliers.”
In fact, Viatris New Zealand maintained an impressive customer service rate of 99.8 percent of all orders delivered on time, in full during the pandemic, despite the significant challenges. And Marion’s leadership is one reason why.
“We put our patients first, always,” she said. “While at times it may feel draining, it is important to remember the time when you got a call of thanks from a young family able to take their daughter on holiday because your team were able to provide access to critical pediatric heart medicine … if anything, we worked even harder.”
Though she has worked in supply chain for 15 years, Marion noted that she had to grow into her role. A naturally shy person, the fast pace of that world took some acclimation.
“I used to really struggle with imposter syndrome,” she said. She started working in quality, but was encouraged to move into supply chain by Sean Stewart, who is now Viatris’ country manager for New Zealand.
“I am a big-picture person, but a detail person as well. I like to take ownership. I take a lot of satisfaction and pride in my work,” she said. “Supply chain gives you such opportunity to make a big difference. If we don’t do our job, there’s no product for the patients.”
She encouraged others who might hesitate to move into new roles to take a risk: “It’s about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and being confident,” she said. “Give it a go.”
As for the ongoing challenges of the global supply chain, Marion acknowledged that the struggle is real, but added that she feels prepared:
“We’re up to that,” she said with a smile.