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Energy management exec helps deliver power, equipment and service solutions for the future.
Sri Gopinath grew up observing the constant hive of activity that is Mumbai, one of the world’s largest cities. And motion has been a recurring theme of his personal and professional life. Today, Gopinath lives and works in Tennessee in his role as Global Director of Purchasing Strategy at Schneider Electric, where he plans and directs overall strategy and operations that can fully leverage end-to-end supplier capabilities and forge deeper, more effective relationships and partnerships with suppliers.
After earning a degree in mechanical engineering, Gopinath went on to earn his Master’s in Business Administration from The Wharton School. In 1999, he became a senior manager at the global management consulting firm PRTM, which PwC acquired in 2011.
“One of the most important things I took away from working at PRTM was how to implement strategy effectively,” Gopinath says. “You can generate fantastic ideas at the boardroom level, but it has to be actionable on the ground. In order to deliver, you have to turn strategy into action.”
It’s a philosophy Gopinath has brought with him to a number of industries. After PRTM, Gopinath worked at Motorola as director of strategic sourcing, and later joined Nissan as a senior purchasing manager. The year was 2006, just as the company’s executives began to sketch out details for Nissan’s boldest initiatives to date. Gopinath relished the challenge – and knew where to watch for potholes along the way. In April 2015, he left Nissan to take up his current position at Schneider Electric.
As a large global company, Schneider Electric has many suppliers around the world. Gopinath expects his new role at Schneider to look at the big picture, helping the company in its journey to achieve global supply chain excellence, with a purchasing strategy that leverages the power of its vast network of supplier partners. Suppliers in the network not only need to deliver best-in-class operational and economic performance, but also help launch products at the right time, with the right technological and innovative capabilities tailored to customers’ needs within each business unit and customer segment. “Purchasing is a lot more than just buying parts,” he says. “Up to 70% of the cost structure of a company can be from purchased parts and services. Purchasing’s influence on a company’s cost of doing business is huge.”
Part of that task is making the most of the suppliers Schneider works with. Innovation comes out of a base of stable and secure partnerships and relationships. “In business you don’t need to reinvent what’s already out there” on the market, says Gopinath. “Cost, quality, and delivery are among the most commonly measured metrics for the purchasing function, but it begins with a very strategic mission to help build supply chain excellence and bring solutions to market that strengthen a company’s competitive position and brand.” There are many emerging needs in the data and internet driven economy of the future that require leading edge capabilities in the value delivery network.
And in the same way Gopinath’s initiatives in reducing total delivered cost and localized supply at Nissan helped lead that company’s purchasing performance, today he plans to make sure Schneider Electric develops the right strategies and works on technology innovations and long-term relationships to help design the energy management solutions of the future.