Nammi Sriharan: moving forward
Nammi Sriharan joined Safran Landing Systems Canada in 2006… and never looked back. On the contrary: presently Senior Manager Audit and Internal Controls responsible for all Safran Landing Systems North American sites, she is deeply involved in a crucial dimension of Safran’s future : digital transformation.
What is your Background? How did you join Safran?
My background is in Business Administration from the University of Liverpool. I joined Safran Landing Systems Canada in 2006, a bit as a coincidence: I was simply looking for a job that would be closer to my home… And Safran Landing Systems offered precisely that! Little did I know then I would have an amazing experience that my different positions have provided. I started as a contractor in Program Management, and then moved full time with Safran in 2007. In 2009, I was promoted to Program Manager for the Hawker Beechcraft Programs and then to the Bombardier Global Programs, and two years later I became responsible in leading the Global 7500 / 8500 development program. Then I had the opportunity to spend one year in France, where I did a secondment in Vélizy to implement PMO office at Safran Landing Systems SAS. This led to my Black Belt certification in 2016 and my current transversal role as the Senior Manager Audit and Internal Controls responsible for all Safran Landing Systems North American sites.
Could you comment on your present position?
As the Senior Manager for Audit and Internal Controls for all Safran Landing Systems North American sites, I oversee the Audit and Internal Controls activities in the Landing Gear, MRO, Wheels and Brakes, Wheels and Brakes Repair Services and JV sites located in Canada, USA and Mexico. This year my scope also expanded to MRO site in UK as well. My job is to assure the organizations’ objectives in operational effectiveness and efficiency. We perform internal control compliance checks annually on the entire business processes including financial reporting, how to manage programs, governance, sales, inventory, etc., based on financial reporting, compliance with laws, regulations and policies of Safran. Another really interesting side of my current position, and of being a certified Black Belt, is that it has given me the opportunity to interact with other Safran companies, and more globally with the Group: in 2018, I worked as a consultant coaching Safran Cabin USA (formerly Zodiac) with Safran Program Management practices; this mission took place within the Safran and Zodiac integration project. Currently I am working on another project, which is supporting the Safran Landing Systems Data 4.0 team with the Digital Transformation project management.
Could you tell us more about the latter?
Of course! This is not a formal role. I am very passionate about Big Data and by the opportunities it provides. I have spent a lot of personal time on machine learning, data science, people analytics and supply chain analytics. So, when the need for a helping hand for the team during this resource-constrained year arose, I volunteered. I work along with the Safran Landing Systems SAS CDO and the Data Scientist/Data Engineers helping them with Data Project Management, developing the Project Management framework for the Data team as well as support the development of the Safran Landing Systems digital transformation roadmap. The digital transformation of Safran has already started yielding results on key sectors such as engineering and supply chain, enabling better quality, and faster design and production times. But it is only the tip of the iceberg: the movement has just started, and it involves changes that are so radical that we cannot encompass them yet. One thing is sure, though: Safran has realized that now was the time to make data a priority, and that later would inevitably mean “too late”.
So this means you are doing several jobs simultaneously? Do you like this situation?
Yes, it definitely gives me the challenge I need, and most of all because my management trusts me, recognize my potential, and challenges me to achieve my goals. As for the rest, it actually is more a question of organization than anything else. To be in my position is very exciting, as my team’s missions directly impacts customer satisfaction, which is ultimately the key to all of Safran activities. For me, it also is a unique opportunity to acquire a precise knowledge not only of our products, but also of our processes, and to build a relationship with people from all areas of the company.
During your career, you have been through different assignments, with more and more management responsibilities. Is it important to you?
Definitely. One cannot successfully manage projects without taking care of people, human capital is important to me. My key strength is adaptability, and that is the reason why I have never stopped learning new methods: besides being a Black Belt, I am a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and Scrum Master (CSM). But the other key is to take care of people and to develop empathy and emotional intelligence so as to make sure the people you work with are glad to do their best. I believe that people do not care about what you know, until they truly believe that you do care.
You have always worked in industrial companies. That is an environment which often is considered as a “man’s world”. Have you ever felt a gender bias in your career?
With Safran, I never ever felt the gender was a barrier in leadership. I think it has to do with the Safran corporate culture, which based on diversity of companies, of countries, of ages, etc. Having said that, I am involved in programs to develop young women’s careers, and give them equal chances to men to develop their talent. I have participated in Safran North America mentorship program as a Mentor. I have served as a Board of Directors for Women in Aerospace (WIA) Ontario. The goal of WIA is to expand women's opportunities for leadership and increase their visibility in the aerospace community. I also volunteer my time for Girls Take Flight which is a non-profit annual mission focusing on empowering young girls to enter aviation industry. Recently, I have joined Women in AI (Artificial Intelligence) as Partnership/Sponsorship Coordinator for the Toronto chapter. The mission of WAI is to increase female representation and participation in this domain.
After 5 years in your current position, how do you see the future?
I have been very fortunate, as my 15 years with Safran have provided me with a unique set of skills to leverage in the future digital world. So, I guess a new challenge would be to be a part of the digital transformation team within the Group. I thrive on new and challenging opportunities both locally and internationally that will continue to foster the growth of the Safran family and myself personally.
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