Although Esther Mir’s official title is PPG procurement operations lead for the Industrial Segment in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), her unofficial one could be puzzle master. Throughout COVID-induced supply chain disruptions, she and her team pieced together the sourcing, securing and shuffling of products to keep production lines running. She earned a 2022 Rainmaker award for her efforts.
Bringing Equilibrium to the Supply Chain
Since the day Esther joined us in 2002 in Valencia, Spain, she has been linked to supply chains. Her first position was in procurement followed by warehousing and shipping. She assumed purchasing responsibilities for Spain and Portugal in 2016, which led to her current role in 2021.
Leading an eight-person team, Esther coordinates with the sourcing function, locations and suppliers to secure products and services that meet price, quality, service or other requirements. She also troubleshoots, resolving supply issues like product scarcity and delayed material deliveries that could cause a kink in the chain.
I enjoy being in the middle of the procurement stream, working to find equilibrium between sourcing, the locations and the suppliers. Each has specific needs, and it’s our job to fit the pieces together so everyone is satisfied.
No Shortage of Leadership, Even During a Crisis
In 2021, Esther and her team’s equilibrium skills were put to the test with a worldwide shortage of raw materials, especially titanium dioxide. A critical raw material primarily for architectural coatings, the pigment is highly desired for its whiteness and hiding power.
“Every week, suppliers were coming to us with bad news. To meet production needs, my team and the supply chain and technical teams worked with each site to determine if different grades of titanium oxide could be used. We also focused on balancing the supply we did have among the sites while sourcing other acceptable suppliers.”
Esther’s leadership during the titanium dioxide crisis as well as her never-ending drive to keep sites running amidst myriad product shortages underscored her selection as a 2022 Rainmaker. Given by our European Leadership Team, the honor recognizes employees across EMEA whose actions have made a significant impact on our operations and whose commitment to The PPG Way stands as an example to others.
I am honored to receive the recognition, but I was only doing what I was expected to do during a difficult moment with the support of my team. I’ve been told that my good relationships with our sites and suppliers were a factor in my selection.
Being Nice and Professional Builds Strong Relationships
Building strong, respectful relationships is a hallmark of Esther’s management style. She believes that being nice and polite should not be separated from being professional.
I really like people, and I like to treat them well. At the end of the day, you will get exactly the same in return.
That is especially true with her highly diverse team members. Esther can tell you a lot about each one’s family, outside interests and more. Team coffees each Friday and other activities organized by the team open the door to talking about things beyond work while cementing the ties that bind the team together.
Beyond her team, PPG colleagues and suppliers have said that they like to work with Esther because of her positivity when finding solutions to difficult challenges.
“When people say they can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, I usually can.”