Seasoned Leadership in Action™! An Interview with John Heffernan, Chief Supply Chain Officer at ModusLink!

John Heffernan
John Heffernan
John Heffernan, CSCO at ModusLink

At Supply Chain Game Changer we believe in sharing experiences and expertise from people in every industry and from across the globe.  As such we have introduced our “Seasoned Leadership in Action™” Interview series at Supply Chain Game Changer.  This interview is with John Heffernan, Chief Supply Chain Officer at ModusLink.

I met John on my first day at ModusLink.  He was presenting to the Board of Directors.  John was one of the Global Operations Executives for the company.   He had complete command of his facts, situation, direction and strategy.   He was so knowledgable that his expertise and experience came shining through in everything that he said.

As John and I continued to work together we knew that we needed to make serious, game changing improvements around the world.  John and I continued to positively challenge and build on each other’s ideas and thinking.  This culminated in the deployment of a phenomenal program and the achievement of world class, industry leading results.  We raised each other’s game to the benefit of all!

John continued to expand his role and influence around the globe.  I took great pride in watching as John applied his definitive leadership style to great effect across continents improving operating performance, financial results, and employee morale.

Thank you John  for your friendship and taking the time to share your experiences and expertise with us.

Here is our interview with a genuine Industry leader, a Pro-To-Know, John Heffernan!

Tell our readers a little about your background and experience?

  • I have been in supply chain for nearly 30 years, working initially in operations for a number of 3PLs and eventually moving over to running European logistics for a US OEM. Most of my career has been with Moduslink ( where I have the opportunity to grow and learn my craft as the Supply Chain industry has evolved. Several extended foreign postings have also helped me to gain a broader perspective and range of experiences.

What are some of your greatest achievements in the Supply Chain and in Business?

  • Getting company approval for/and the opportunity to set up and manage an Eastern European operation for Moduslink. Within 2 years it had become the largest, most successful operation in the group.
  • Being part of the team that designed and set up an award winning B2C capability that helped Moduslink get to the forefront of European distribution solutions
  • Being named in 2017 as one of Supply and Demand Chain Executives Pro’s To Know

How has the Supply Chain changed over the course of your career?

  • It has evolved from being one of local suppliers and local markets to having global solutions. Supply Chain is no longer about moving boxes from A to B with a 97.5% effective rate to that of considering total landed costs, speed, IOH, WC, Omni Channel distribution solutions and reverse logistics.

What are some of the lessons you learned in your career that you would like to share for others to learn from?

  • The most important thing is to be flexible in your opinions and adaptable to change. Society and business are in a constant state of flux and people have access to more data and more information now then ever before in the history of mankind, this gives us all fantastic power and freedom of choice. In business we need to be able to support this improved freedom by having solutions that are flexible and support consumer demand and desires.

What challenges facing the world are important to you?

  • We are faced with a continued reduction in natural raw materials and a spiraling increase in waste bi-products. As the global population continues to grow and consumer spending increases addressing these issues becomes an ever increasing challenge.

What is the role of Supply Chain and Change Leadership in addressing these challenges?

  • Pushing for more efficient supply chains, being serious about carbon footprint, encouraging ecologically sound manufacturing process while making recycling easier for both the individual and the producer are ways that we in supply chain can help make a difference. Supply chain may not set policy but it certainly play’s a critical role in the decision tree.

What are you working on these days?

  • I have a few areas of main focus at present. Building the supply chain analytics capabilities within Moduslink is probably at the forefront while at the same time I am looking at improving our B2C capabilities and footprint offerings.

What advice would you give people who have a career in, or who are considering joining, the Supply Chain?

  • Be passionate about what you do. Always embrace change, it is your friend! Supply Chain is one of the most challenging but rewarding careers available these days. Even after so many years I enjoy coming to work every day!

How can people contact you?

I can be reached at  [email protected]

Originally published on April 3, 2018.