Meet Virginia Ostrowski - Uptime Buyer in Volvo Group Purchasing

| 5 mins. | 5 mins.
For Virginia, every minute and every hour counts when making sure that our customers’ vehicle gets back on the road again after a disturbance due to wear and tear - to transport goods to their customers, and people to where they are going. It’s all about solving challenges together with stakeholders and suppliers globally to secure vehicle uptime for customer success.
Meet Virginia Ostrowski - Uptime Buyer in Volvo Group Purchasing
Virginia Ostrowski

What is Uptime? And why is it important?


“Volvo Group products operate all over the world, where our customers use them to transport goods and people. For example, making sure hospitals get important equipment and medicines, grocery stores get food and other supply, and that people are transported to school, work, in society, on vacation. In this context, securing uptime is key so that our customers’ businesses can be as successful as possible, and that their customers in turn can rely on them.


Uptime means that a vehicle should always be operational for the customer, with as few disturbances as possible. However, if disturbances happen - and they will due to regular wear and tear, we need to assist our customers quickly with the spare parts and repair kits needed to get their vehicle back on the road again as soon as possible. Because for them, every disturbance comes with a loss of revenue, small or large, so every minute and hour counts. This means that spare parts should be available to the right service location, be of good quality, and come with a competitive price, as fast as possible.”


What does this mean for you as an Uptime Buyer in Volvo Group Purchasing?


“As a disturbance has a direct impact on our customer, we need to make sure that the lead time to get the needed parts and repair kits in place must be kept to a minimum. As an Uptime Buyer in this situation, I work closely with our dealers and service centers who are in contact with the end customers, to secure the parts needed. Sometimes the need of a spare part can be very urgent, so it is crucial to be agile, responsive, and innovative in this role, as I simply need to help make sure that the vehicle gets back up on the road again.”


What does a day at work look like for you as an Uptime Buyer?


“The truth is that no day is the same, which I really like. My role as an Uptime Buyer is itself diversified as we source new suppliers, maintain existing ones, and work strategically with the supplier base for the Uptime scope. My job is also very cross-functional. Depending on the case that needs to be solved, I am in contact with many stakeholders in the company, such as Service Market Logistics, Engineering, Supplier Quality, and our different Brands (Volvo Trucks, Renault Trucks, Volvo Penta, Volvo Bus, etc.). As a buyer, I work a bit like a project leader, serving as a bridge between internal stakeholders and suppliers, and this is something I really enjoy.


Are there any challenges in your work as an Uptime Buyer?


“One thing that can be challenging is how to maintain spare parts with lower volumes and older designs, making sure they are available to the market at a competitive price. Therefore, it is important to work on the portfolio continuously, by scouting, discovering, and developing new suppliers interested in working with the spare parts business.”


Are you buying service parts created with alternative vs. conventional technology?


“Yes, I also buy additive manufactured parts. Additive manufacturing (AM), also called 3D printing, is a technology where objects are created by laying down thin layers of a material (in our case mainly plastic or metal) and then fusing those layers together, which in the end creates a three-dimensional object. The advantage with this technology is that it is very flexible in terms of design. And no tooling is required, which shortens the lead time tremendously. And this way, we can solve urgent customer requests as well as work on new potential usage areas for the technology itself. For example, we have solved several urgent customer orders for different plastic parts inside the cabin, which would require long lead times and tool costs if we were to go for a conventional manufacturing method, such as injection molding.”


What is the best part about your job?


“The best part of my job is for sure working in such an international environment, with nice colleagues, in a team where people are so engaged in what they do and eager to solve things and be helpful. And we all have the same goal, which is to serve the customer in the best possible way.  One of the core values of the Volvo Group is “Customer Success.” In my work I really feel that I am contributing to their success and business as well, and that is very rewarding.”