Wilda De la Cruz, or “Ms. Wilda” as everyone calls her at the office, is one tough cookie with a mamon-soft heart. At home, she is the doting mother to 12-year old Samantha, and wife to husband Danilo. She likes to cook and is very active in their church. Before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Ms. Wilda used to actively participate in outreach work to assist members of their church and neighbors in their immediate community.
At work, Ms. Wilda, heads WeGen energy’s procurement and logistics unit under the Operations Department, Ms. Wilda ensures that WeGen has all the solar PV panels, inverters, batteries, and other components and mounting equipment needed to build a typical rooftop solar PV system installation. She and her colleagues in the unit also spend their workdays keeping track of all these aforementioned materials, making sure that they all accounted for.
“It’s very detailed work. All the records have to be kept updated, and when we’re importing materials, we have to make sure to follow the process of getting the materials into the Philippines, into our warehouses, until they are transported to the project sites. We also have to make sure that none of the materials get damaged, and that no mistakes are made in the deliveries,” she explained.
It may all seem like dull work, and Ms. Wilda herself admits that in the beginning, she really didn’t anything to do with procurement and logistics work.
“But it grows on you, and it’s compelling. The nitty-gritty details of the supply chain, the process of procurement, the transportation of the materials, the delivery process – all of it has to be monitored, and it all gets your adrenaline going. We have to make sure that nothing goes amiss because one mistake and the company can lose a lot of money. Cross-checking and filing documentation papers and record-keeping alone are very detailed processes,” she said.
From Accounting to Logistics and Procurement
Ms. Wilda’s career wasn’t always in procurement. Before she joined WeGen as Employee No. 3 on January 20, 2016, Ms. Wilda worked for a well-known transnational Japanese corporation manufacturing electronics. She started her career working in the accounting department. Ms. Wilda is a business graduate with a major in accounting.
“My bosses saw that I could handle bigger tasks, so they assigned me to logistics work. At the time, I didn’t know the slightest thing about logistics and procurement! They practically forced me to learn how to manage the company’s procurement arrangements,” she laughed.
Gratified by the faith her Japanese bosses showed in her and challenged by the new tasks, Ms. Wilda buckled down to work and sought to learn everything she had to know to be effective at her new work.
“I read different books, I attended the occasional seminar, and I consulted with customs brokers. I had to learn all about tariffs, taxable amounts, how to ensure zero duties. Even then my goal was to ensure both efficiency in that area of the business and to help the company save money,” she said.
And these remain Ms. Wilda’s goals and motivations up to now. She may not be a licensed procurement professional, but she is an expert at her job. She has so become adept at her procurement work that in her former work, she gave lectures to licensed brokers and procurement officers during onboarding workshops.
“What you learn from books and what you learn from experience are not always the same. Real-life circumstances are often different from the scenarios or cases explained in books, and it’s necessary to be aware of this so you won’t make as many mistakes. You have to think on your feet when unusual situations present themselves on the job. The smallest errors in the procurement process can lead to hundreds of thousands of pesos lost,” she pointed out.
Ms. Wilda believes that her work ethic is mostly comprised of equal parts determination, professionalism, tenacity, and “kakulitan”. The last two because she simply does not give up.
“You have to be a strong person to deal with different suppliers, custom brokers, warehouse managers, and logistic providers! There are also many stressors on the job, but if you remain firm and your records are all orderly and up to date, it’s easy to address the issues that sometimes come up as part of the job.”
Coordination is Key
Ms. Wilda is an expert at bookkeeping and meticulous with her records. She explains, however, that more than just good record-keeping, coordinating with other concerned work units is very important to ensure that nothing in the procurement process goes awry.
“Coordination is key. We always coordinate with the engineers and the sales team, as well as keep updated on the projections of the Business Development (BD) to be guided on how many panels, etc. we’re importing and to which sites we’re going to send them. We’re guided by the BD department’s business projections and the developments in the negotiations of the members of the Sales Department with different parties and clients. We don’t place orders for materials we cannot immediately use, and we also have to make sure that the materials we get are correct,” she said.
“We do our best given the circumstances we are given, given the situation we are facing. We adjust and count our blessings, and find ways to do things better, and make the best of less-than-ideal conditions. This is how we can overcome difficulties, and then we can also help others.” Work at the Office, Remote Work
Like many other employees in WeGen, Ms. Wilda reports to the office three times a week, and then remotely the remaining two days to protect herself and others from COVID-19. She wakes up early in the day at 6 or 7 am for prayers, and then prepares for the WeGen workday.
“It’s commendable how we have been able to set up an efficient remote work system. We’re all still able to do our tasks, coordinate with other units, attend virtual meetings, and generally just perform our usual duties,” she said.
Ms. Wilda also able to keep stress at bay by not keeping close tabs on news developments.
“It’s all just too upsetting, and my husband and I have to avoid the stress because of health reasons. We just focus on the work we have, on helping our daughter with her schoolwork when she needs it, and just simply keeping safe,” she said. Instead of watching the news on television, she virtually attends church services.
During her free hours, Ms. Wilda practices her passion for cooking. She says she has gotten very good at cooking kare-kare (it used to be complicated for her, now it’s easy-peasy). She also likes to do seafood medley dishes –- she puts shellfish, jumbo shrimp, and crabs inside a bag with loads of melted butter and sautéed garlic and broils everything. Heaven in a bag. “Small comforts. Paborito ng anak ko yang dish na yan,” Ms. Wilda
At the end of the day, and with the same practicality and pragmatic she has exercised when she first made the shift from accounting work to procurement, Ms. Wilda affirms her values.
“We do our best given the circumstances we are given, given the situation we are facing. We adjust and count our blessings, and find ways to do things better, and make the best of less-than-ideal conditions. This is how we can overcome difficulties, and then we can also help others,” she said. #