Judith Richardson, Vice President Purchasing,
Who is Judith Richardson?
Judith is Vice President for Purchasing for Nissan Europe and leads a team that is responsible for every Euro spent by the company in the region. She oversees a team of 205, whose remit is to ensure that all of Nissan’s suppliers, from those who provide line parts for vehicles through to the support services, are compliant, have good governance, and can meet changing demands.
In addition, the team also oversees the optimisation of services provided, including ensuring the quality of good line parts to the return on investment from marketing campaigns. In total, the number of suppliers that her team works with is around 4,600.
Judith joined Nissan in the UK in 1992 as a buyer after a short stint at an engineering company following university. From early on she was interested in manufacturing processes and adding value by giving customers what they need. She initially moved to the company’s manufacturing plant in Sunderland. Six years later, in 1999, she moved to Barcelona in a role to determine whether it was possible to operate as a buyer in another location.
Just three months after that move, the Renault Nissan Alliance was formed, with the Renault Nissan Purchase Organisation being one of the first initiatives launched. In an instant this changed the way that purchasing was handled across the two companies.
She then returned to the UK as Purchasing Chassis Section Manager, buying all of the components for the vehicles at the plant at the time. In 2001, as the company set up an office on the outskirts of Paris, Judith moved to France for three years in a project management role.
During this time she was part of the original team who developed the first Nissan Qashqai and, in 2004, moved back to the UK and to Nissan Technical Centre Europe (NTCE) in Cranfield, to complete the project.
She has stayed in the UK ever since, becoming the General Manager of Purchasing in 2010 and then Vice President in 2014.
Achievements at Nissan
A memorable moment for Judith was during her time in the early 2000s in France. She worked on a project for a new vehicle that went all the way through to contract before being cancelled at the last minute. The team were sent back to the drawing board and the result of that process was the inception of the Nissan Qashqai.
She said: “This turned out to be a very memorable experience, it was a career highlight for me. To be part of the team that delivered the original Qashqai, a new vehicle for a new market – Crossovers were unknown so, looking back, it was a fantastic milestone.”
A memorable moment for Judith was near the start of her career when she moved to Barcelona “to see if we could buy things for Sunderland from Spain”. She said: “You have to remember that back then we were not living in the globally-always-connected world that we do now. Back then we were doing things over a fax machine and it was a new and innovate approach to Purchasing, it was a fun time.”
Why is Nissan Different?
Judith says: “At Nissan we’re constantly trying to do new things, evolve what we already do and see how we can make things better. That’s what keeps everything so interesting, even though I’ve worked in the same department for all of my career here, the jobs are entirely unrecognisable to what they were.”
She also says that the culture of ‘leaning in’ to help solve issues collaboratively is a real plus point of the company.
“The mobility industry is going through its most disruptive phase in history,” Judith says. “While new entrants coming to the market might not be getting huge volumes now, we can see that the future of the industry is changing at a rapid pace. Some of external interest in the industry is positive as it raises awareness of things like electric vehicles – a segment we’ve been leading for six years.”
In Judith’s Personal Time
Judith enjoys swimming and running, and spending time with her husband and two sons.
Judith’s Current Ride
Judith currently drives an Infiniti Q30 and X-Trail. Her first car was a red 1.6 Mark I Golf. She says that her favourite car is a Nissan LEAF.