Cultiv8 Employee Series: Leslie Eisener

Continent 8 Technologies has experienced significant growth in recent years, with a global private network now featuring over 100 data centre locations.

In the latest edition of the Cultiv8 Employee Series, Leslie Eisener, SVP of Supply Chain and Logistics, spoke with Jordan Holmes, Director of Talent Operations, about the exciting challenges of managing a growing network, the fundamental role her team plays on the broader company operations, current and upcoming initiatives, and much more.

Hi Leslie! Can you tell us more about your role as SVP of Supply Chain and Logistics at Continent 8?

This is a fairly new role at Continent 8, and its creation came off the back of consistent growth, bringing the business to a point where it needed to build a solid foundation for a supply chain that didn’t previously exist. That we have had to establish a supply chain function to match the pace of growth we are experiencing and to provide a platform for the future is a testament to the success Continent 8 has enjoyed in recent years, especially with the opening of North America, and the trajectory it is set to follow.

Our supply chain needs are similar to other services companies and include procurement, logistics, vendor management and inventory, as well as aspects of planning. With more than 100 data centre sites across four continents, we have inventory and assets that need to be purchased, shipped, tracked and stored in locations around the world, so my focus is to build a robust supply chain by engaging the right people, building or enhancing processes and deploying the necessary tools to support our goals.

How will your previous experience benefit the role?

I’ve been really fortunate to hold roles in the supply chain and digital technology spaces over the past 30 years. The first part of my career was spent in the high-tech industry as a systems administrator before progressing to data centre management. I then did an MBA, which allowed me to change direction and pursue a career in supply chain. This combination of experience with hardware/software and supply chain makes this role at Continent 8 the perfect fit for me.

The supply chain challenges faced by a technology company can be unique. I have experienced first-hand shortages like semiconductors during the pandemic and the impact that had, so I understand how even the smallest issue can significantly impact the supply chain but, more importantly, what needs to be done to ensure it’s business as usual.

What attracted you to the role and to joining the Continent 8 team?

The provisioning of secure data center hosting solutions to the iGaming industry is intriguing, exciting and new to me, so the opportunity to join a thriving global business and build something from scratch within the sector was one that I couldn’t turn down. Continent 8’s growing need for a supply chain solution and the chance to devise and deploy a solution to meet this demand presents a challenge that I know my experience will allow me to meet head-on and avoid the pitfalls I’ve seen companies fall into during my previous roles. Building something first-hand is always tough but I do love the challenge it brings.

How do you and your team align with Continent 8’s culture and values of Active Ownership, Purposeful Creativity and Genuine Care?

So, approximately half of my team is new to the business, but the other half has invaluable experience that has fostered a nice blend of new eyes and energy mixed with wisdom and experience, and an understanding of Continent 8’s cultures and values. The team has had to embrace a great deal of change over the past year as we challenge the status quo, and they have done so enthusiastically. Everyone rolls up their sleeves and takes ownership to get things done while building better processes to work smarter and not just harder. This means taking an honest look at existing processes originally put in place when the company was smaller and then applying purposeful creativity to find better ways of doing things. We’ve spent many hours in whiteboarding sessions to develop new processes and streamline existing ones, but by doing this, we know that as we grow, we can continue to take active ownership of things we previously did not have the bandwidth or proper infrastructure to manage.

What makes Supply Chain and Logistics such a fundamental part of the wider Continent 8 business?

The supply chain is integral to the execution of our operations and the solutions and services we provide to our customers. We need to be able to find and onboard the best suppliers and ensure that products and services are flowing efficiently across our organisation in the most cost-effective way. As we continue to grow at speed, we must build strong partnerships with the suppliers that facilitate this growth while safeguarding against risks – of which there are many. With more than 100 data centres worldwide and counting, our logistics team has become a core and critical component in delivering the award-winning solutions we provide to operators and suppliers.

Can you talk through some of the new initiatives you and the team will be working on?

When I first joined Continent 8, the supply chain function consisted of a small but hard-working procurement team while logistics and inventory responsibilities were dispersed throughout the company. Relationships with our strategic suppliers fell mostly outside of that team, leaving the tactical purchasing work to be handled by procurement. Since joining, I have focused on several key areas while still trying to control the rate of change so that it’s manageable and achievable.

Some of these include building out a talented team of specialists, streamlining processes, implementing an inventory management system, and augmenting strategic relationships with our top suppliers by creating senior vendor manager roles.

Strong relationships with key stakeholders are an important part of Supply Chain and Logistics. How do you approach this?

This will be key to our success. Everything in the supply chain is new or changing, and this is why we need to gain buy-in from all stakeholders. To do this, we need to over-communicate these changes. If we can demonstrate the value of the changes we are making, we will have less resistance – and change always brings about plenty of this. The supply chain can add a lot of value to an organisation so long as it’s deployed and managed in an inclusive and collaborative environment. Luckily for me, the leadership team at Continent 8 is very open to change and has offered a great deal of support through the process – I regularly meet with members of the senior management team and have taken opportunities to present at meetings to show how the investment in the supply chain is evolving and the tremendous value it is bringing.

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