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Up Close: In Conversation with OC&C Partner Anna Mirenda

Up Close is Sourcing Journal’s regular check-in with industry executives to get their take on topics ranging from personal style to their company’s latest moves. In this Q&A, Anna Mirenda, partner at OC&C Strategy Consultants, discusses investments in ESG and the competitive advantage of supply chain management.

Name: Anna Mirenda

Title: Partner

Company: OC&C Strategy Consultants

Which other industry has the best handle on the supply chain? What can apparel learn? 

Supply chain is a “science” that’s constantly evolving. Best practices can come from different perspectives, being inspired by our experiences and the courageous intuitions of multiple pioneers across sectors.

How would you describe yourself as a consumer? 

Really demanding! I have clear ideas of what I want and what I like and dislike, so it’s difficult to convince me to buy something else. The preparation phase is proportional to the relevance of the purchase, from the outfit for a special occasion to my holidays—visiting unusual locations at optimized prices—or my house’s furniture, for which I’ve designed some pieces myself. 

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As a consumer, what does it take to win your loyalty? 

Product quality and service level are important to me, as well as sales staff being able to understand my expectations.  

What’s your typical work (or weekend) uniform? 

My work uniform depends on the situation—from pantsuit for a formal meeting to business casual for a factory visit. At the weekend, I often shift towards a more casual style, unless there is an event or special occasion.

Which fashion era is your favorite? 

I am quite unconventional, I like to “mix and match” ante litteram [before the term existed]Some of my favorites are Ancient Rome, the 1920s and the 1990s.  

Who’s your style icon? 

Coco Chanel. Her life story proves the courage and determination of a great woman, able to pursue her creativity and succeed despite the constraints and prejudices she faced at the time.  

What’s the best decision your company has made in the last year?

We’ve set ambitious ESG (environmental, social and governance) targets over the last year, mostly based on emissions reduction, and formalized our existing policies into our first official ESG report. This is a really important step for us and makes me prouder than ever to work for the firm.

How would you describe your corporate culture? 

As a people-based service, it’s all about our employees. We pride ourselves on being a diverse, down-to-earth, intellectually curious group of people. We’re brought together by the common goal of unmasking the answers to our clients’ problems, and there is a real desire and determination to get this right across all our offices.  

What can companies learn from the pandemic? 

Supply chain management is not a commodity or a cost to be merely reduced; it’s a competitive lever—now climbing the ranking in the CEO’s agenda.

What should be the apparel industry’s top priority now? 

Address the sustainability challenge. The fashion industry is one of the main contributors to global carbon emissions and key stakeholders—consumers, regulators and investors—are increasingly putting pressure to reverse the trend, for example, reducing the volumes produced and innovating the manufacturing processes. Our report on sustainability in fashion explores this in detail.

What keeps you up at night? 

My biorhythm prefers the night shift. So I can stay awake longer for a good book or movie, or an engaging conversation with friends—and sometimes for work duties. I prefer to go to bed without tasks remaining for the early morning. 

What makes you most optimistic? 

The beauty of natural landscapes and the human ingenuity leave me breathless. I also still notice the small things such as the first flowers in my garden. 

Tell us about your company’s latest service:

We pride ourselves on specializing in strategy across a few core sectors—analytics, B2B products and services, consumer goods, leisure and hospitality, retail, TMT (telecoms, media and technology) and private equity—with 14 offices in 12 countries.

We don’t have a set “formula” when it comes to helping our clients; it’s all about figuring out what works best for them. In terms of business, though, we are seeing an increasing number of projects related to sustainability, so this is certainly an area in which we’ve expanded our expertise in recent years.