Madina Olzhabayeva

Madina Olzhabayeva

Head of Procurement, inDrive

inDrive
Madina Olzhabayeva, Global Procurement Head of ride-hailing unicorn inDrive, uses her engineering smarts to great effect in her role

Madina Olzhabayeva is Global Procurement Head of inDrive. She joined in November 2022 as Procurement Manager, before taking up her current role.

Like many senior executives working in supply chain, Olzhabayeva has an engineering background. In her native Kazakhstan, she studied power engineering and telecommunications at Almaty University, and went on to the Moscow Power Engineering Institute, where she gained a BSc in Economics. Then, in 2013, she travelled to the UK, where she gained an MSc in Wireless Communication Systems, from Brunel University.

From there Olzhabayeva took up a role as Sourcing Specialist with Kcell (Telia Company) – a cellular communication operator in Kazakhstan. In this role Olzhabayeva’s responsibilities included procurement project management, strategic sourcing, negotiations with tier-one vendors – including Ericsson and Huawei, e-procurement and category management.

Then, after a spell as Procurement Specialist at Japan Tobacco International, she moved on to confectionary giant Ferrero Group, where she was Procurement Manager.

Olzhabayeva joined inDrive as Procurement Manager, and has gone on to built a best-in-class procurement function from scratch within a year. 

She is keen to highlight the “significant role” played here by key inDrive executives, including Egor Fedorov (Chief of Staff), Dmitry Sedov (Chief Financial Officer) and Sardana Mikheeva (VP Operations). 

“They provided incredible support, not only in building the function but also in shaping the overall process,” says Olzhabayeva. “Each of them taught me that nothing is impossible, only that it requires a little more time.”

She adds: “Their drive and strategic vision for the company inspired me to strive for new achievements. I consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to gain such amazing experience from such a strong team.”

Olzhabayeva’s 10-strong team covers various procurement categories across the company's global operations.

Asked what the biggest challenge is of her current role, Olzhabayeva says “juggling so many priorities”.

She adds: “inDrive’s procurement function is centralised in Kazakhstan, and so the main challenge is juggling so many priorities. “We are managing diverse supplier relationships, navigating complex supply chains, ensuring compliance with all regulations across multiple regions, and driving cost savings while maintaining quality standards.” 

She adds: “Our mantra is that ‘A trend is our friend’. This means we have to stay informed about market trends and technological advancements to succeed. Effective communication and strategic decision-making are crucial to overcoming these challenges and achieving success in the position.

“I am deeply passionate about procurement because it is a rapidly evolving field that demands staying abreast of new processes, adopting best practices within the company, and swiftly optimising processes while using appropriate systems.”

Read the full story HERE.

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