Class of 2010

May 28, 2010
by Deborah Aarts


What does it take to see a professional training program through to the end? When you’ve got a full-time job, it takes a lot of hard work.

When that program is new, it takes a lot of hard work and an open mind.When the worst recession hits midway through that new program, it takes a lot of hard work, an open mind and a healthy helping of courage.

Members of the first graduating class of the Purchasing Management Association of Canada (PMAC)’s new Strategic Supply Chain Management Leadership Program (SSCMLP) have shown these attributes in spades.

Known as the Beta cohort, the 35 graduates started the program in January 2007, wrote their final exams in October 2009 and received their results in January of this year.

Purchasingb2b caught up with four newly-accredited CPPs—Rick Fitch (material manager at Fleetwood Metal Industries in Ontario), Rob Kieley (product supply manager at the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation), Lisa Kitt (purchasing manager at Master Flo Valve Inc in Alberta) and Gregory McMillan (procurement advisor, Ministry of Government Services, Supply Chain Management Division at the Government of Ontario)—to talk about their experiences with the program, how the profession is changing and how they fit going back to school into their schedules.

A profession in transition
The SSCMLP program was formed to incorporate broader supply chain management skills into the traditional job of the purchaser. (See “The road to the SSCMLP” on page 14.)

The graduates share the opinion that today’s procurement professional must take on much more responsibility than in the past. As firms adopt more holistic approaches to supply chain management, they’re looking to the purchasing department to broaden its role.

“Successful companies today must compete in an arena where [practitioners] must implement strategic drivers, business tools and processes to improve the overall efficiency of designing, manufacturing and delivering products,” says Kitt.

This is causing traditional operational silos to dissolve.

“The industry is changing,” explains Fitch. “Before you had materials management, logistics and purchasing. Now, with everyone lean and mean, companies aren’t looking for managers for each aspect [of the business]. They’re looking for someone who can manage the whole supply chain.”