PMAC members spoke and we listened! [July/August print edition]

Purchasing Management Association of Canada survey gets excellent national representation

September 7, 2012
by Cheryl Paradowski

In our previous article, I talked about the various activities that PMAC has planned to respond to our member survey results. One of the initiatives that was mentioned as being already underway was our employer outreach campaign. I thought I would elaborate a bit more on that in this current article, as it has been a very interesting process.

To date, I have had the good fortune to meet with over 40 organizations across the country. The companies have been as wide-ranging as our membership and many of them are household names representing a number of different sectors: WestJet, Husky Oil, Rogers, Shaw Communications, Honda, Toyota, RIM, Sobeys, Home Depot, Boeing, SNC Lavalin and a number of provincial and federal government departments.

I have worked closely with our Provincial/Territorial Institutes to identify organizations that basically fall into three categories: those that are strong PMAC champions; those that used to be strong champions but appeared to have drifted away somewhat; and those that have never been heavily involved and we would like to see them come on board. At all the meetings, we are taking the opportunity to review the recent changes within PMAC, particularly the SCMP designation, to review the benefits of membership and to better position PMAC as a potential resource to the employer, as well as to the individual member. The meetings have been extremely informative, and there have been a number of common threads that have emerged:

Corporate discounts
It is evident that, for a number of companies, there would be the ability to involve more employees in PMAC activities if there were some sort of volume discount program in place for larger organizations. PMAC’s National Finance and Audit Committee has been tasked with reviewing some models and bringing recommendations forward. However, this will not move us away from an individual-based membership, nor from a focus on the value proposition to our individual members

Co-hosting opportunities
Several organizations expressed interest in working with PMAC to identify relevant speakers/topics that would be of value to their organization, and they would be willing to host a local session and invite other companies/members to join the event. This will be a great way to increase the number of local events available and to obtain more feedback on topics of interest.

Emerging training needs
These meetings have also been an excellent opportunity to identify topics for future seminars, conferences and for inclusion in PMAC’s national training programs. Topics discussed to date include ERP optimization (i.e. we’ve implemented the system, but are we really using it to its full capacity), contract management beyond signing, category management, risk management and change management.

In-house training
To date, the majority of PMAC’s training programs have been offered in public courses in a classroom setting. However, several companies were interested in exploring possible economies through in-house training options when multiple staff would be involved. There was also a great deal of interest in PMAC’s pending online delivery—SMT courses are already available online in Ontario, Alberta and BC, and several more Institutes will be launching offerings in the fall. Look for SCMP online within the next year.

Recruitment and profile
As the labour market starts to heat up once again, companies are interested in the ways that PMAC might be able to assist them in finding skilled talent in supply chain management. Certainly our training programs can help to develop that talent in-house, and our job boards and sponsorship opportunities are available to provide exposure to employers seeking the skills that PMAC members and designation holders possess.

Finally, there was simply general appreciation that PMAC was reaching out and initiating these discussions. In many cases the individuals at the meetings were not aware of the recent changes, nor of the caliber and breadth of the new designation program. And it has been a great opportunity for us to gain intelligence as to what the employer community wants and needs from our association.

These meetings are ongoing, with a target to visit 100 companies over a 12 month period. If you’re interested in helping to organize a meeting with your employer, please contact your local Institute (contact information is available at  b2b