The matchmaker—MAY 2012 PRINT EDITION

Each edition, Purchasingb2b will profile a member of Canada’s procurement and supply chain community

June 12, 2012
by Purchasing b2b staff

Mike Houston, BSc, senior consultant, David Aplin Group

Q: What’s your educational background and work history?
I have my bachelor of science from the University of Manitoba and have over 18 years of sales and sales management experience within the heathcare industry (pharmaceutical and medical equipment). I have worked for several Fortune 500 companies in this capacity, including Dupont, Searle Pharmaceuticals (primary care sales), Pharmacia (sales—hospital and primary care), Pfizer (district manager, sales trainer) and Cardinal Health (director of sales, Western Canada).

Q: How did you get into procurement and supply chain?
When I worked at Cardinal Health, I was introduced to supply chain through overseeing the company’s distribution business for Western Canada. Cardinal’s medical equipment distribution business represents its own line of products and over 400 other medical equipment suppliers and manufacturers. We supplied the majority of the provinces’ healthcare products throughout Canada, which necessitated strong know-how in procurement, logistics, inventory and warehousing. This was an important supply chain role that demanded a high level of service.

Q: What is your current role?
I am a senior consultant in supply chain management with the David Aplin Group in Edmonton, overseeing supply chain roles for numerous clients throughout Northern Alberta.

Q: What do you like most about your position?
I get a great deal of enjoyment from learning and being exposed to a wide array of companies’ initiatives and learning their business processes. It’s satisfying to help qualified supply chain candidates find a well-aligned company and role where their skills can be maximized. The relationships that I have been able to develop along the way have been fantastic.

Q: Why have you chosen procurement/supply chain as your career?
I was approached by The David Aplin Group after having been exposed to their services in the past, and them to mine. It was an excellent fit. The mix of sales and supply chain required in this industry and the integrity of The David Aplin Group sold me on the value and potential of a role in procurement and supply chain recruitment.

Q: What are your future career and education plans?
I am currently a member of PMAC but I am always interested in learning more about supply chain initiatives and process improvement through informal exposure, as well as more formalized initiatives.

Q: What advice/comments would you give those entering the field?
The opportunities in Canada and throughout North America are promising for careers in supply chain. As the baby boomers retire and take their intellectual capital with them, there will be a gap due to Generation Y not being able keep pace. So supply chain professionals need a strong formal background and training, as they will be expected to do more—and do it quicker—than ever before.

But the opportunity to advance within an organization and play an instrumental role within a company’s supply chain operation has increased exponentially. As world markets continue to globalize, the potential is extremely exciting for procurement and supply chain professionals moving forward over the next 20 years.

Would you or someone you know make a good procurement profile? Email editor Michael Power at