We at Supply Chain Matters are always on the lookout for important supply chain related learning, insights and accomplishments. Thus, what caught our eye was a recent announcement related to senior supply chain leadership changes at consumer foods producer J.M. Smucker.
The company announced the pending retirement of Senior Vice President, Supply Chain Logistics and Operations, Dennis J. Armstrong following 37 years with the company. Mr. Armstrong will retire from his corporate officer role in September.
How extraordinary is that in today’s world of ever changing job roles and continuous employers.
Noted is that Mr. Armstrong has served in a number of leadership roles that have spanned logistics, operations and purchasing during his long career.
According to the announcement, Mr. Armstrong’s supply chain leadership responsibility will be assumed by two other existing J.M. Smucker executives.
James R. Ray will assume the role of Senior Vice President of Operations. Day, with 27 years at the company, was the Vice President of Coffee Operations for the past seven years and thus assumes the new senior operations management role from a line-of-business background. For readers unfamiliar with Smucker’s coffee business, it includes the retail production and distribution of Dunkin Donuts branded coffee, among other brands. Prior operations management roles for Mr. Ray were within consumer and natural foods businesses.
Robert D. Ferguson assumes the role of Senior Vice President Supply Chain. Mr. Ferguson is currently Vice President, Integrated Business and Program Management and came to Smucker from the 2015 acquisition of Big Heart Pet Brands. Integrated business and program management responsibilities usually connote organizational transformation leadership roles. In today’s consumer goods focused supply chain, transformation remains continuous.
Both Mr. Day and Mr. Ferguson will now report directly to Smucker’s soon to be President and Chief Executive Officer, Mark Smucker, and thus will be members of the executive leadership team. Senior leadership changes included other executives as well leading to a revised executive leadership team.
Thus, yet another example of the strategic importance that operations and supply chain has garnered in supporting and delivering expected business outcomes.
While we often write about such leadership shifts, we believe it is important for Supply Chain Matters to be able to reference actual occurrence, especially in an industry that is dealing with significant business strategy challenges affecting products and changing consumer needs.
As for Mr. Armstrong, we extend our best wishes for an enjoyable and rewarding retirement after what looks to be rewarding operations and supply chain leadership career at a single employer.
SCM World announced winners of its second annual Power of the Profession awards and manufacturers Intel and The Dow Chemical Company garnered the top awards. The winners were judged on delivering outstanding business value and wider societal impact through supply chain management.
Intel was cited as the Supply Chain Talent Breakthrough of the Year award for leadership development programs including Women in Supply Chain Excellence (WISE) which is focused on development, retention and advancement of high potential female professionals. Through the WISE initiative, 49 percent of the participants have moved to new jobs, a retention rate of 99 percent has been achieved and through individual efforts, the participants have saved Intel more than $800 million.
The Dow Chemical Company was cited as for the Supply Chain Breakthrough of the Year award for its re-inventive strategy that transformed the company’s focus from efficiency to one of a focus on customer service and experience. The approach included enhanced metrics and a product portfolio aimed at addressing needs of customers, suppliers and the communities in which Dow Chemical does business.
Other winners were noted as:
AstraZeneca for Supply Chain Societal Breakthrough of the Year
Intel for Diversity and Engagement Breakthrough of the Year
The Coca Cola Company as Supply Chain Capability Breakthrough of the Year
Volvo Car Group for Leadership Capability Breakthrough of the Year.
Supply Chain Matters extends it congratulations to all of these cited winners for their outstanding efforts in advancing supply chain management learning and business practice.
In a number of prior commentaries Supply Chain Matters has amplified the growing talent gaps that are today impacting multiple industry supply chains. As more baby boomers reach retirement age, supply chain and procurement executives are looking with trepidation at a looming talent gap. The industry needs an influx of fresh faces, especially professionals drawn from the millennial generation — people born between 1982 and the early 2000’s.
In May of 2014, The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) and ThomasNet jointly sponsored initiative titled the 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars Program. Supply Chain Matters called specific attention to this program in an early April commentary. The stated goal of this joint initiative was to advance the future of the supply chain profession thru recognition of up and coming professionals making significant contributions within multi-industry procurement roles.
As a follow-up to our April commentary, this Editor was provided the distinct opportunity to interview two of the nominees included in this year’s 30 Under 30 Rising Stars program. They were Amy Schwantner, currently serving in the role as a Manager of Strategic Sourcing for CBS Corporation in New York City, and Wesley Whitney currently in the role of Sourcing Specialist at Enterprise Products in Houston Texas.
In our conversation, we touched upon a several areas in our discussions with these noteworthy 2015 Stars candidates.
Both Wesley and Amy indicated no prior detailed knowledge for the areas of procurement and supply chain management while pursuing undergraduate studies. Wesley indicated that his awareness to the field stemmed from his grandmother, whose career included a purchasing role at a local school district. Later, his interest was initially peaked from a friend who was pursuing a career in the field. Currently, Wesley’s responsibilities now include forging strategic agreements with suppliers.
Amy, who acquired an undergraduate degree in business administration, entered the field of procurement after a role as a financial analyst within a healthcare system. She indicated that she did not know what supply chain management really was while in her undergraduate studies, but now thoroughly enjoys her role. According to Amy, every day brings different challenges and at the end of the day, she truly feels that she is making a direct contribution to various CBS business needs. Wesley expressed a similar satisfaction, indicating that he feels that his role is not solely pushing transactions, but making a discernable difference in both satisfying business needs and in building more strategic and collaborative supplier relationships. Wesley always strives to engage his stakeholders to learn exactly what their needs are, and works to craft a supplier contract that will deliver on such needs. He noted he truly enjoys what he does every day and desires to someday expand his horizon in other areas of supply chain management, both in pursuing a Master’s program, and in broader exposure to areas such as logistics and transportation.
Regarding what excites each of these Stars, Wesley indicated his belief that he is delivering bottom-line value and impact to the table, something that cannot be said for other roles assumed by those in his generation. Amy expressed a similar view along with her pleasure at the opportunity to contribute to so many different business and functional groups that make-up CBS today. She has opportunities to contribute to advertising, human resources, finance, legal and media teams for their supplier sourcing and services needs. She has exposure and learning within new areas such as multi-currency requirements as well as building trust among project stakeholder.
Regarding occasional frustrations, both pointed to the challenges of working at large organizations where lots of stakeholders express different motivations and needs. Working in areas of supplier sourcing and procurement, both have to balance the needs of cost savings and P&L attainment with building stronger relationships with key suppliers. Wesley observed that supply chain has tended to lag in advanced technology adoption which he would like to see accelerated.
Both of our interviewees expressed the value for having active organizational mentors. Wesley noted the value of an intra-company rotational program supported by his employer that has a mentorship foundation while Amy noted that a mentoring system is fundamental for learning. According to her Stars biography, it took Amy just 18 months to rise from a role of analyst to one of manager for CBS. Amy attributes that accomplishment in-part to active support and mentoring. Both indicated that they have not experienced overt millennial clash but instead experience supportive environments that let them mature at their pace.
Regarding futures, both Stars expressed their individual enthusiasm in learning even more about the various different aspects of supply chain management and in continuing to advance in this area. Amy noted that procurement provides everything millennials desire in a career in terms of day-to-day challenges, more responsibility and the ability to make a day-to-day difference for the organization. She indicated that she does not hesitate to recommend her generational peers to explore and pursue their careers in procurement and supply chain. Wesley urged his millennial peers to get involved and explore the vast opportunities provided in this field.
Overall, from speaking to both, this Editor was equally impressed with the maturity and communication skills expressed by just two of these 2015 nominated 30 Under 30 Stars. Both serve as great ambassadors for this program and for the next generation of supply chain leadership. Consider active mentorship and support of rising stars within your organization.
The H.H. Franklin Center for Supply Chain Management at Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management earlier this month presented its Annual Harry E. Salzberg Memorial Award. The Salzberg award is noted as the oldest supply chain award in the United States and was created in 1949 with a gift from Murray Salzberg in honor of his father Harry E. Salzberg, a transportation entrepreneur.
The announced winner of this year’s 65th Annual Salzberg award was Cummins, Inc., a global based designer manufacturer and distributor of diesel and natural gas engines and related technologies. Accepting the award on behalf of Cummins was Theodusia Rush, Executive Director of Global Supply Chain Planning and Logistics. Presenting the award on behalf of the University is Gary La Point, Professor of Practice and Director of the Salzberg Program at Syracuse University.
Established in 1949, the annual Salzberg award is presented to an organizationor individual to recognize innovation and leadershipin transportation, logistics and supply chain management. The presentation event is a central component of Whitman’s Franklin Center for Supply Chain Management, a well noted academic program focused on preparing students in supply chain management.
This year’s Salzberg event further showcased the best and brightest of Whitman’s undergraduate and graduate SCM students. Cory Sanderson ’15 M.S., Alice Chen ’15 B.S., Prashanth Kammili ’16 MBA, Dinesh Ganesan ’15 M.S. and Puneet Kanchi ’16 MBA delivered a round-table presentation on how Omni-channels are transforming the retail paradigms.
The Zinsmeister Award was presented to Kenneth Dick ’15 B.S., and Lauryn Nicole Kulkarni ’15 B.S. received the Robert H. Brethen Prize. Both of these awards recognize outstanding academic achievement.
Supply Chain Matters extends its hearty “Tip of the Hat” recognition to all of this year’s Salzberg event award participants. Well done!
Bob Ferrari, Founder and Executive Editor
A little over a week ago, Supply Chain Matters extended praise and an enthusiastic Tip-of-the-Hat to supply chain and operations professional association APICS Supply Chain Council for its efforts in sponsoring, what we believe to be as the first international student case study competition in supply chain management. This competition has involved 166 university teams from around the world, consisting of 4-5 students per team, competing on their knowledge and enthusiasm in the broad topics related to supply chain management. The Fresh Connection Global Student contest challenged students to improve ROI for a fictional fruit juice company with average simulation results indicating a 24 percent ROI increase.
Earlier today we received word of the winners in this student competition conducted on Sunday, prior to the start of the APICS Annual Conference which wrapped-up this evening.
An APICS press release reports that the overall student competition winner was the team representing Sun Yat Sen University of China. Yes, China.
HEC Montreal and California State University teams were named second and third place winners, respectively. Each winning team was awarded a scholarship to aid in their continued studies.
Supply Chain Matters extends our congratulations to the three winning teams and our shout-out best wishes to all of the teams that have competed in this competition. We trust that it was fun, exciting, and peaked interest in becoming a future supply chain management leader. You are welcomed to share your impressions of this competition in the Comments section attached to this posting.
Good luck and best wishes to each of you.
As promised, this commentary is categorized under our blog distinguished supply chain management professionals search category.
Bob Ferrari, Executive Editor