DavidCliff large

Procurement Manager (Global)
newterra ltd.
Brockville, ON

Describe your current work; what is your role there?

I am procurement manager of all category spends throughout all of newterra global divisions for the manufacture, supply and logistics of customized water treatment plants around the globe.

I currently influence, lead, and execute direct procurement initiatives across direct categories of spend within Canada, North America and Europe, partnering with key stakeholders and the Global Procurement team(s).

My role supports supply chain strategy development, strategic sourcing, contract negotiations, project procurement management, cost savings initiatives and tracking, driving spend efficiencies, and supplier relationship management.

I have 25 years’ experience within manufacturing and governmentprocurement, including the following categories: Engineering, Facilities, Capital, Fabrication, Chemicals, IT, Leasing, Sales and Marketing, HR, EHS, Waste, Logistics and Packaging. I also have five years’ experience as an estimator.

What does your typical supply chain work day look like? Describe a typical day for you.

I am typically working on various projects, such as creating sourcing procedures, analysing data, reviewing proposals, benchmarking, contingency planning for key supplies, negotiating contracts, reviewing efficiencies—and currently on improving processes while developing a solution for a department where I see an opportunity. I am not looking for the cheapest price. I am searching for the best value, which is not only price, but quality and service, and includes important stakeholder criteria. I also meet with key suppliers who partner with us in trying to drive cost savings out of the supply chain.Does that sentence make sense? I work on supplier scorecards and KPI’s and determine and implement best practices within our organization.

It’s a busy day, but always rewarding.

Why did you choose a career in the field of supply chain management?

After completing both my Business Administration and Facility Management diploma, I received a job offer as a purchaser/estimator from an OEM firm in Toronto. Through these roles, I worked with many experienced individuals, both internally and externally, while supporting several key purchasing projects within different categories of spend.

I seemed to excel in supply chain management and gradually held several roles with increasing responsibilities within direct procurement and materials management in a variety of spend categories. The variety of business sectors (internal/exterior clients) that procurement comes into contact with made it very interesting and challenging. I truly enjoyed interaction with all levels of the organization, collaboration, and leadership responsibilities. There is something new to take on each day.

After 12 years in OEM, an opportunity arose to move to Kingston, ON, where I worked for the Ontario Government in both supply chain and support programs. After five successful years, another opportunity presented itself and I accepted a senior buying position with a large corporation. At that time, I also completed both my SCMP and my CPSM designations.

After almost ten years in corporate supply chain, I accepted a Strategic Procurement Manager’s position, at newterra, an OEM firm. I think I am a natural problem solver and good with people.

The supply chain industry is about solving business operational needs, working with various departments and different people’s priorities, all while eliciting an economical solution.

I have a sense of satisfaction when it all comes together to benefit the business/project.

What advice would you give to someone just starting their career in supply chain?

If you are interested in supply chain, I suggest you contact a mentor in supply chain. Both public and private companies welcome interested candidates to ask questions and learn about the day-to-day activities and the strategic roles that one finds in procurement.

You can find a supply chain mentor through SCMA and through provincial employment agencies. Once you’ve decided that this may be a career for you, enroll in a supply chain course through SCMA and/or educational institution.

What are the keys to getting the most out of your SCMA membership?

I believe utilizing SCMA membership benefits. Supporting our membership through various SCMA programs and networking events is probably the best way to learn and use your membership.

How has the SCMA membership (or your SCMP designation-if applicable) been of value to you and your organization?

The SCMP is the most sought-after designation in supply chain management. Receiving my designation has opened up many doors and experiences for me and has improved my strategic knowledge, skills, and abilities in supply chain.

I have developed into an innovative leader and strategic thinker. I use my advanced skills to resolve challenges, build relationships, influence change, reduce costs, negotiate complex agreements—while creatively thinking outside the box and supporting staff in this ever-changing global marketplace.

What role does networking play in your professional career?

Networking is part of a professional career. It allows you to meet with likeminded people that can help support, influence and guide you through challenges, and to be part of a group that will influence the future roles and responsibilities in your supply chain career.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

There have been many proud accomplishments in my 25 years in supply chain as a cost-saving initiative leader. From forming strategic alliances with suppliers to implementing entire supply chain process/policy systems, all while supporting SCMA and the SCMP designation as an active member and activist. But now I feel giving back to purchasing students/mentees is my proudest accomplishment.