KeithCarruthers large

President
Strategic Sourcing International
Truro, Nova Scotia

Describe your current work; what is your role there?

After many years working in supply chain in the manufacturing sector, I started a global sourcing company. It’s focused on reducing costs for Canadian companies thatare considering establishing global sources for supply of their goods and services. My role is to establish strong vendor relationships internationally, and to take the necessary steps to ensure our customers receive exceptional pricing, quality, and delivery from these vendors.

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

As an entrepreneur, no two days are the same. I could be travelling internationally to visit new and/or existing vendors, evaluating new sources of supply, working in sales and business development, managing staff and customer deliveries, or arranging for quality checks for new products or tooling. My role has evolved and expanded beyond what we would view as a supply chain role.

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

My career began in operations. But like many supply chain professionals, I found myself in supply chain when the company I worked for had an urgent need for help in this area. I was immediately struck by the opportunity to significantly impact the organization’s bottom line, so I began to focus on a career in supply chain. It has been an incredible career and is a field that I remain absolutely passionate about.

What do you enjoy the most about your work?

I enjoy establishing strong, mutually beneficial relationships. The supply chain field has changed dramatically over the past decade or two, and it has become all about strong, successful relationships, which leads to huge opportunity and significant mitigation of risks.

What major changes have you seen in the supply chain industry over the past five years? What trends do you think we will see over the next five years?

The biggest change I have seen is the expertise required due to globalization of the marketplace. The supply chain function is really coming into existence for many companies, primarily due to the realization that this function requires specialized expertise, that it can be very strategic in nature and have a significant impact on the bottom line.

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

It is a very rewarding career, not just from a financial standpoint, but also from knowing you are contributing in a significant way to your organization. The role can be highly strategic, which allows supply chain professionals to be working on a highly diversified workload that can significantly change the way their organization does business.

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

Networking is an opportunity often overlooked or misunderstood by SCMA members. Those who do participate often think of the social side of networking, but building a strong network of highly trained professionals can be a significant resource for professionals in supply chain management. I have a small group of SCMPs who I have remained in close contact with, and who are my “go to” people when I need assistance in a given area. This has proven to be extremely valuable to me and my organization.

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

The SCMP designation has allowed me to increase credibility in the marketplace, particularly when it comes to consulting services. The education has also allowed me to gain significant expertise in my field, which I rely on every day.

What role does networking play in your professional career?

My involvement with SCMA has been not only rewarding, but has provided great opportunity to me as a professional in supply chain. You get out of it what you put in.

Being an active participant on provincial boards with SCMA Nova Scotia and SCMA New Brunswick, as well as spending six years on the SCMA National Board, has exponentially expanded my network of professionals in supply chain and provided a significant professional development experience. I am proud of the relationships built and the work we have done, and I feel it has served our members and our profession very well.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

I have had an extremely rewarding career, but one that did not follow a proven path. Starting my career in production and operations and then ending up in purchasing and logistics provided me with the ideal training required to be a professional in supply chain management. I have also invested heavily in professional development, which has further enhanced my marketability in supply chain. The world has changed a lot over the past few decades, and it has never been more critical to be a lifelong learner, and to continue to invest in professional development. My acceptance into the Ph.D. program at the University of Hull earlier this year has once again provided me with a significant career opportunity, and one that will bring new knowledge to the supply chain profession. This is something that I am excited about, and am looking forward to over the next few years.