MatthewCarter large

Manager, Procurement and Warehouse Operations
Cogeco Data Services Inc.
Toronto, ON

Describe your current work; what is your role there?

In my role I am accountable for capacity efficiency—to reduce customer response times and maximize inventory utilization through EOQ and consolidation programs. I take responsibility for inventory, warehousing, reverse logistics and the management of procured goods and services. Working with a talented team, we perform spend analyses to reduce cash2cash cycle time, share demand forecast between tiers of the value chain, and use methods that minimize overall cost. In addition, I am actively involved with our environment and corporate social responsibility program, business continuity planning and collaborative planning forecasting, and replenishment to aid leadership and interdependency between our office and affiliated branches.

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

Maintaining an accurate database is essential for managing supply and demand, planning production and sustaining high service levels. I concentrate on coordinating processes and functions associated with order fulfilment, including: catalogue creations, min-max ratio sparing (including safety stock), ABC cycle counting, complex RFX projects, and blending historical and promotional data to gain insight on future trends. Each day presents a unique challenge. In a fast-paced environment, you have to love what you do.

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

Like many, I didn't choose the field of supply chain management; it evolved over time. After university, I accepted a purchasing role with a fastener distributor and discovered a passion for material requirement planning. I transitioned into automotive manufacturing and again into the telecommunication sector. During my transition, I noticed many procurement-related positions mandated the CSCMP designation, so I chose to pursue accreditation to open doors of opportunity. I wanted to equip myself with transferable knowledge, knowing employers are looking for highly skilled supply chain professionals to join their workforce.

What do you enjoy the most about your work?

I enjoy developing customer and supplier relationships and adding new applications of knowledge to my toolbox. I’ve always treated each procurement dollar as if it’s my own and feel passionately about sourcing, negotiating and using my resourcefulness to solve complex issues on time and on budget. I have a sense of accomplishment when I’m able to negotiate a win/win that is beneficial for all parties.

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?

There has been a shift in reducing uncertainty and diminishing exposure to inventory obsolescence. Many firms have realized unfavourable write-offs affect the bottom line and have moved toward JIT inventory models, VMI or hedging strategies to counter risk.

In the next five years more firms will look beyond their supply chain to how their business actions impact future generations, the economy and the environment. I believe these guiding principles will come to the forefront with Green Procurement, 5R Recycle programs and eWaste Initiatives (to name a few). This is something I feel especially passionate about since becoming a father in 2013.

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

Throughout my journey I have kept in touch with many classmates, all of whom have seen career successes after attaining their CSCMP designation. Whether you have 20 years’ experience or are beginning your career, there is a lot to learn from the academics of the SCMA. My advice: soak up every opportunity to learn the application of knowledge, create your network, discover new areas of research and prepare for real-life scenarios. I wish you the best on your future CSCMP endeavour.

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

The intent of the SCMA membership is to allow access to new and emerging issues, trending practices and hot topics. To get the most out of it you need to volunteer your leadership, participate at all levels, contribute to the body of knowledge, and equip yourself with the tools to be successful in your personal and professional career.

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

Being a member has allowed access to cutting-edge techniques that has brought value to my career and my organization’s success. With reciprocity, the CSCMP designation is recognized nationally across Canada and globally in the United States and the United Kingdom, benchmarking excellence for professionals in supply chain in all those domains.

What role does networking play in your professional career?

Networking with industry professionals is the groundwork for strategizing career goals. The SCMA peer community provides a platform to be influential, create relationships, grow reputations and provide insight to higher learning.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

In 2013 I was recognized as Ontario’s highest achiever in the CSCMP exam. This past May, I was a Case Competition Judge at 2014’s In-Residence Week at University of Toronto. I am humbly grateful for these opportunities and will take every opportunity to learn and to help better those around me.

*SCMA's professional designation is CSCMP (Certified SCMP) in Ontario and SCMP in the rest of Canada and internationally.