VinroyGThorpe large

Purchasing Specialist
Technical Standards and Safety Authority
Toronto, Ontario

Describe your current work; what is your role there?

As a purchasing specialist with the Technical Standards and Safety Authority, my role is to manage the procurement process, bid preparations and purchase orders, and to deliver the highest quality, value-added goods and services to my internal customers—all while maintaining the organization’s core values in promoting and delivering public safety.

What does your typical supply chain workday look like?

Having approximately 200 (half of the total staff) employees operating from their home offices throughout Ontario, my days usually start with reading and responding to emails and telephone messages from the field staff. Other aspects of my day may include meeting with internal customers at the corporate office and external vendors; managing the RFX process; drafting and reviewing contracts; providing training in the use of the Oracle software procurement system; liaising with Accounts Payables to resolve vendor-related issues; vendor management; vendor site visits; and collecting and analyzing reports, among other duties.

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

I became interested in supply chain management when I started working with an airline catering operation. I was intrigued by the activities of the many internal departments that combined to contribute to the delivery of the final product. When I realized that it was the coordination of activities by the various departments (purchasing, production, stores, operations, shipping, etc.) that created the end results and delivered the finished product, I was totally convinced that a job in supply chain was ideal for me.The functions were exactly what I desired. In order to prepare myself for the industry, I seized every available opportunity to learn as much as I could while I was employed at the company, and worked within all the major departments during my tenure.

What do you enjoy the most about your work?

In my current position, there is always a sense of satisfaction when, at the end of a project, I can reflect and look at the value that I helped create, not only by providing quality goods or services, but also by promoting and maintaining public safety while achieving savings for my organization.

What major changes have you to seen in the supply chain industry over the past five years?

In the past five years I think technology has created some major changes within the supply chain industry, and that will continue to dominate for many years to come.

What trends do you think we will see over the next 5 years?

I think that with the increasing use of technology, service levels are likely to be improved and there will likely be more micro businesses operating within the marketplace from the supply side. Social media will play a key role in supply chain, and more companies will be getting on board this new trend. More companies will push for sustainability, and I believe that more supply chain personnel will gravitate towards specialists’ positions in sustainability. I think there will be a high demand for these personnel within the industry within a short while.

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

Supply chain is an extremely wide and diversified industry with endless possibilities. Stay focused, and be open to challenges and changes. One should try to get as much experience as possible, along with the educational requirements, which are key drivers in molding successful supply chain personnel.

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

Attending as many supply chain related events as possible, whether social or educational, is key to getting the most out of your SCMA membership. Networking with colleagues is important, as this helps to create an avenue for relationships and learning, and also keeps one current with issues affecting the industry. Another key is to leverage the many opportunities that are available to members through membership discounts with participating companies. Of main importance, is having the privilege to participate in the many webinars, seminars, conferences and other educational events that are conducted by the association.

How has SCMA membership/SCMP designation been of value to you and your organization?

The SCMA designation has been of value to my company and me. Having the SCMP designation is a demonstration that I am a part of a recognized professional body, and it identifies me as someone who wants to achieve and is willing to go above and beyond in terms of a career in supply chain. As the path to achieving the SCMP designation includes examinations, experience and education, achieving the designation is based on a solid foundation of, not only academic performance, but also practical experience. My organization stands to benefit based on my training and experience, because as a qualified purchaser, I am in a better position to make informed decisions that are beneficial to the organization.

What role does networking play in your professional career?

Networking is important in my professional career as it provides an opportunity for creating new relationships, exchanging ideas, and connecting with people with different skills set, backgrounds and experiences. Most importantly, it allows me the opportunity to positively market myself within the industry.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

It is very difficult to pinpoint any single proudest professional accomplishment. There are projects that I have worked on that may actually be small in value, but at the same time are very impactful, which gives me a great sense of accomplishment.

At the end of the day, it is always an accomplishment when I can use my training and experience to effect change, and to add value to my organization, while continuing to uphold my company’s mandate to make the province of Ontario a safer place.