LouAnn Birkett started in the Procurement Field in 1979 as a Purchasing Clerk at Delta Faucet, progressed through various positions, and then moved onto the Municipality of Clarington in 1985 as a Purchasing Manager. She worked as a Purchasing Manager for the Municipality of Durham from 2007 until her retirement in 2016. In her role as manager at the Region of Durham, with few exceptions, LouAnn reinforced the strategic advantage of a professional designation for an organization and made the SCMP™ designation a pre‐requisite for joining the Region. SCMA™ is proud to add LouAnn to its list of SCMA Fellows™ for 2017, an honour which she refers to as “humbling”. While she has now retired from her role with the Municipality of Durham, LouAnn is still active in the field as a consultant and an instructor for SCMA Programs.
LouAnn has taught many students who, even long after they have completed her course, continue to contact her for advice, guidance and assistance. She is a dedicated supply chain professional who has never missed an SCMA National Conference™ since 1985, and held various volunteer board positions with the Durham District, SCMA Ontario™, and currently the National Board of SCMA. Her mandate is simple: to leave the association and the professional as a whole in a better state than she found it, to use a quote from a fellow member. In the past, she has held the position of Chair of the SCMA National Board, and of President of the SCMAO Board (previously OIPMAC) where she led the Ontario Transformation program by providing guidance, coaching and conflict resolution services.
In 2014, as Chair of the SCMA Governance Committee, LouAnn took a stance for change and was instrumental in bringing forth the recommendation to the Board & Members to change the size and composition of the National Board. That same year, she wrote an article about an ongoing issue on single/sole Sourcing. The article was entitled Single/Sole Source Dilemma – and was published by PurchasingB2B magazine, and appeared in the Ontario Public Buyers Association newsletter. The article was further recognized, and LouAnn was awarded the Dick Brimell Award of Merit from the Ontario Public Buyers Association for her contribution. Today, her article continues to be referenced by many students both in the Supply Management Training seminars and courses and SCMP Designation Program™ offered by SCMA™.
A recipient of an Award of Merit in 2011 from the Ontario Recreation Facilities Association, LouAnn Birkett is currently instructor for various SCMAO™ modules, seminars, webinars, as well as an instructor at Humber College, an activity she plans on keeping in the coming years. Indeed, teaching has been a passion for LouAnn for many years, which she sees as a learning opportunity as she is constantly adapting to different students and personalities.
When asked how she pictures the supply chain industry of tomorrow, she thinks that there will be less human intervention, more automation and new technology will increase the efficiency of the supply chain by reducing waste in all aspects. This will allow the supply chain manager of the future to focus more on relationship building.
In addition, LouAnn hopes that, in the future, employers will be more informed about supply chain operations from one end to the other, and give it the recognition it deserves by making the SCMP™ designation a standard for new hires, while understanding what it truly means for organizations. However, she also explains that a lot has been achieved since she started her career almost 40 years ago. Not only is the supply chain industry increasingly being recognized as a profession of its own, but it is attracting an ever growing number of young professionals, many of which are females.
While she has now retired from her role with the Municipality of Durham, LouAnn is still active in the field as a consultant and an instructor for SCMA Programs™.
Her award will be presented during the SCMA National Conference™, at the Awards Gala Luncheon to be held on Thursday, June 15, 2017 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.