Advice for Emerging Professionals in Supply Chain/Procurement Function

Do you love going to work every day?….ok well how about most days? First off, if you aren’t happy at what you’re doing, you need to re-think your approach, whether it be a new project, or role within your current company, a completely new opportunity, career change, additional schooling, the options go on and on, but you need to do something! You aren’t helping anyone if you aren’t happy. So let’s say you are actually happy and you LOVE supply chain/procurement. Good keep reading.

Are you an Emerging Professional or are you a Millennial, do you get as confused as I do when people refer to you as one. You can be Emerging at a profession regardless of age, you can emerge your entire career – it is an evolution after all. You can only be a Millennial if you happened to be born between 1982 and early 2000’s  so pick your poison, chances are you are one or the other, or both like myself.

This is directed at those folks who are emerging in this industry at any age. This is going to be short and sweet, you need to network. Update your LinkedIn, polish off your resume, and explore local affiliations of Supply Chain/Procurement you can enroll in. Start to work on your personal brand. You never know what your network will bring you, could be your next job, could be your next hire, could be a reference for a supplier, RFP help, etc. I can’t tell you how much my network helps me, but I use it every day. They are my best asset.

Hub & Spoke Approach I have a core network that represents people of a diverse background of skills, industries and even functions. Then the network fans out, like a hub and spoke the HUB is my lifeline. If any of them called me and needed help, I would drop everything I was doing. They don’t know they are my HUB, but that’s ok, because I may be their SPOKE, it’s all about the balance between them. You need to look internally and figure out who are your core folks that can be the foundation for your own brand. The thing about creating a personal brand is that you need a team. You can create as many spokes as you want and your hub depends on your needs.

Regardless of what approach you take, building your network is essential. I would take the time to mentally write down who you believe is currently in your core network and who you desire to be in your core network. Just thinking about it is a start. Then start to see how you can connect with them further, this might be a simple connect on LinkedIn, or asking them for a reference or vice versa. It’s ideal to establish a reciprocal relationship with them, so that you can demonstrate the value being in your HUB means. There will be people in your network that only have a one-way relationship, may be one-off asks, may be never, these are your spokes. You need them as well.

Riding your Brand Once you have the foundation of your network set up, the possibilities are endless, you can keep growing it or you can develop multiple hubs, it’s dependent on your needs and ability to manage. Your brand is an investment, so when you expand your network, you’re investing, when you update your resume, you’re investing, when you update your LinkedIn profile, you’re investing. Keep focusing on your development as you are emerging.

About the Author: A 2014 recipient of 30 Under 30: Rising Supply Chain Stars Nick Ammaturo is currently the Director of Procurement & Profit Improvement for the Hudson’s Bay Company (Lord & Taylor, Saks 5th Avenue, Hudson’s Bay & Home Outfitters), where he is responsible for developing the strategy of and leading the Special Projects group, Project Management Office, Contract Management team, Procurement Systems team, Travel, IT and Financial Services Categories. Previously he was the Manager of Global Sourcing and Supply Chain for Avon Products inc., where he drove sourcing process improvement initiatives around the world. In addition to process improvement, Nick was leading efforts for North America Supply Chain, Distribution, Logistics, and Packaging as part of the Supply Chain Transformation Avon was undertaking. Prior to Avon, Nick served as a Senior Procurement Specialist at FM Facility Maintenance, where he specialized in facilities commodity sourcing and workplace transformation. He drove significant cost savings at food retailers throughout the Northeast through process change management and cost reduction initiatives. Prior to FM Facility Maintenance Nick served as a Senior Buyer for PepsiCo, where he managed categories such as corrugate and plastics to drive significant cost reduction and partnered with R&D to implement product line standardization and quality improvements. Nick is a graduate of Villanova University, ISM-7 Counties President and Sponsorship chair, and has spent a good amount of time abroad – both in his studies at the London School of Economics & Political Science and during his tenure as a Finance/Marketing Analyst for Ipsos in Beijing, China.