Spend Matters Talks to a Supply Chain Superstar

Late last month, ThomasNet and the Institute for Supply Management announced the winners of the first “30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars” recognition program. The 2 companies partnered up last year to begin taking nominations for exceptional supply chain professionals in the millennial age group. By the time the nomination period closed in July of 2014, the program had received some 225 names of those making an impact in the supply chain field.

Spend Matters had a chance to talk to some of the 30 winners chosen, including the one “megastar,” who will be sent on an all-expense paid trip to the ISM 2015 conference in Phoenix, Arizona. (Stay tuned for that article later in the week.) Spend Matters is also giving a one-year free PRO subscription to 30 Under 30 winners. You can also find out more about the “30 under 30” program at ThomasNet, and catch up on previous Spend Matters coverage on the competition here.

Today, we share a Q&A with one of the program’s winners: Nicholas Ammaturo, 30, from the retail business group Hudson’s Bay Company in New York City. Nicholas was nominated for the program by Robert Odomorik, a former colleague. He said he was very excited to hear he was a winner and be included with such a talented group of professionals.

Spend Matters: Tell us a bit about your background and how you became involved in the procurement/supply chain field.

Nicholas Ammaturo: I attended Villanova University and studied management and international business. My degree took me from Australia to London and eventually China. Working as a market research analyst in Beijing, I was contacted by a headhunter – filling a position for PepsiCo Global Procurement. Having never heard of procurement before, I was intrigued and ended up quitting my job in China, breaking my housing lease and moving back home on a chance of getting a job with PepsiCo. I currently work for Hudson’s Bay Company (Lord & Taylor, Saks 5th Ave, Hudson’s Bay & Home Outfitters).

SM: What does your job role entail exactly? How long have you been at Hudson’s Bay Company?

NA: I am the director of procurement and profit improvement. I have overall responsibility for developing the strategy of, and leading the Special Projects group, Project Management Office, Contract Management team, Procurement Systems team and IT and Financial Services. Every day is different; I am juggling a lot of projects, everything from credit card processing agreements, e-procurement technology, to consolidation of real-estate space. I have been with HBC since November of 2014.

SM: What is it about the procurement field/supply chain that interests you?

NA: I have yet to find something in this field that doesn’t interest me. I think what draws me in is the ability to interact with so many facets of the organization and see the impact each function has on the larger picture.

SM: ISM and ThomasNet previously told Spend Matters that there are not many millennials in the procurement industry compared to baby boomers. Would you agree? If so, why do you think this is?

NA: I think statistically this is accurate, but I have experienced an environment that was only baby boomers and I was youngest, to a mix, and now I am one of the oldest in my group – so there are certainly variations – all based on where you are and when. I don’t think there is much exposure to this field at the university/college level. I hope we see a shift to promote supply chain further and expose folks to it, as a great entry point to any company.

SM: How do you see the procurement and supply chain career field changing or adapting in the future?

NA: I see procurement progressively becoming more relevant year after year. And, in the future, I suspect it will lead to more innovation – once the low-hanging fruit is realized, we will need to re-invent the industry and supply chain to achieve value.

SM: What do you feel is your strongest attribute? And how does it apply to the supply chain and procurement world?

NA: Financial analytics. I was fortunate enough to begin my career in procurement as a financial planning analyst of direct raw materials for the largest spend category. I always leverage financials in my decision-making and negotiation process.

Nicholas also offered this advice to young professionals: “Be nice and be fair. It is a small industry and we tend to cross paths more than once, so don’t burn any bridges – because there are some people you just can’t get rid of.”

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