We speak to 30 Under 30 Winner Nicholas Ammaturo on attracting Millennials to the profession.
Procurious recently quizzed Nicholas Ammaturo on making his mark in the world of supply chain management and procurement.
Nicholas is one of procurement’s rising stars, as demonstrated by his entry into ISM’s 30 Under 30 Program.
Procurious asks: The challenges facing the Millennial workforce. Competition, the contract vs. perm debate etc.
Nicholas: I think the biggest challenge facing the millennial workforce in Procurement, is the misconception about us not working hard. In most examples, Millennials in this industry work much harder than they get credit. They are often generalized based on age and experience. There needs to be more of a sense of development, support as well as recognition.
Procurious: What [skillset] do today’s professionals bring to the table, that perhaps the CPOs of yesterday lack?
Nicholas: In some cases, today’s professionals have been acclimated with technology and are more comfortable with it. This is a mass generalisation, but there is a certain acceptance by younger generations and their approach to technology. Social Media is powerful and I have seen many masters as every age, but it’s more seamless for today’s professionals. A lot of things were previously built on relationships alone; today there are multitudes of tools from e-procurement to BI dashboards for KPI’s, in addition to the importance of relationships.
Procurious: What needs to be done to transform the profession, and bring it up-to-date?
Nicholas: Someone needs to address the Universities.
I made an attempt to connect with all the local schools and preach about Supply Chain/Procurement, but I got little traction.
I would like someone to back me and get more programs created, make this industry more relevant so we can build the bench. I think the industry is “sexy” and up-to-date; we just need to get the word out.
Procurious: Do you think it’s fair to say that most CPOs are running scared of social media?
Nicholas: Too funny, as I read this question and see my response above. I don’t think they are running. I see many of them embrace is. Some are fluent in LinkedIn and Twitter and put me to shame! I think they are the minority, so perhaps there needs to be more CPO’s out there who embrace it.
Procurious: How important is it to have a clearly defined brand today?
Nicholas: This is my goal every day. I am my own company. I happen to provide my services, but at the end of the day, you need to build your skills and advance your career.
Procurious: Let’s talk innovation – who/what is innovating in the procurement technology space right now?
Nicholas: Who isn’t playing in this space today? I can’t tell you how many cold calls I get. The most innovative thing I’ve seen is ScoutRFP. Smart guys who are going to shake the space up. I am looking forward to their success. I think Amazon innovation will drive innovation everywhere. They are continually re-paving some of the landscape in business and others are feeding off them, this will be no different than this industry.
Procurious: Is more innovation needed in the building and maintaining of supplier relationships?
Nicholas: No, I think more communication is needed. A simple phone call can solve everything; sometimes people are so keen to shoot of an email and are lose the personal connection. I think innovation and technology will keep people honest during the process, but communication and transparency are needed to make it more of a partnership than your traditional supplier/buyer arrangement.
Procurious: Would you recommend the ’30 Under 30 Program’ to those looking for a route into the profession?
ISM & ThomasNet’s 30 Under 30 Program is promising for young professionals. They have taken a stance to create awareness around the industry and have continued to make the investment. I was honored to receive the recognition. I think its motivating to see the others who share my passion and regardless of their education or role, they all love what they do. There was certainly a common theme when I reviewed all the winners and met them in person, most fell into the industry by chance and most will never leave it. We love it.