Argentus Search Stories: Directors of Supply Chain

September 24, 2014

As a highly specialized recruiter within Supply Chain, we love to provide case studies of some of our most satisfying searches at the Director level and above, those times when we’ve reached deep into our network to provide organizations with the most strategic Supply Chain talent. Today we spoke with Ivan Larcombe, the Account Manager for one of our biggest new clients in 2014, about some recent successful placements for a major Building Supply Company at the Director Level.

So here’s the story:

We were approached by a very successful company who found us through our social media presence and recognized us as Supply Chain specialists. The client is experiencing a lot of growth both organically and through acquisition. This always brings challenges in terms of integrating different groups into a streamlined Supply Chain Operation. It’s also a challenge to leverage the scale of the company at the level of the acquired companies. Our client had reached a point where they’d created a new Supply Chain group within the company.

The Need:

  • Two new roles both in their Canadian and U.S. operations. They were looking for Directors who could begin to streamline overall company operations and standardize their approach to Supply Chain across the acquired businesses. Both leadership roles had a focus on Procurement – one for all of Canada, and another for the Northeastern United States.

The Search:

We leveraged our existing contacts in the U.S. Northeast, and our referral networks across Canada. But we also sourced new candidates, using our deep understanding of the way Supply Chain leaders can affect an organization, the skill set that they would need to bring to bear, and the types of results that would be expected from the individuals. Our client was specifically looking for someone who had:

  • Lots of experience in taking disparate groups and creating a standardized strategic approach to Procurement and Supply Chain.
  • The ability to create focused teams with a disciplined approach to Procurement, the end-result being dramatic cost savings across the organization.
  • For the Canadian role, the individual had to be bilingual in French and English.

As specialists, it’s easy for us to identify the true leaders within Supply Chain, someone who has polish and communications skills, but also someone who has spearheaded initiatives within multiple functional areas within Supply Chain. For this Greenfield opportunity, we wanted to source individuals who are really on top of developments in the Supply Chain world and are able to assess the merits of different types of initiatives that might be new in the marketplace.

The Placement:

We’re fortunate enough to have a number of senior-level candidates in our network to whom we could reach out immediately. In both cases, the successful candidates we sourced had:

  • Relevant industry experience: One was a senior Supply Chain individual with Building Supply experience, and one worked in another industry with a very similar distribution model to our client — which was a natural fit for helping standardize their Supply Chain function across their new acquired businesses.
  • The ability to speak to their enjoyment of the challenge of creating something new, building something from the ground up, specifically overhauling a procurement organization.
  • Cultural fit, which is important regardless of the position. Both of our successful candidates had energy, enthusiasm and passion, which a good fit for a rapidly growing company. We were able to find a bilingual candidate for the Canadian role. Most importantly, we were able to add value by having very candid conversations with our network to assess fit: what’s the motivation? And does it fit on both the candidate and client side?

Ultimately, it led to the conclusion that makes recruitment so satisfying: our client had the strategic leadership to streamline their expanding Supply Chain, our candidates had exciting Greenfield opportunities at the Director level to sink their teeth into, and we were happy to facilitate.


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