Manager of Logistics Engineering, Walmart Canada
*As published in our October 2013
Tell us a bit about your education back-ground and why you chose to study industrial engineering?
I studied Industrial Engineering at Ryerson and did my internship at Celestica which gave me a broad perspective on whether I wanted to choose supply chain or manufacturing. At my internship I started manufacturing for 8 months and the last 8 months I was in the supply chain division. So after graduation, it gave me a broader perspective along with my courses over those four years on which field I should choose. Also I chose industrial engineering since there is a wide range of industries to work in and I don’t regret what I chose!
How did your internship help you when looking for a job after graduation?
It helped me in the way of showing me how a business runs. I had worked earlier but this was different. It showed me how you prepare for meetings, how to prepare for presentations adding on to your academic work and your capstone. What you need to present, what type of audience you’re speaking to, and how to perform in meetings, these are key essentials that helped me every day.
What other roles have you had thus far?
I started here as a supply chain analyst and was involved in several projects. One of the biggest projects I’ve worked on was the conversion of Zeller’s stores to Walmart stores. I went to Quebec for a week to work on this conversion project which helped me gain recognition by the director because my director sent me with my senior manager to execute the project there. This exposed me to a project level since my day to day job as an analyst was forecasting, dealing with vendors, cutting orders, more like demand planning. This was a full project, from the backroom of the store to how to load products, all about seeing what you’re doing so that gave me great exposure. Now I’m the manager of logistics engineering, I got promoted after 11 months.
What are some of your responsibilities as manager of logistics engineering?
I have two interns reporting to me and we’re working on a few projects. I’m looking at DC capacities and how we can optimize space in our DC and our stores and how to enhance our supply chain network. Last year we had 360 stores, this year we have 380 all managed from here. So as we grow, our projects focus on how our DC’s can supply these stores.
What role do you think industrial engineering plays at companies like Walmart?
At Wal-Mart, we believe in EDLC, everyday low cost. As industrial engineers we optimize three things: time, space, and money. Those are all related to industrial engineering principles like LEAN and things you learn in school. We use these concepts to answer questions like, how can I produce something as low cost as possible. We use the EDLC ideology to drive low cost operations.
What are some challenges your face in your job?
There are always challenges, especially when working in cross-functional teams. For example, when you’re given a project that will impact other teams as well. In the beginning coming from school, you work with people in your class. The setting is different; you have one goal, to deliver the project to your professor. In projects involving different departments, the challenge is how to communicate proper-ly so that you can give your ideas without interfering with your job. In the beginning, my first six months was my transition period of understanding how could I communicate properly and get my questions answered. Over time, I’ve learned how to face these challenges better.
As a Ryerson graduate, do you have any advice for recent or potential gradu-ates?
It’s good to know when you graduate which field you want to get involved in because job market is really competitive now. If you mold your ideas, your resume, and your knowledge towards this field, you will have a better chance at succeeding the interview and showing your employer that you are a good candidate. So doing your research on which direction you want to go helps.
What do you think the key quality is in becoming successful at the workplace?
Be calm. You know how they say keep calm and carry on? It’s true. Especially in the retail environment, things change so quickly. The products you see in the flyer are planned any-where from 4 weeks to 8 months ahead depending on the product. And when things change, you have to change accordingly. The retail environment, it connects many people, buyers, merchandisers, replenishment and logistics. So when things change and everyone gets affected, the key is to keep calm and react to change quickly at the same time. You’ve got to be creative and make good, quick decisions.
What do you like to do on your free time?
I like to spend time with my friends and hang out. I also play violin and love swimming.