Agile Strategic Sourcing And Contract Management Practices at Bombardier Aviation

Shauna Gamble

Chief Procurement Officer at Bombardier

Learning Objectives

Join us for an Executive Interview with Shauna Gamble, Chief Procurement Officer at Bombardier Aviation, as she discusses how Covid-19 changed Bombardier's supply chain and how others can deveolp an agile supply chain.


Key Takeaways:



  • How has COVID-19 disrupted your Supply Chain?

  • What different processes/training have you put in place to deal with this?

  • How agile do you think your Supply Chain is?

  • Leading remotely: Do you have the right tools and training?

  • Auditing your Supply Chain virtually – how do you do this and how effective is it?


"Your approach with partners, your approach with your teams, and your peers has to be a very forthright one, but one that is quantifiable, not qualifiable."

Shauna Gamble

Chief Procurement Officer at Bombardier

Transcript

Britt Erler

Hello, everyone and welcome to the Scope Procurement Virtual Summit hosted on Quartz Network. My name is Britt Erler, QN Executive Correspondent. Thank you so much for joining us. I would like to welcome our executive speaker here with us today, Shauna Gamble, Chief Procurement Officer of Bombardier Aviation. Welcome, Shauna.


Shauna Gamble

Thanks, Britt, really nice to be here.


Britt Erler

A pleasure to have you here and really excited to dive into this topic today to discuss the new virtual landscape and the effects it’s had on the supply chain and procurement industry. Before we kick off, I’d love to talk to you a little bit more about your role, and how COVID and this pandemic has really affected it for you.


Shauna Gamble

Well, there’s no doubt there are new challenges or old challenges with a new twist that we are all dealing with right now. I think that no one saw this coming, of course, and no one understood the implications of the stress and the importance of a supply chain more than it ever has been in the industry. So huge focus on us on supporting our production lines, and communication with our suppliers is paramount and has just raised the level of that importance exponentially.


Britt Erler

Of course, and now with this—no one’s ever prepared for a pandemic, but was your company prepared in terms of having some strategies in place for situations like this?


Shauna Gamble

Well, there’s attributes of how you communicate and the video applications—the ones that we’re using today—actually, were very much established inside the company. That ability to go from the work in office environment to now work in a home office environment, which is most of our procurement and supply chain organization, that ability was there, so very, very happy that we had that and we didn’t have to climb that mountain of technology. The interaction though, with the suppliers wasn’t so much, it was very verbal or face to face, so that really had a quick transition for us and how to ensure our suppliers could interface with us the same way we were internally through video.


Britt Erler

Now, for your supply chain as a whole, what effects have you seen due to COVID-19?


Shauna Gamble

There’s an, obviously, an immediate impact that I think us in the aerospace industry and anyone, to be honest, in the supply chain organization has seen our partners or suppliers have been impacted by employees not being in the office, accessibility to material, there’s been some restrictions on transportation, import exportation rules about people crossing borders, as well as transportation limitations, because a lot of our products may fly in a commercial aircraft versus just a designated transportation. Of course, our partners have their individual state or province or federal regulations around COVID, and who can be in the workplace and when and how many, and the most important protocols around safety. All of those attributes have, I would say, exercising our creativity and how we get as much productivity out of our partners as we possibly can as well as their own facilities.


Shauna Gamble

Now, as far as this change, there are certain processes and training that you’ve put in place to really help deal with it.


Shauna Gamble

The amount of communication—you cannot over communicate. From our processes on normally, we would do our supplier audits on site, we would have our intervention teams, our regular communications, that is changed to be significantly higher volume and higher frequency that we have in front of us. The flexibility needs to be there, particularly with our partners that are remote on how we can still maintain the same level of productivity, address particular questions or issues like anyone has in their supply chain, but the impacts also had us look at master schedule changes and creativity and how we can make sure we can meet our customers needs.


Britt Erler

Of course, and now as with any change—any strategy change—I think the most difficult part is really getting it implemented into your company into other departments. How do you make sure these new training strategies you put in place the new processes are aligned across teams.


Shauna Gamble

There is a very tight communication plan and path that we have right up to our CEO, and that is on a daily basis. There’s various degrees of information that you share up the food chain, they could be tied to what we see regulation-wise in certain regions, they could be tied to potential parts shortages, and that governance and that processing is through what we call daily management meetings, or DMS, which goes to my leader, and then to the CEO of the business. We’re also very tied into our external affairs, our communications, our engineering, and our operations teams, and we all do come together at least once a day to ensure there’s full transparency across all of the functions.


Britt Erler

Absolutely. Now, with everything going virtual, and based on what you’ve seen so far in the marketplace, do you see a lot of these strategies, a lot of the ways that you’re interacting with suppliers staying virtual as we move forward, or do you think it will eventually go back to more of an in person?


Shauna Gamble

I do believe we are creatures of habit, as humans, but supply chains of any part of a company are the most agile and the most comfortable with change. and we need to be. Supply chain organizations deal with challenges every morning, noon, and night. The ability to adapt is fundamental. Do I believe that we’re going to be more remote? I do. I really don’t think that the environment we’re in right now is going to change over the next 6 to 9 months. We’ve also proven that maybe resources don’t need to be in a corporate office and can work from home remotely. I would say though, that that physical interaction and being on the production line of our partners and our suppliers and looking at the output and walk them through QMS systems is something that we really do need to get back to, and I just don’t see that part of it going away, but the virtual piece, the communication, I see a lot more of it to begin to be honest.


Britt Erler

I completely agree. I think it doesn’t really matter what industry you’re in, or what type of company you are. I think this virtual aspect is going to have to be something that companies start to implement moving forward because people have realized, as you mentioned, you can communicate and get a lot of work—productive work—done just as well from home, or via a simple zoom meeting, and maybe even quicker than it would have been at an in person type event. I completely agree with you on that. It leads perfectly into my next question for you: as a whole, how agile do you think supply chain is?


Shauna Gamble

There’s always going to be some restrictions that we have with regards to agility. We’re highly dependent on partners for transportation, we’re highly dependent on import-export controls, Import-export legislations, customs brokers, and everything else. Like I said, the aerospace industry is one that’s quite regulated. For those that are in an industry that are heavily regulated, that agility does have some limitations. Let’s put it that way. The heavy capital investment on second sourcing, dual sourcing, may not be the solution for many companies in many situations, because it’s rather a heavy investment and also heavily regulated. Agility with regards to how you manage your spares or your additional location of hand holding material, where you do that, transparency with your suppliers, and trying to create what I call that crystal ball effect are attributes of agility for us. You’ve got to look at that as a supply chain leader every hour on every day,


Britt Erler

Of course. For leaders that are really trying to make sure that their teams are hitting their targets, obviously, the industry is continuously training, changing. What are some of the key areas you believe that leaders should focus on to really make sure that their teams are hitting their goals?


Shauna Gamble

As being in a remote position, and I have, not in my entire career ever worked so many days from my house, your approach with partners, your approach with your teams, and your peers, has to be a very forthright one, but one that is quantifiable, not qualifiable. I say that is because balanced scorecards, productivity, on time delivery, none of those things have gone away. They’re all paramount when it comes to running a supply chain organization.


Shauna Gamble

I would say what we stepped back and looked at is how effective are we communicating through these new applications that we have now? Does our supplier or partner understand what we’re asking for? Sense of urgency, the impact because in many cases, we produce airplanes, you can bring a partner on the line and say, “Look, you can physically show them if things are not going to plan.” What the impact is, remotely it’s not so much, but even on that case, even for the customers now looking at our product to purchase airplanes, we can do that virtually now. It’s amazing how creative you can become in a place where you have no choice.


Britt Erler

Absolutely. I completely agree. I always try to find the silver lining in all of this. I think part of it is that it almost forced companies to pivot, adapt, and also enhance the strategies they have in place because we didn’t have a choice and everything happens so quickly. I couldn’t agree with you more.


Britt Erler

I know we talked a little bit about, at the beginning, how your supply chain has evolved and the changes that you’ve made due to COVID. Talk to me a little bit more about the tools you’ve put in place and how you’re managing your supply chain virtually.


Shauna Gamble

Some of those tools are about bringing in some new applications that we have what I would call cloud based software applications, that gives us more instant pictures of how our supply chain is doing. Those applications are very, very successful for us.


Shauna Gamble

The other things I would emphasize is that we do have a Procurement Academy inside Bombardier. In that Procurement Academy, we have added quite a few courses on how to be leaders remotely, how to be effective as a remote leader, and how to effectively negotiate with a partner or supplier through video versus being in person. That’s a very different approach because we can read each other, we can understand through body language. By not being in the same room, which is generally a very creative tool we use to make sure that we close contracts and negotiations where we want them to be, how do you take that remote attribute of it and and exercise it in a way that’s still as effective as if you’re in the same room.


Shauna Gamble

Now, when it comes to communication with our partners, very, very frequent senior executive calls with the CEOs and leaders of all of our major partners. It’s an open forum for our leaders to communicate and what we’re seeing in our part of the world because we are an international company. That frequency of that discussion and communication at the higher echelons is much, much greater than it used to be in the past.


Britt Erler

Definitely. Aside from the virtual portion, which we’ve obviously touched on heavily, what are some other trends that you perceive happening in the industry, into this year, but also going into 2022?


Shauna Gamble

I do think that the ability to see down your food chain, what I call it farther, is going to be more and more a demand. That ability to see what your sub tiers are doing, transportation links to transportation to your ERP to your output, a new material planning, all of that connectivity that there’s been a lot of talk about and some positive direction on—don’t get me wrong over the last like five to 10 years, I see that zooming very, very quickly. That ability to have a flavor of exactly what’s happening in many levels of your supply chain is really where the efforts are going to come in and provide benefits for us.


Britt Erler

Absolutely. With communication too and making sure that everyone is aligned across departments, what are some other ways that you’re ensuring that your team is hitting their goals? Have you had to change those goals, for example, based on what we’ve seen COVID wise, or have they stayed pretty much the same and consistent across the board?


Shauna Gamble

I’m not sure we’ve really modified the goals or the expectations. We all have balanced scorecards, we all have expectations of meeting production schedules, reducing waste, looking at cost optimization wherever we can, is just better understanding the position of our partners that are feeding our food chain. Better understanding—and I’ll be the first to admit, quite all my partner as well, that we have seen suppliers put their hand up and say, “I’m in trouble due to COVID, I can’t necessarily deliver what you need and when you need it.” That collaboration to work between us and them is really exercise quite a bit because of that.


Shauna Gamble

Patience and planning and finding ways around and being far more creative is a necessity that we’re emphasizing on now. Software applications, instant information, and awareness is really the next step, I truly believe.


Britt Erler

Yes, definitely. I think it’s such a key point you made there talking about collaboration. I talked to leaders from all different industries, all different markets. The one thing they’ve said is the way to make it through this is number one, collaborating, working together to make it through, and also to that sense of humanity that you mentioned, understanding that someone may be in a tough position, a company may be struggling, and someone, for example, may be dealing with children at home that they’re having to homeschool. Really focusing on that, and in finding ways to make it through, I think is going to be every company’s saving grace throughout all of this, so I couldn’t agree more.


Shauna Gamble

I do like the humanity factor of it—it’s interesting. People working for home have so many other challenges on their plate as well being a parent, a caregiver, a teacher, and doing their job. Compassion and understanding is going to be very important in the recent past and going forward, because I don’t think this is going to change much.


Britt Erler

I completely agree with you. I also think it’s a positive thing with or without COVID, that it’s almost good that it forced us to implement this and make it more of our daily life. Any final pieces of advice that you have for other leaders within procurement and supply chain?


Shauna Gamble

For me, make sure your peers understand your world and in a world that has significantly changed over the last 12 months. There might be some who believe, “Well, what’s the big deal? We still have planes moving products, we still have FedEx coming to the door, everyone has Amazon coming to the door, what’s changed right?” Full transparency and helping your peers in your company understand the challenges that you’re facing, and your partners are facing, and they’re facing down their food chain provides awareness and understanding and better planning. None of us like surprises when supply chains are built to deal with surprises, but do everything you can to avoid them through that communication.


Britt Erler

Absolutely. I think that’s fantastic advice and great advice for not just leaders in supply chain, but through other markets as well. Thank you, Shauna, so much for your insights. I think this is extremely helpful and will really give some companies ideas of how to move forward during this virtual and trying time, so thank you again for joining us.


Britt Erler

Thank you to everyone who’s tuned in today. If you have any further questions for Shauna, there is a discussion forum underneath this presentation that she will be engaging throughout the week. Everyone please stay safe. Please stay healthy and enjoy the rest of the summit.


Shauna Gamble

Thank you.


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