Spend some time with Miquel Serracanta and Eduardo Vargas, and you can't help but be inspired by their energy and enthusiasm. The two—Serracanta from Barcelona, Spain, and Vargas, a native of Peru now living in Los Angeles—are passionate about strengthening the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals as a global organization. They hope to achieve that in two ways: by getting more international supply chain professionals involved in CSCMP and by helping CSCMP provide value to its international members, who hail from 72 countries outside the United States.
Both are well suited for pursuing those objectives. The gentlemanly Serracanta, a former supply chain vice president with Sara Lee's European bakery operations, is a supply chain advisor leading his own company and director of the Supply Chain Masters program at EAE Business School's Barcelona campus. He volunteers for CSCMP as president of the Spain Roundtable, regional advisor for Europe, and chair of the Global Marketing Process Team. Vargas, a client retention and expansion manager with Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, has been involved in international logistics operations and supply chain technology for 18 years. His experience working with multinational companies in South America, the United States, Asia, and Europe makes him completely at home in today's global business environment. Prior to moving to the United States, he was a CSCMP advisor for Latin America.
Supply Chain Quarterly Editor Toby Gooley asked Serracanta and Vargas about their experiences as international CSCMP members and how the organization and members around the world can support each other.
You both have been very active in CSCMP at the local, regional, and international levels. Why do you volunteer so much time and effort beyond your own local roundtable?
Miquel Serracanta: Six years ago, I joined CSCMP as a volunteer to revitalize the Spain Roundtable, which was inactive. I was honored with the role of president, leading an extraordinary team of supply chain professionals. They were excited to be involved with reactivating the organization, and the degree of passion, energy, and commitment was amazing. Since then, I've become progressively more involved with this global organization. Participating in a roundtable board as a volunteer is a unique experience that increases both your personal and professional value with a global scope. Sharing supply chain knowledge and learning from colleagues is really one of the most amazing things you can do in our global world today.
Name: Eduardo Vargas
Title and Organization: Client Retention and Expansion Manager with Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, a global logistics services provider
Education: Degree in Industrial Engineering from PontifÃcia Universidad CatÃ³lica del Peru; licensed Professional Engineer; Master of Business Administration from University of Maryland as a Fulbright Foreign Graduate Student; certified SAP Supply Chain Management consultant; certified CSCP by APICS
Business Experience: Eighteen years of experience, including regional managing director, Colombia and Peru, with a global third-party logistics company; consulting manager Latin America; senior consultant based in the U.S.; previously regional advisor, Latin America for CSCMP
CSCMP Member: Since 2008
Eduardo Vargas: During the last nine years, I have lived in five different cities across three countries. Every time I moved I looked for strong personal and professional connections in order to convert that "new place" eventually into a home. Participating actively as a CSCMP roundtable board member has helped me greatly throughout those years. I have witnessed how the organization has global standards and attracts extremely talented people around the world.
With CSCMP I was vice president, marketing for the Peru Roundtable, president of the Bogota (Colombia) Roundtable, information technology chair for the Southern California Roundtable, and advisor for Latin America. I became more involved every time after seeing the positive impact of events, growth, and collaboration at the local and regional roundtable levels.
Why is it important for an organization like CSCMP to support and increase its international membership?
MS: Being global is never easy for any organization or company. For a group like CSCMP, whose local presence depends on volunteer boards in every country, it is more difficult but mandatory.
Increasing CSCMP's global presence is one of the five strategic initiatives our organization has for 2016, because networking with global supply chain professionals is a major value that we provide to our members. Taking advantage of connections among local roundtables led by member volunteers is the easiest and fastest way to share and acquire supply chain knowledge, education, and services.
EV: Every country has its own, mostly local logistics organizations that are strongly oriented toward networking and are closely related to the local government, ports, transportation, unions, and so forth. Then there are global organizations that are focused on certifications and knowledge. CSCMP offers the best of both worlds: a global and at the same time local organization that is able to provide strong local networking but also go beyond that to global networks of supply chain professionals and academics who are there to support local initiatives. CSCMP also offers the SCPro certification to reinforce knowledge and global supply chain standards. All these are ultimately articulated in the CSCMP Annual Conference, where people from all around the world meet to share connections and real-life knowledge. International membership allows CSCMP to be a truly global organization instead of only regional or local to the U.S.
Are you communicating with international members about what they want to get from their membership in CSCMP, and what are you learning from them?
MS: Delivering value to all of its customers and stakeholders is a must for CSCMP, as for any organization, so we plan and deploy our global strategies accordingly at every local roundtable. As regional advisors, it is a must for us to listen to the "voice of the customer" in each of the regions we're serving (Europe in my case) and understand what they're asking CSCMP to deliver to them.
In order to capture this information, I'm participating in the organization and execution of local events for the Spain Roundtable. Since last year, we've modified our national event to make it international (European in scope), and we now invite members from other countries to attend. The event, which is now held in English every May, is one of the ways in which I connect with European supply chain professionals and learn from them. They're eager to discover innovations that will deliver more value to their supply chain function, understand how they can improve their talent management, and learn from best practices on key planning and execution activities. I'm also very active on social media (LinkedIn and Twitter) so we can connect globally with supply chain professionals who are interested in sharing and learning about our profession, which helps all of us to be continuously learning and up-to-date.
EV: International members become really engaged when they get access to a strong local portfolio of products, events, and activities from CSCMP. This incentivizes them to participate more actively in those local events and get the most out of their membership. Local offerings could include supply chain events where speakers discuss local hot topics; port, plant, and facility visits; executive education programs; and others. All this, obviously, is on top of the already strong global CSCMP product portfolio that includes the annual conference in the U.S., SCPro certification, and tiered membership, which offers access to supply chain material and research sponsored by CSCMP.
How can supply chain professionals in different countries benefit from sharing information and ideas with each other?
MS: Sharing is in the DNA of every roundtable board volunteer. Their passion and energy are spread through their events and communications, and they're always willing to give before being asked. Individual benefits for supply chain professionals come right after sharing their information and ideas, as others will respond rapidly with more ideas and/or information, building knowledge for the benefit of all members of the supply chain community.
There are online ways of sharing, including social media, CSCMP's website, and e-mail. But face-to-face activities like local, regional, and global events where you can interact in person with your supply chain colleagues from all over the globe are extremely valuable.
EV: Sharing is key to personal, professional, and business evolution. In my experience organizing supply chain-related educational and networking events, I've witnessed how a simple session could bring ideas about solutions for real-life supply chain problems from the audience. Sharing information across countries can also trigger or strengthen collaboration between public and private sectors on a specific topic like infrastructure or promotion of a particular industry. Information and knowledge sharing can even produce the inception and implementation of business partnerships. The possibilities are endless, and it is extremely rewarding to hear that this happens as a consequence of events and activities organized by CSCMP.