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60-second interview: The Day Job

What do you do? Bill Michels, president, ISM Services

By Jenny Eagle+

19-Mar-2014
Last updated the 19-Mar-2014 at 11:50 GMT

Bill Michels
Bill Michels

As part of FoodProductionDaily’s ongoing series of 60-second interviews with the movers and shakers of the food and beverage industry, we caught up with Bill Michels, president, ISM Services, who prior to becoming a consultant had a career in senior supply chain management with SCM Corporation, Smith Corona Typewriters, Durkee Famous Foods, Boise Cascade, and Campbell Soup Company.

 

Tell us about your current role?
I have a few roles. I am president of ISM Services, a consulting company that focuses on procurement and supply chain management. ISM Services also has a learning and corporate development operation.  I also run ADR-ISM Shanghai Consulting and serve as a senior vice president of The Institute for Supply Management.

What do you like most about your job?
This job provides me with the opportunity to work with some of the best companies in the world, driving change and transforming the supply chain and procurement.  When people work with a consulting firm they tend to have issues that require diagnostics, solutions and the ability to effect change within a business culture.  The more difficult the issue, the more I get satisfaction in solving the problems.  We saved one client $400m on a $1bn spend – that's rewarding for both parties.

What’s the hardest thing about your job?
Having to tell CEO’s and CFO’s their business is not world-class and needs a significant change in process, systems and people to make it work.

Is there such a thing as a typical day for you?
There is never a typical day! One day I’m working with a CEO and the board of directors on a change initiative and the next with a team of maintenance people on stocking parts.  Running a business requires business development, operations, sales and delivery.  There is never a dull moment.

What advice would you give to someone interested in your job?
Purchasing and supply chain management is the greatest job you could ever want. You get to travel the globe, see economics first hand, develop people and be an essential and growing part of every business. My advice is to learn a language, work on with an international business, get a mentor and experience all the different areas of the supply chain.

If there is anything you could do over in your career, what would that be?
Not too much. I have traveled to places that most people only dream of, worked in many industries with the best companies in the world and built long and lasting relationships.

Has working in this industry made you do anything differently?
This industry is ever evolving and changing.  It has made me realize that learning never stops. I reflect each day, asking what have I learned? I am always amazed there are opportunities each and every day to learn.

What’s next for you?
I have the opportunity to grow the business, develop and add products and take the company to a new level.

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