Preparing to compete

Dec 6th, 2019

Susan White

Preparing to compete

A contribution to Memorial’s business faculty will bolster practical expertise and empirical understanding of sales and supply chain management in the province.

Earlier today, the Faculty of Business Administration announced a contribution of just over $1 million from Husky Energy to create the Husky Centre of Excellence in Sales and Supply Chain Management.

The contribution includes a $600,000 donation to create the centre, as well as a commitment of $420,000 over three years towards co-operative education positions for business students to gain experience in the field.

The Government of Canada, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), also contributed $350,000 towards the centre.

‘Participate in and lead’

“I thank Husky and ACOA for this significant contribution to Memorial and their support of our students,” said President Gary Kachanoski.

“The centre will prepare graduates to participate in and lead companies that are capable of competing in global supply chains, thereby aiding in the growth of various industries in Newfoundland and Labrador. In doing so, this investment will positively impact our business community and the economic development of our province now and into the future.”

‘Contributing to growth and development’

“High quality suppliers and well-managed relationships are key to running our operations safely and smoothly,” said Pete LeMessurier, Husky’s vice-president of Atlantic region operations.

“Our business relies on a mix of local and global suppliers and optimizing our supply chain ensures we are competitive. By supporting Memorial faculty, staff and students pursuing advanced education and research in sales and supply chain management, we are contributing to the growth and development of companies and individuals.”

Education, research and community outreach

The centre’s activities will focus on new curriculum development by creating innovative undergraduate courses and graduate degrees, as well as providing hands-on work experience opportunities for students.

It will also support faculty members to conduct research projects that identify and provide solutions to local challenges and provide needs-based training to local businesses in partnership with the Gardiner Centre.

A key strength of the centre is its dual focus on both sales and supply chain management, fields that represent two sides of the same coin.

On one side, manufacturers and operators must master best supply chain practices to efficiently manage relationships with suppliers. On the other side, suppliers must be proficient in selling their goods in order to successfully win supplier contracts.

‘Closing the deal’

Dr. Isabelle Dostaler, dean of the business faculty, uses the example of Bombardier’s C Series to illustrate the importance of developing sales capabilities in Canada. Her own research focuses on the aerospace industry.

“In Canada, we are innovative in creating technology and products, but we are not known for closing the deal,” she said. “We designed the most advanced civil aircraft in the world, the C Series, but couldn’t sell it.”

Instead, Bombardier’s Europe-based competitor Airbus acquired the C Series last year, and the new aircraft is being marketed as the A220.

“Developing more expertise in sales management is important to ensure that companies here in Newfoundland and Labrador – and even across Canada – are able to sell the innovative products and services they are working hard to create,” said Dr. Dostaler.

The contribution was announced earlier today at a ceremony at the business faculty that attracted government and industry participants, as well as students, staff and researchers.