How Metro Supply Chain is investing in the next generation

As a people-focused organization, Metro Supply Chain is committed to bringing its best to our customers, team, company and world. Not only does this mean investing in who works with the company today, but it also means educating the next generation about the many rewarding careers the supply chain industry has to offer.

Leading by example

In fall 2022, Metro Supply Chain was the only supply chain solutions company to participate in the Lazaridis International Case Conference (LazICC) hosted by the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University and focused on technology. Given Metro Supply Chain’s significant ongoing investments in automation, advanced technology and business intelligence, the case competition was a particularly good fit this year. As a Gold Sponsor, the company had the opportunity to speak to international students from across the globe about the role people and technology will play in tomorrow’s supply chain. 

“Now more than ever, the supply chain industry is an incredibly dynamic place to work in,” explained Chris Fenton, President and CEO of Metro Supply Chain – the largest privately owned supply chain solutions company based in Canada with 98 sites and a team of 6,000 across North America and Europe. “From business analysts to finance and information technology specialists, our industry needs people passionate about solving complex problems and excited about making a real difference.”

As an Education Day Speaker, Fenton spoke about his journey from working on the warehouse floor to leading an international supply chain solutions company, reminding everyone in the room that “supply chain offers rapid career development opportunities, no matter where someone begins their journey.”  

Exploring supply chain careers

LazICC attracts top undergraduate students worldwide. Over three days, students come together to work on a case competition and network with leading organizations. For many of the students, this was their first time learning about supply chain, so they took the opportunity to speak with the Metro Supply Chain leaders who came to answer questions and help judge the case competition. 

“It was great meeting the students and opening their eyes to the world of supply chain,” said Zuhair Ahmed, Finance Manager at Metro Supply Chain. “Most hadn’t considered supply chain as a career option even though they are interacting with the end products and experiences of a successful supply chain daily. Even fewer considered that supply chain needs core support services like finance and human resources to function.” 

Connecting with the workforce of the future 

Metro Supply Chain’s Human Resources team was particularly interested in meeting with students to help grow our awareness of our annual internship program. Each summer, it provides paid opportunities for interns to work with leaders across the company in a variety of roles. 

“Attending the Lazaridis international case competition was such a great way to not only meet students and judge cases, but it was also an important opportunity to educate students on career opportunities in the supply chain industry,” explained Mona Stefan, Metro Supply Chain’s Manager of Talent Acquisition. “I was very impressed with the quality of their presentations and business and marketing knowledge, and we made a good impression with them in terms of broadening their perspectives when it comes to considering careers in supply chain.”

Investing in continuous improvement 

Focused on advancing the supply chain management profession, this event was just one of the ways Metro Supply Chain is working to positively impact the economic outlook of the industry. Keenly aware of the importance of employee support throughout a person's career, Metro Supply Chain has implemented several programs to support continuous improvement and develop talents to meet the needs of today and those in the future. 

The company’s Accelerated Management program is focused on mentoring recent Master’s graduate students throughout their journey to permanent management roles at Metro Supply Chain.  Recently four of the program’s participants won the competition Fresh Connection, where they competed against the top 10 teams from around the world. In this competition, the teams were presented with a challenging business simulation, and took on the functional roles of VP Purchasing, VP Operations, VP Supply Chain and VP sales. The team was faced with various challenges throughout the simulation such as the need to reduce their carbon footprint, meet their KPI’s, and mitigate the risk involved in supply chain. The Metro Supply Chain team was able to collaborate and use cross-functional skills to overcome the challenges and turn their simulated company into a success. 

The newly launched Ignite program identifies high-potential team members and teaches them enhanced leadership skills through a robust nine-month program to help accelerate their growth in the organization. 

By providing opportunities for both students and our team members to develop and hone their communication, business, and technical skills, we are setting our future leaders up for success.