Executive Spotlight: Ryan Humphreys, Director, Procurement, TravelCenters of America
SCS: Tell us about your background and the roles you've held that have led to where you are now.
RH: My career began in operations and transitioned to a corporate role about 12 years ago where I had roles managing distribution, working marketing projects, actively involved in R&D and, ultimately, into Procurement.
SCS: Are there any initiatives you’re overseeing right now you can share with us?
RH: Navigating commodities like coffee, oil and resin, among other things are the biggest initiatives I have in front of me.
SCS: COVID – how were you (in supply chain) affected? What did you have in place that really helped? What are you seeing? How has your job changed? What’s next?
RH: COVID was a learning lesson for everyone… every day brought new challenges and menus changing at the speed of light. We had to adapt to the vast changes while also making sure we were controlling inventories and distribution as best as possible. It was great to see our support teams come into place so quickly and manage the openings, closings, contract tracing, distribution of PPE, etc. All aspects of the organization stood up to the challenge and showed what teamwork really looks like. It was great to be a part of the group that was assisting the teams in operation that were ultimately supporting the over-the-road truck drivers delivering goods, supplies, etc across the country.
My role evolved throughout the pandemic last year when our organization began a major company Transformation, focused on improving operational efficiencies. As part of this, the company created a centralized Procurement department, which has caused roles to adjust slightly. My sourcing events became slightly less foodservice specific and distribution management has transitioned to a new area. As we get into our second year as a central Procurement team, we will look to become more strategic in our approach to management of the supply chain and future sourcing events.
SCS: Can you speak to the technology that you're currently using in your role and how do you see future developments in technology benefiting the procurement field?
RH: As part of our company transformation, we are upgrading our IT infrastructure and I’m really excited that TA is looking into new systems, policies and procedures to enhance our capabilities. These upgrades will allow the team to perform more effectively and efficiently.
SCS: What skills have helped you the most get to where you are now? Do you have any advice for people that would like to follow in your footsteps?
RH: Working in operations is most critical. Having that in mind when making critical decisions is always helpful. Additionally, I would suggest anyone getting into supply chain spend time heavily involved in the distribution channel to get an understanding of logistics involved.
SCS: How do you see your job and what you're doing changing in the future? What do you see ahead in three to five years?
RH: As a newly developed team, I foresee this group growing over the next few years and our roles becoming more category-specific (think center of plate specialists, a team managing all logistics, etc).