The International Federation of Purchasing and Supply Management has selected Martin Montanti, Vice President of Corporate Services for Southern Health – Santé Sud, as the recipient of its prestigious Garner Themoin Award, presented to an individual whose unselfish, sincere and persistent efforts have furthered the advancement of the supply chain profession.
Montanti never chose to go into the profession, rather the profession chose him.
From the beginning, he thought he’d follow his father, a steamfitter, into the family business. By the time he had some schooling under his belt, the industry was laying off, so he took a job as a dispatcher for a United States Trucking Company.
Looking for a change, he then went to work for a wholesale baking supply company, where he learned the value of the dollar from the owner of the company. He started in the warehouse, but when the company was forced to move in a new direction, becoming a commercial bakery, he relocated to the office. He started doing a little purchasing and saw the company grow from $1.5 million in sales to $15 million. He even did a stint running the bakery operations for 6 months but found purchasing to be his niche.
After deciding this was the career he wanted, Montanti enrolled in the supply chain management accreditation program, which helped him to see other opportunities and landed him a job in the aerospace industry.
Standard Aero saw him as an expert, even though he’d only taken one course up until then. But over the years, he worked hard by completing and receiving his designation in supply chain management. During his time at Standard Aero he earned the reputation as Canada’s “inventory guru” by reducing inventory from $80 million to $30 million, while at the same time sales were boosted to $200 million from $120 million. While at Standard Aero, he also performed the process engineering role for a 3 year period as they redesigned their materials management department into product unit supply cell. One major accomplishment in the supply chain design was combining the purchasing, inventory planning and account payable functions into one role creating a seamless process that provided better customer service and a reduction in processing time.
Continuing to seek new challenges, but feeling pidgeon-holed by his accomplishments, Montanti was wooed away by flamboyant businessman Michael Shamray, who within an 18-month time span grew his business from three millwork/cabinetry companies to 10 companies, including radio and TV stations, a hotel in Jamaica and boating and gaming interests.
But the story didn’t have a happy ending. Shamray declared bankruptcy, putting everyone out of work.
For Montanti, the experience left him bitter and having a very sour taste in his mouth for private industry.
He had an opportunity to go public and took it, accepting a position as Director of Materials for the Regional Health Authority Central Manitoba. He developed a centralized materials model, consolidating 30 independent services into one. Even at that, he found he had a lot of spare time and took on extra duties. As well as logistics and supply chain, he oversaw the diagnostic services (lab and imaging), EMS, food services, risk/disaster management, privacy and access, information technology, health information services, electronic health records and plant maintenance.
On top of these functions, he served as acting CFO for eight months, putting together a financial plan and then hiring his successor.
When Regional Health Authority Central Manitoba merged with South Eastman Health, he was named Vice President of Corporate Services, doing all the same things.
In 2010, he received his MBA degree with Distinction from the University of Liverpool, which for a guy who never read a book until he was in Grade 8 was pretty amazing. His dissertation, which is published in the University of Liverpool library, was titled “Stay the Course or Re-Create? – An analysis of the current state of Canada’s Universal Medicare System and how it will impact a small rural community in Manitoba. His original research identified a flaw in the funding model that pays one health care provider based on volume (fee for service) and the remaining health care providers are funded based on a fixed budget (capped volume).
Montanti credits much of his success to being a member of the Supply Chain Management Association of Canada (SCMA) for almost 30 years. He says, “As a member it allowed me the opportunity to advance my career, develop and teach courses, seminars and workshops and the SCMP (CPP) designation met one of the prerequisites for gaining entry into the University of Liverpool’s MBA program”. However he went on to say the greatest benefit of being a member of SCMA is the network that he has built. “The association over the years has given me access to over 10,000 supply chain individuals by attending courses, teaching courses, and attending meetings and conferences”.
Montanti not only received great value as being a member of SCMA but he also believed in giving back to the associations as well. As an active member he served numerous roles such as: President of SCMA Manitoba, SCMA National Conference committee member including the Master of Ceremony and the Chair of the SCMA Taskforce of Champions. He goes on to say, “The association is a member organization that relies heavily on its members to giving back to the profession to grow it in the future”.
He also credits two main characteristics for his success:
The ability to take all the analytics and science, then apply the art of emotion (what he calls his spider senses) to negotiate a better deal, to understand what people are all about and to see an opportunityThe decision to be a “servant” leader – to serve the people and support the business
While Montanti enjoys his career, he also values his private time with his wife Lori and twin boys, Anthony and Andrew. He loves all sports and plays hockey and golf.