Picture the supply chain, and what comes to mind? Perhaps speeding trucks, whirring conveyors, or self-driving robots? To the trade group MHI, it's a person ... and one person in particular.
In April, MHI announced it had chosen AriAnne Sproat, chief operating officer (COO) of Phoenix-based steel products supplier International Technical Coatings (ITC), as the 2017 Face of the Supply Chain. MHI judges picked Sproat from a field of 16 finalists, citing her inspiring story and calling her a role model for the next generation of workers. She was presented with the award during a ceremony at the ProMat trade show and conference in Chicago.
MHI launched its annual contest through the #iWorkInTheSupplyChain campaign, an effort to highlight the success stories and career paths of supply chain stars (as well as promote career opportunities in the manufacturing and supply chain fields). Supply chain professionals who shared their story at iWorkInTheSupplyChain.com were automatically entered to become MHI's 2017 Face of the Supply Chain.
Sproat, 37, shared her experience in an entry titled "Shattering the Manufacturing Glass Ceiling: How One Woman Rose From Receptionist to Plant Floor to C-Suite." According to the essay, her Cinderella (or maybe Horatio Alger Jr.) story began when she was working as a customer service representative at a department store cosmetics counter in 1999. The then-ITC chief financial officer came into the shop, mentioned an open receptionist position, and encouraged her to apply for it. Over the next 16 years, Sproat seized every available opportunity to learn more about the business, volunteering for tasks that gave her exposure to areas like customer service, parts procurement, shipping, and sales. Among other roles, she served as shipping and inventory manager and as the company's production coordinator. In 2015, she was promoted to chief operating officer, a position she holds today.