Seasoned Leadership in Action™ – An Interview with Danny Wang, VP at Canada Goose!

Danny Wang

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At Supply Chain Game Changer we believe in sharing experiences and expertise from people in every industry and from across the globe.  As such we have introduced our “Seasoned Leadership in Action™” Interview series. This interview is with Danny Wang, Vice President of Sourcing and Procurement at Canada Goose.

I first met Danny when we were both at Celestica. We worked in the Commodity Management organization, responsible for Strategic Sourcing and Procurement.

It was easy to see early on that Danny was highly intelligent and had tremendous career potential. It is great to see Danny’s success as he has advanced and progressed throughout his career.

Danny Wang, Vice President at Canada Goose

The work that Canada Goose is doing to supply Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during the Coronavirus pandemic is truly inspirational. And Danny’s work in sourcing and procurement is at the centre of making that happen. We extend our thanks to Danny and the team at Canada Goose for all of their efforts.

Here is our interview with a true industry leader, Danny Wang!

Tell our readers a little about your background and experience? 

Danny Wang is currently the VP of Sourcing and Procurement at Canada Goose with accountability for Direct/Indirect spends and replenishment planning and purchasing.  He received his Engineering degree from Queen’s University which led to his initial career in manufacturing and supply chain at Celestica. 

After a successful tenure in helping develop their international build to print supply base, Danny completed his MBA at Ivey and proceeded into his retail consulting career with Accenture and performed numerous strategic sourcing transformations and assessments at Walgreens, HBC/L&T/Saks, Staples, JC Penny, and Canadian Tire. 

Danny eventually returned to industry and worked at Walmart Canada leading several indirect categories.  He currently resides in Toronto with his wife and wears a different Canada Goose jacket every week.

What are some of your greatest achievements in Business? 

When asked this question, what I remember are the individuals that I was able to coach and mentor.  At every instance, it was a pleasure to see them take some of my advice and grow to become very successful in their immediate role and excel in their careers after my time with them.  

Of course, I would count myself lucky in being able to identify these high potentials who all seem to have the similar mindset of continuing to learn and ask questions to challenge old habits or preconceived notions.

How has Business and Supply Chain changed over the course of your career? 

In my current world of managing suppliers, sourcing goods and identifying opportunities to save money, the principles have remained the same.   Principles of being extremely flexible to everchanging needs; paranoid diligence in understanding requirements; drive for complete cost transparency and fact-based analysis; and consistent over communication.

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The pace and ability to gather information and execute has dramatically increased through technology as well as the entrepreneur mindset to delivery results regardless of bureaucracy and competing initiatives.  I have seen some companies truly embrace this mindset and become very successful and others embrace it but forget to use common sense when making decisions.  

We may be able to gather a lot of information today, but common sense helps navigate what information is appropriate and reasonably accurate.

What are some of the lessons you learned in your career that you would like to share for others to learn from? 

Be patient with your career development and always focus on putting yourself in either situations to try something new or uncomfortable situations that will force you to learn new skills.  Some folks seem to be very lucky in their careers of always having the right opportunities land in their laps, but I would like to think that they were always preparing themselves with experience and education to be successful when those opportunities presented themselves.

Taking the time to invest in yourself and even taking parallel or lower career positions to gain new experience will help leapfrog your career in 5 to 10 years, more so than others with less professional diversity.  This was what I can attest to when I took a year off to complete my MBA as well as moving into a junior consultant role in a completely new industry where my peers where 8 years younger.  

Having the ability to pivot to new directions as well as my diverse background allowed me to showcase my value and fast track promotions every 2 years where my previous peers were still in the same positions.

What challenges facing the world are important to you?

At present it is the Covid-19 pandemic the world is facing.

What is the role of Business, Supply Chain and Change Leadership in addressing these challenges? 

How Canada Goose is addressing the Covid-19 challenge I think is a great example of how all roles of business, supply chain and change leadership stepped up and aligned on the principle that we had a responsibility to do something meaningful to help Canadians though this ordeal.  

Given our Canadian manufacturing footprint, our apparel experience and the direction from our executive leadership to just go make scrubs and gowns to donate, allowed everyone the freedom to lean in and execute as quickly as possible.  

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Those initial two weeks of sourcing materials, experimenting with designs, working with Hospitals/Health Canada and calling our manufacturing folks back to work was the key to accelerating our ability to make 60,000+ isolation gowns per week for various Canadian health entities today.  

The change management to be able to pivot the organization so quickly was having a singular goal throughout all departments to help in the Covid-19 cause and removed any potential barriers of working outside our regular defined process.  In my opinion this sped up our ability to secure raw materials and start production at 5x the regular pace.

What advice would you give people who are considering a career in Sourcing and Procurement? 

I never really planned on being in Sourcing and Procurement when I first started my career after graduating with an engineering degree.  Like several of my peers today we fell into this role after several rounds of formalizing what we may have done in different functions across various roles to what we better understand what Sourcing and Procurement may mean today.  

My advice to those considering on joining this field is to understand if they have a passion to identify what people want vs. need and why; find or develop the supplies to fulfill these needs; work across the enterprise to satisfy budgets, legal constraints and timelines; and then in rare occasions, when needed, negotiate with facts instead of bargaining for pride.  People will also need to be comfortable with never being an expert on what they may source but collaborating with those who believe they are the experts and thus do not need your involvement to buy/negotiate those goods/services.

In its most mature form, Sourcing and Procurement is very strategic and core to any company’s success and profitability. It interacts and guides across the enterprise to ensure everyone is empowered to identify better suppliers and more efficient ways to consume those products/services while guarding against bias and complacency.   

Sourcing and Procurement like other roles in Supply Chain are rarely glamourous or the first subject in the headlines but these support roles are critically needed and a fantastic career path for those who want to see their efforts materialize in tangible results.

Originally published on May 12, 2020.
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