April 29 2020
8 insightful answers in less
than 8 minutes
Internet of Business’ IoB 8×8 Series is designed to reveal more about the people who have helped shape IoB’s live event and digital content over the years, picking the key industry brains who have dedicated
time to educating peers.
Christine Moroz, Vice President of Merchandising at Sysco Prairie Region, the leading foodservice distributor in North America. We asked Christine to tell us more about her role, how the challenges over the past year or so have been tackled within Sysco Prairie, and why she is taking the time to share more of her experience at the Supply Chain X.0 event on May 25 this year!
IoB: Can you describe your current role at Prairie Region?
CM: I oversee Procurement, Category Management, and Inbound Logistics.
IoB: What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?
CM: Merchandising often involves a lot of cross-functional collaboration, as it’s a support function. So, for me, the most rewarding times are when we’re able to navigate that and rise above departmental challenges to get things done for our customers and our people.
IoB: And, what is the most challenging?
CM: The most rewarding is often also the most challenging. Most of the times if we are crossing functions, we’ve got conflicting objectives that we need to find a way resolve to find the best possible solution. It’s sometimes difficult to create communication and collaboration frameworks when the objectives and the rewards compete against each other.
IoB: How has technology changed your practices in recent years?
CM: We lean heavily on data to make decisions, in both category management and procurement. One of the changes I see is that the data we use is getting closer and closer to being available ‘in real time’. Five years ago we were comfortable making decisions on data that was a week old, or a month old. Now we want data that’s up to date as of this minute. Technology is helping us get there.
IoB: How do you see technology-led innovation affecting your industry going forward?
CM: I think we are going to be moving from lagging to leading indicators, both in purchasing and in category management. We’ve relied heavily on historic data, but I think machine learning and external data sources will become more integrated to help us make better decisions, both strategically and tactically.
IoB: How did the pandemic affect your role and business?
CM: The supply chain de-stabilized almost overnight with respect to food – we had a lot of perishable bulk packed product for which the demand disappeared overnight – our customers at the same time were pivoting to new revenue streams, so they needed different, retail product to support them. Overnight the problems that we had to solve, changed.
“One of the changes I see is that the data we use is getting closer and closer to being available ‘in real time’. Five years ago we were comfortable making decisions on data that was a week old, or a month old. Now we want data that’s up to date as of this minute. Technology is helping us get there.”
IoB: And how did you overcome challenges that COVID-19 brought?
CM: I think there were three things that made a difference for us over this pandemic period. First, we really opened up our communications at every level. This helped enable everyone to understand why we were doing things, whether it was changing a process, a timeline, or a product, and it helped everyone to feel connected. Second, we shifted our mindset with respect to projects – less emphasis on perfection, more emphasis on pace and agility. Third, and maybe most importantly, we have maintained a huge focus on mental health and wellbeing since the pandemic began, with initiatives driven down from corporate, but also a lot of initiatives driven up from our associates. I think this really helped our teams stay healthy, and, in turn, we have been able to be more innovative, more resilient, and more adaptive.
IoB: What do you hope to get from joining the Manufacturing & Supply Chain X.0 events?
CM: There is so much talent, and a diversity of experience represented here. I’m hoping to learn how others are looking at the future of supply chain, how problems similar to my own are being solved by others, and take away a few nuggets that my team and I can use to improve our processes.
Christine Moroz leads Merchandising strategies for the Prairie Region of Sysco Foods, the leading foodservice distributor in North America. In this role she leads Category Management, Fulfillment, and Inbound Logistics strategies for Sysco in Manitoba, Saskatchewan & Northwest Ontario. Christine’s experience spans multi-unit restaurant management, operations management in SaaS (Software as a Service), and food services distribution. Christine holds a graduate certificate in project management from Royal Roads University.