Interview with Professor Philip Poh, Chairman of SIPMM

YDN: Good afternoon Professor Poh! Thank you for taking time to visit us at SIAF (Shenton Institute of Applied Finance). Can you tell us a little about your experiences as the Chairman of SIPMM (Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management), WCI (World Certification Council) and Vice Chairman of WSRI (World Supply Research Institute)?

Prof Poh: Okay, this question (is) about my involvement in these professional and research institutes. I think a very key experience in what we do at the professional organization is to ensure that whatever research that we have gathered, it has to be translated into effective professional training that will be relevant to the work force. I think that is important (as) otherwise a research undertaking that does not bear any relevance to the industry will be very futile. That’s my point about research organizations.

YDN: Thank you Prof Poh. Can you tell us a little about the new Myanmar PMI which will be launched by SIAF and endorsed by SIPMM on 1st April 2017? How did such an idea arise? How could the new PMI contribute towards Myanmar’s economic development?

Prof Poh: Well, I think the important thing is that this represents a milestone. As I mentioned earlier, when I first delivered the keynote address in Myanmar way back in 2015. I think Myanmar (was) starting to build up and open up. Last year with the lifting of sanctions, I think this is a very good opportunity to show to the international community that Myanmar is ready. And I think SIAF – I met Mr. Amos on occasions and we decided that the best way to show to the international investment community, is to show the transparency. And the Myanmar PMI is an important indicator to the international community in that, Myanmar is ready for the investment trends. Thank you.

YDN: How would you define a logistics & procurement professional? What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful logistics & procurement professional?

Prof Poh: Interesting question. Top three skills? Maybe I should say that the top three skills, is as easy as ABC. The acronym for ABC (what ABC stands for). “A” stands for Alignment. It is important for logistics and procurement professionals (in) whatever they do, the goals and objectives must be aligned to the corporate objectives. So that is the first skill. The second one is “B”. “B” is actually what I will term as “Best Practices”. It is important that you keep abreast with the best practices in the industry, and to learn from it and to evolve into (becoming) better professionals. That is the second skill. The third skill is what I consider as “Candor”. “C” stands for candor and candor reflects honesty (and) ethical conduct. Especially in procurement, we need to be cognizant about the ethical practices. (It is) important to have these concepts of integrity, honesty, forthrightness in terms of your procurement & logistics practices. This is what I consider as the three skills: Alignment (A), “B” for Best Practices and “C” for Candor.

YDN: We are aware that both SIAF and SIPMM believe passionately about training the next generation of logistics & procurement professionals. Do you have any specific recommendations to strengthen Myanmar’s logistics and procurement professionals?

Prof Poh: That is what I have in mind. I am quite happy and glad to note that SIAF is embarking on this, because the courses that SIAF is (rolling out), is to strengthen the professional development of the people in Myanmar. And I am glad to note that they are launching the new course, Diploma in Logistics & Supply Management. In addition, earlier on we heard Mr. Amos has (also) mentioned about launching the Diploma in Warehouse Management.

YDN: Thank you Prof Poh, could you enumerate some of the strengths and unique aspects of the SIAF’s Diploma in Logistics & Supply Management programme, which is validated by SIPMM? What can students do to get the full DLSM experience?

Prof Poh: I think what is important is that (for) this course, SIAF is going to set apart (from) what that is currently been offered in the market. Firstly, it has to be relevant. Secondly is that, we are talking about tapping on the best practices which I have mentioned earlier. And this comes in the form of research project for the diploma course. The other aspect is that, just now we have heard from the audience that there are quite a number of them, who are quite excited about this development and happening in SIAF. And I can see that, moving forward, this course will be very well received.

YDN: Could you also say more about the SIAF’s Diploma in Logistics & Supply Management programme in relation to logistics & supply management professionals’ work?

Prof Poh: Just let me reiterate, firstly the course (SIAF’s diploma course) has three main modules. The first module will touch on business logistics management, which is really about (the) principles and techniques about managing logistics. The second module is about warehouse management, which is essentially the principles and techniques of managing a warehouse or a distribution centre. The third module gets the student to be involved in a research project and I say that, this is important because (the) research project is actually a capstone unit. A unit that focuses on the best practices that is happening in the industry in Myanmar, and so that is how Myanmar is going to improve by comparing with the best practices in the world.

YDN: I think we can conclude this interview with a personal and hopefully inspiring question: What was your proudest movement as a logistics and procurement professional till date?

Prof Poh: I would like to say this, although it may (sound) perhaps a little altruistic to mention. In whatever you do, you must make a difference. You have to make a difference, a HUGE difference would be something very satisfying and I think doing this (i.e.) coming here, sharing experiences is going to make a HUGE difference to a lot of people here who desire to upgrade and improve their lives. I think this is going to be something very satisfying because way back in Singapore, for instance when we started our course and for many years, we have made BIG difference to the lives of many people, in terms of their careers. Some actually would have been drop-outs but eventually rise up to be top managers, regional managers of multi-national companies. So I think and hope in the years to come, after SIAF has launched several courses, that we can see some BIG leaders coming from Myanmar, as a result of the courses that (was) started at SIAF. I think that, in itself, this will make a HUGE difference to somebody’s career and that is very satisfying.

YDN: Thank you so much for your time. With much appreciation Prof Poh!

Prof Poh: Thank you.