Morgan Rachal’s journey in manufacturing in material distribution began in Oklahoma, USA, in 2015.
Well-versed in the industry and with a passion for manufacturing, particularly material flow, she recently led a resourcing project totalling $13 million in initial savings.
Keen on seeking out process improvements and seeing them through, for Procurement Heads‘ latest Women in Procurement blog, she spoke to Ben Stickland to share more about her career.
Tell us about your procurement journey to date and what made you choose the industry as a profession.
I began pulling material for a manufacturing plant in 2016 and instantly fell in love with material flow.
I quickly moved up into MRO purchasing and became even more passionate about saving my company money using smart supply chain solutions and strategic procurement.
What has surprised you about procurement as a profession?
I was surprised by how much planning went into it.
I was otherwise convinced that “purchasing just buys parts”.
I was pretty quickly humbled when I realised that procurement is so much more than that.
Have you faced any barriers as a woman in the industry?
My voice sometimes is heard as negative.
I am occasionally perceived as too pushy, too dramatic, and too strong-willed when I question the ideas and stances of my male counterparts.
That doesn’t stop me though.
What is your view on how women are represented and perceived across the profession?
I believe procurement is a woman’s wheelhouse; we are organised, detail-oriented and excellent multitaskers.
However, we are vastly under-utilised in the industry.
A startling percentage of Procurement Managers are men.
I believe this is in part due to the fear that women can’t or won’t learn the mechanics of what they are buying.
I am proof that this isn’t the case.
Learning what I am buying and how it works is something I put a lot of weight into.
What inhibitors are there in your experience to women progressing their careers?
The “motherhood tax”, as it is called, is a real thing.
A gap in your resume for child care? Point against.
Working from home with young children at home? Point against.
Having to leave work early for a dance recital or dentist appointment? Point against.
I wish the industry would catch up with the times – people are more hungry than ever in their search for work/life balance.
What skills and attributes do you believe help women progress their careers?
I believe women are naturally humbler and this creates an environment where we can stay more curious and ask more questions throughout our careers.
The smartest person in the room is often the one asking the most questions.
What can be done to support and encourage women to progress in their careers?
It is so important that we, as leaders, listen when an idea is brought up.
On average, a woman is far less likely to speak up in meetings.
That being said, if a woman in your organisation is raising a concern – listen, don’t just hear her.
How can we encourage more women to choose procurement as a viable career?
It is my dream to visit schools and teach young people about procurement opportunities.
Nobody says, “I want to be a Buyer when I grow up!” And I would love to change that.
Who has inspired you throughout your career and why?
My first boss, Chad Ellis, will always be my motivation to do things correctly, the first time I do them.
Not for recognition or more pay, but because that is the expectation of one’s self.
That is how he lived life and ran his team, and it was contagious in the best way.
I will never forget that or him.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Every step of the way, be grateful.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
My biggest achievement of all time is saving the company I worked for $52 million on a global strategic sourcing initiative.