Lin Ding: A Healthy Perspective on Procurement
Lin Ding is procurement manager at Ultimate Medical Academy in Tampa, Fla. She has held this position since May 2015.
Responsibilities: Overseeing procurement, supplier management, and contract management; creating a framework to support the department's procurement activities; implementing purchasing policies and improvement strategies.
Experience: Financial advisor, Yuebao Investment Co.; purchasing and sourcing coordinator, Seven Halos; public relations specialist (intern), VienneMilano; operations and supply chain coordinator, OnHand; corporate compliance and business analyst, Perimeter Global Logistics.
Education: Bachelor of Economics, International Business, Beijing Institute of Technology, 2010; MS, Supply Chain and Operations Management, University of Texas at Dallas, 2013.
When I was a child in China, I wanted to be a world traveler. I was curious to see what people were like in other countries, and to get to know their cultures and foods. That's why I studied international business for my bachelor's degree and then came to the United States for graduate school.
I started out pursuing a graduate degree in finance. But after some study and research, I decided that finance wouldn't give me the broad, global perspective I wanted. So I switched to supply chain management.
At Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA), I manage a team of associates with a shared focus on procurement, supplier management, and contract management. UMA helps students train for careers in health care.
My team is responsible for procuring everything the school needs for use as an educational institution and as a business unit. To accomplish our goals, we have to work with many different variables and groups of people. I work with departments and project owners to identify their needs and define the specifications for solicitations that result in contracts or purchase orders. I also research suppliers and communicate with them on terms, the scope of work, and service performance.
I conduct contract negotiations, sometimes independently, and sometimes with members of a department or project and our legal counsel. I have to make sure that vendors meet all our product and service needs, and comply with all relevant regulations. I'm also responsible for keeping our purchasing activities in line with our corporate budget and financial goals.
Because we buy everything—including specialized items such as information technology and medical equipment—we have to become experts quickly. Members of departments and project teams help us learn about the products and services they use, but we also do a lot of research ourselves about the items we buy and the suppliers that provide them.
Recently, I became responsible for managing our contracts for textbooks and e-books. This was the first time I worked with publishers, and I had a lot to learn. I contacted our curriculum team to find out about our past relationships with the publishers, and explored how we could help one another.
My team has great technology to help us, and strong policies that are easy for everyone to apply. Our goal is to make our processes even more clear and user-friendly, and make our data more transparent.
Beyond that, we start new projects almost every day. There are always updates and improvements in the products and services UMA uses. Each new project comes with its own challenges, and based on that experience, my team keeps growing stronger and becoming more knowledgeable in all aspects of the business.n
The Big Questions
What's your idea of a perfect day off?
I would spend a sunny morning at the beach. In the afternoon, I'd check out local boutiques and antique stores. Then, I would end the day at a nice seafood restaurant with a view of the sunset.
What else do you enjoy?
I love camping and being out in the wild. I have a wonderful memory of lying in the desert in Death Valley National Park, looking up at the night sky.
What's the best work-related advice you've ever received?
Start the day doing the work you find hardest, and finish with the work you find easiest.
Do you have any regrets?
I love my work, but I regret being so far from home and missing many moments with my family. I've been in the United States since 2011. I was glad to have a chance to go back to China for a visit in February 2015.