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Careers in Purchasing and Inventory Control

Paper Type: Free Assignment Study Level: University / Undergraduate
Wordcount: 2908 words Published: 23rd Nov 2020

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Part 1) Careers

Shoppers Drug Mart, based in Toronto, Ontario, is a Canadian pharmacy retail chain, and its parent company is Loblaw companies; Murray Koffler founded Shoppers Drug Mart in 1962, and now the company has 1,307 Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix and 56 Home Health Care (Wikipedia, 2019). Major products Shoppers Drug Mart sells are drugs and health product, and the company is also a specialty drug distributor, a comprehensive patient support service provider and senior healthy living products provider. As for a large retail chain, Shoppers Drug Mart provides various job opportunities in the field of supply chain management. One job position the company currently is hiring is supply chain replenishment/ procurement analyst. This position is related to purchasing and inventory control, and its NOC code is 1524.

As for a person responsible for purchasing and inventory, there are some main duties must be fulfilled. Since the position Shoppers is hiring is more focus on purchasing, this report will also more focus on procurement’s responsibility over inventory control. Job responsibilities of procurement analyst include, but not limited to (Shoppers Drug Mart, 2019; Statistics Canada, 2018):

  • Undertake process improvement efforts, and focus on optimizing forecasting and Key Performance Indicators. 
  • Provide support to the day-to-day replenishment operations. 
  • Work with inventory management system to review requisition orders for accuracy and verify that materials, equipment and stock are not available from current inventories
  • Calculate cost of orders and charge or forward invoices to appropriate accounts
  • Process purchases within purchasing authority, act as a point of contract for stores on replenishment issues and third party
  • Contact suppliers to schedule deliveries and to resolve shortages, missed deliveries and other problems
  • Prepare and maintain purchasing files, reports and price lists.
  • Support and use SAP fluently. 

One of the job responsibilities I am interested in is to use SAP to manage the business. SAP stand for System Applications and Products in Data Process, and it is an enterprise resource planning software that used the most in the market. Based on my research, SAP is a very useful tool for company to manage and optimize its resources. That is, knowing how to use this software could be a great asset for anyone who wants to find a job in supply management as future career.

The second job responsibility I interested in is to undertake process improvement efforts, focused on optimizing forecasting and KPI. This job responsibility is broad and not specific, but I believe it is the overall goal of a procurement analyst. In order to optimize forecasting and KPI, a procurement analyst not only needs to have abundant supply chain management skills and knowledge but also needs to have extensive knowledge about the company’s protocols and product knowledge.  

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Act as a point of contract for stores on replenishment issues and third party might not be a part of the job that I am interested in. As for a point of contract, stores and a third party might call the procurement analyst anytime in the business hour, and I think it require a person to have a high level of multi-tasking skills. I do not think that I would like to work in an environment that is too fast paced, and I worry that if a phone call disturb and distract me from the work I am doing might lead me to make mistakes. Therefore, the part of the job that requires the person to be available and stand by for issues might not suitable to me.

The second job responsibility that is not attractive to me is purchasing files, reports and price lists. I believe keep everything in record is important and necessary, but it could also be a boring task. Moreover, as the first unattractive point I described, I might make mistake in this task if I am talking to someone in the meanwhile.

In the perspective of salary of a procurement analyst, research result from three website is showing as Figure 1,







Figure 1: Comparative Salaries for a procurement analyst (NOC: 1524)
Sources: Glassdoor.ca (2019), neuvoo.ca (2019) and Payscale (2019)

As the table shows, three website was given the different average salary for procurement analyst, but it provided a salary range for consideration. There are some factors could influence the pay rate. One of the major factors is experience level. Payscale (2019) suggest that a procurement analyst with less than one years’ experience receive annual salary in about $50,000 while 10 to 19 years’ work experience procurement analyst’s salary is about $70,000. Neuvoo (2019), however, indicates that the entry level job salary is $37,050, and an experience analyst’s salary is $84,911. The second factor that could influence salary is work location. For example, procurement analyst in Calgary earns 22.8 percent more than nation average, but same title in Winnipeg’s salary is 19% less than the national average. 

Overall, I might not interest in a career in procurement analyst because I am more committed to marketing. Moreover, I believe this job requires knowledge of supply chain management that beyond my knowledge and I am not sure am I have those knowledge. However, if I am offered a job as procurement analyst, I would not say no to such a good opportunity. One the one hand, the entry level salary of a procurement analyst is not low. Unlimited possibilities, on the other hand, are the best thing a job like this could offer. Having a job as procurement analyst in the early career could not only help a person to build business connection and looking for promotion and it could also allow a person to learn a lot of knowledge that will eventually be useful in the future career. 

Part 2) Operations Management Decisions

As for a leader in Canadian pharmacy retail chain, Shoppers Drug Mart earns annual sales of $12 billion each year; now the brand is connect with words such as healthy, beauty and convenience. The company has over 1,200 employees, and its human resources team is focuses on employee engagement to create a unique corporate culture. The HR team is responsible for recruiting, career development planning, compensation and benefits, information systems, change management, learning development and training, diversity and reporting (Shoppers Drug Mart, 2019). Moreover, Shoppers focuses on integrating services to improve efficiencies, providing more support to its employees and reduce costs (Rowe, n.d). The company provides employees benefit above average for its industry, and it is also a part of human resource strategy that could assist the company to improve its employee retention. In addition, good work environment and unique corporate culture increase employee’s sense of proud and sense of belonging, and it could encourage employees to deliver a better performance during work as well.

In the perspective of inventory management, the company’s biggest risk is shortage or excess inventory, and risk management strategies have been adopted. Moreover, new IT system also assists the company to increase visibility of each store’s cost and sales and minimize the risks. Moreover, lifecycle management was implemented to increase efficiency in long term (Loblaw Companies Limited, 2019).

Currently, Shoppers has more than 1,307 locations across Canada, and the location of these stores is located in locations that convenient to consumers. There are a total number of 550 stores owned by the corporate, 535 franchised stores, and 1,337 associated-owned Shoppers Drug Mart stores. Most of Shoppers are owned and operated by associates who are pharmacist owner that is licensed to operate a retail drug store. Many Shoppers has Beauty Boutique that sells cosmetics product, and except full-service drug stores, there is also Shoppers Simply Pharmacy located in medical buildings or clinics (Loblaw Companies Limited, 2019).

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Shoppers’ Retail Development department is responsible for the retail stores’ real estate lease management, store design, facility management and construction (Shoppers Drug Mart, 2019). A full-service Shoppers Drug Mart is complex with pharmacy services, cosmetics department, postal office and digital centre. That is, the layout of the store is important to consumers’ experience. Shoppers’ layout design ensure that consumers are able to find products they want to buy, and it also ensures consumers can browse more products before they go to check out.

There are no specific scheduling operational strategies of Shoppers Drug Mart was mentioned. However, the company has more than 1,200 employees, and as for a leader of the industry, Shoppers are able to schedule employees in different positions logically to ensure efficiency. Moreover, regions and sales forecast could also be factors that Shoppers considers when they schedule employees.

The company has wide relationship with vendors, suppliers, distributors and contractors. In order to meet consumers’ need and control the quality, the company manages its relationship with these third parties closely to ensure consumers get products as the quality they expected. Moreover, the company has Audit Committee to represent shareholders. At least once a year, auditors audit internal quality-control procedures, and any problem find by internal quality control review, peer review or independent oversight body will be reviewed and improved (Loblaw Companies Limited, 2019).

Shoppers’ total square footage the company’s corporate, franchised and associated-owned Shoppers stores are 35.6 million square feet, 16.3 million square feet and 18.5 million square feet (Loblaw Companies Limited, 2019). Space of a store is depends on the location of the store, and the capacity is maximized through its layout design.

As mentioned before, IT systems assist the company to manage its inventory and forecast its sales. This information also helps the company to make supply chain decisions based on market demand. Shoppers and its parent company keep evaluating its method of distribution, modes of transportation, and relationship with suppliers, and make adjustment when necessary to ensure the system’s cost efficiency. In addition, the company aware that unforeseen disruption such as fire, severe weather condition, labour disagreement and shipping problems could result in an interruption in product supply, and the made related risk management plans to minimize risks in the operation.

There are no specific maintenance strategies was mentioned. However, the company’s maintenance decisions are made by retail development department, and its properties are well-maintained. Moreover, online maintenance in today is also an important task for companies. Shoppers measures its security, train its staffs to protect consumers’ privacy, and its online materials and websites are also maintained on time.

Part 3) Mission Strategies and Competitive Advantages

The mission of Shoppers Drug Mart is “for Canadians who believe that being healthy means looking and feeling good. Shoppers Drug Mart is the trusted leader in taking care of the whole you by integrating health with beauty in easy and tangible ways (Glassdoor, 2019)”. In order to achieve its mission, the company believes in care which improving the health and well-being of all Canadians. The company also values ownership that approaching everyday with personal accountability. Moreover, Shoppers respect with integrity, respect and openness, and the company also aims on leading innovation and superior performance (Shoppers Drug Mart, 2019).

Today, people’s perspective of health and wellness is not only limit to stay away from diseases, and Shoppers is also focusing on “taking care of the whole you” which is beyond providing drugs to cure sicknesses. The company achieves this goal through proving product and services that specifically serve different market segments better.

In 2010, the company introduced Shoppers Drug Mart Women to support women’s whole health. In 2019, Shoppers launched its new Beauty Project campaign to promote its cosmetic products (Lombardo, 2019). That is, the company start to focus on female market segment as early as 2010, and after 9 years, the company promotes new products to an existed market segment with already existed customer relationships. Expand products variety of one target market consumers could help the company to take care of consumers’ “whole health”, and it is also a method to increase its profits. The competitive strategy of focusing on women’s market is competing on differentiation. Shoppers’ positioning among consumers was a drug distributor who sells health product. Selling cosmetic products, however, distinguish Shoppers to its competitors where consumers could see that Shoppers not only taking care of their health but also promote beauty appearances which are unique in the industry.

The second example of providing more specific products to specific market segment is that Shoppers start to target on aging people in 2017. The main focus is to provide aging market wellness, mobility, active living, tools and gadgets, personal care and home comfort (Singh, 2017). Compare with the company’s competitors, Shopper’s competitive strategy is to compete on response. Based on people’s opinion change about health and wellness, and based on the demographic change, Shoppers react fast to match market demand.

The last strategy of Shoppers Drug Mart this report will introduce is the company’s newly launched PC Optimum program. In 2014, Loblaw Companies Limited acquires Shoppers in $12.4 billion and shoppers then shift its loyalty program from Shoppers Optimum program to PC Optimum (Shoppers Drug Mart, 2019). Regardless the change of the loyalty program’s name, PC Optimum allow consumers to spend points on products that they like the most, and PC members are also able to participate in weekly personalized offers and points earning or points redemptions events. This program not only builds consumers’ loyalty but also maximize value consumers perceived. Since consumers can use point to redeem any product, they would not feel that they are getting free product in low quality, and in the meanwhile this program actually decreases their spending and increase values they could obtain. That is, Shoppers has a competitive advantage of competing on cost.


  • Glassdoor. (2019). Shoppers Drug Mart. Retrieved from  https://www.glassdoor.ca/Overview/Working-at-Shoppers-Drug-Mart-EI_IE12129.11,29.htm
  • Loblaw Companies Limited. (2019). Annual information form. Retrieved from  https://s1.q4cdn.com/326961052/files/doc_financials/2018/annual/2018-AIF-Loblaw.pdf
  • Lombardo, C. (2019, August 12). Shoppers Drug Mart launches The Beauty Project. Retrieved               from               http://strategyonline.ca/2019/08/12/shoppers-drug-mart-launches-the-beauty-project/
  • Neuvoo. (2019). Procurement Analyst salary in Canada. Retrieved from  https://neuvoo.ca/salary/?job=Procurement%20Analyst
  • payscale. (2019). Average Procurement Analyst Salary in Canada. Retrieved from  https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Procurement_Analyst/Salary
  • Rowe, B. (n.d). Shoppers Drug Mart improves efficiencies of disability management process to better support employees’ return to work. Retrieved from Morneau Shepell:               https://www.morneaushepell.com/ca-en/insights/shoppers-drug-mart-improves-efficiencies              -disability-management-process-better-support
  • Shoppers Drug Mart. (2019). Central office Careers. Retrieved from  http://careers.shoppersdrugmart.ca/central-office
  • Shoppers Drug Mart. (2019). Major Company Milestones. Retrieved from  https://corporate.shoppersdrugmart.ca/en-ca/about-us/major-company-milestones
  • Shoppers Drug Mart. (2019). Shoppers Drug Mart Supply Chain Replenishment. Retrieved from               Glassdoor:               https://www.glassdoor.ca/Job/canada-shoppers-drug-mart-jobs-SRCH_IL.0,6_IN3_KE7,25.ht              m
  • Singh, H. (2017). Shoppers shifts tactics to target aging Canadians. Retrieved from  http://strategyonline.ca/2017/09/26/shoppers-shifts-tactics-to-target-aging-canadians/
  • Statistics Canada. (2018). National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2011. Retrieved from               Statistics Canada:               http://www23.statcan.gc.ca/imdb/p3VD.pl?Function=getVD&TVD=122372&CVD=122375&C              PV=152&CST=01012011&CLV=3&MLV=4&D=1&wbdisable=true
  • Wikipedia. (2019). Shoppers Drug Mart. Retrieved from  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoppers_Drug_Mart


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