Sourcing Star Interview: Paul McArdle

Posted: 09/26/2019 - 11:22
Sourcing Star Interview: Paul McArdle

This October, the Future of Sourcing Awards will celebrate seasoned veterans whose thought leadership and innovative work in the sourcing field have made a transformative difference over the course of their career. Below, read about Sourcing Star Finalist Paul McArdie, VP of Strategic Sourcing and Operations/Americas for Hilton Supply Managementleads Category Management, Strategic Sourcing, Business Development, Account Management and Field Operations.

How did you get into this field – was it purposeful or by accident?

A bit of both really. I started my career in the UK in health service, managing stock control. The chief executive I was working for at the time suggested that I look towards buying and as a development from stock control. I guess you could say this is when I found my home. I studied for my qualifications and soon after moved to fashion retail and after a great experience in a fast-paced environment, I joined a food service business that owned hotels and introduced me to hospitality. They had a set of hotels they were divesting and that’s when I started to see that I really loved the hospitality space. In particular, I enjoyed the people serving people aspect. In hospitality, it’s more than just impacting the bottom the line—it’s about making a difference for real people and the experiences they have while traveling.   

In what ways do you feel your professional contributions have influenced or transformed the industry? (This could be a new approach or methodology, the application of an existing technology in a completely new way, significant thought leadership or even a career of inspiring others.)

The hospitality industry went through a period of time when hotels transformed from owner / operators into franchisors. I was fortunate to be working in procurement during this time and help redesign the supply chain to support this new franchise business model. Under the franchise model, you have more scalability but you manage consistency in the supply chain through the development of brand standards. I had to adapt my way of thinking and work with our suppliers to help them better support the new franchise model. It was one of the biggest challenges I have encountered over the course of my career, but it has also been one of the most rewarding.   

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges facing the industry today and what should be done to solve them? t

The biggest challenge facing hospitality procurement is technology and the speed of change. If you take a look back ten years, the landscape was very different than what it is today. Just look at technology. It’s not simply about maintaining status quo throughout change, it’s instead about looking to the future and projecting what is coming next.  There are a lot of disruptors in the market (think Amazon) and you need to be ahead of the game. For those of us in the industry, it’s important that we don’t just think about things in the same way we always have. We need to consistently carve out time in our daily operations to think about how we will manage the continual evolution of our business model and anticipate changes in the market. This is not only a challenge but also our biggest opportunity. 

Looking at the whole of your career, what do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Throughout my career, one of the things I have enjoyed the most is consulting the organizations I have been with and encouraging people to step back and think strategically about what they are doing and why. This type of thinking was helpful as we redesigned the supply chain to better support the shift from an owner-operator to franchise-driven business model.  I brought that same strategic approach with me when I joined Hilton Supply Management (HSM). Rather than doing things the way they had always been done, I focused on transforming the way HSM interacted with the wider Hilton brand and operating teams, fostering engagement between category managers and key Hilton stakeholders. While historically projects were completed as one-offs brand-by-brand and product-by-product, we implemented megabrand initiatives that aggregated spend across multiple products and brands within the same segment. This is just one of the great changes happening at HSM right now and I am really excited about the direction we are moving in.  

What three words do you feel your colleagues and peers would use to describe you?

Honest. Direct. Open-minded.

What advice do you have for those who are new to the profession or considering entering the industry?

Anyone new to the industry should be really excited about the opportunity and speed of change in the industry. Don’t look too much at the past or be constrained by it but instead look ahead and focus on the future. I always tell people to think about what the future could look like and how you may shape it. Don’t rely on the past or present as this applies in life and in business—we don’t know what we don’t know!

About The Author

Paul McArdle's picture
Paul McArdle, VP of Strategic Sourcing and Operations/Americas for Hilton Supply Management, leads Category Management, Strategic Sourcing, Business Development, Account Management and Field Operations. He is responsible for growing business, managing suppliers, driving savings, identifying opportunities and reducing supplier risk.  
Paul has held numerous executive positions in the hospitality, retail and service sectors, and has built high-performing teams around the world. He has developed complex supply chain strategies, negotiated contracts, and overcome resistance to change by producing transformative results.