CHRISTOPHER LOCKE has 35 years of diverse experience in the global industrial environment including design, plant engineering, project management and global purchasing. He received his Masters of Science Degree in Industrial Management from Central Michigan University. He has worked both on the supply-side and the client-side of the business in numerous capacities, and has taught various classes at the University level. As a Senior Buyer, Chris is a proven and motivated cross-functional team leader in the planning, organizing, direction and control of global sourcing strategies, supply-chain management and “cradle-to-grave” procurement responsibilities.
Starting in 1977, the first nine years of Chris’ career was spent working for various architectural and engineering companies in the Metro-Detroit area. During that time he completed facility design and plant modernization projects on the drafting board and on CAD systems, working directly with clients like General Motors, Ford and Caterpillar.
In 1986, Chris was assigned for two months to work on various engineering projects at Ford Motor Company. That two-month assignment turned into 10 years of plant engineering and equipment installation support as continuously requested by Ford. Despite the fact he was not a direct employee, Ford designated him to be their Plant Representative for the Chassis Division CAD Users Group. During his time at Ford, Chris completed a wide variety of projects involving architecture, mechanical and civil engineering, equipment installation, and the design of process and conveying systems. It was also during this time that Chris came in full contact with Sales Representatives and gained a valuable understanding of how Sales and End-Users interact and conduct business.
In 1996 Chris left Ford to join an engineering firm in Southeast Michigan as a Project Engineer and was later promoted to Manager of the On-Site Engineering Group. In 1998 Chris was hired by Chrysler Corporation as a Plant Engineer in Advance Manufacturing Engineering coordinating the installation and qualification of powertrain manufacturing systems. A few months later, Chrysler became DaimlerChrysler during the historic merger with Mercedes Benz.
After 30 months in Plant Engineering, Chris was promoted to the position of Senior Buyer in the International Procurement Group, responsible for the acquisition of powertrain capital equipment and on-site services. Management’s request for Chris to transfer into purchasing was based on his ability to understand the cost structures of equipment and components, as well as his capacity to prudently resolve project issues with suppliers. And it was this promotion that drastically and positively affected his career. For the next seven years, Chris managed the procurement of capital equipment, assembly lines, construction and facility, corporate services and industrial materials for DaimlerChrysler global manufacturing facilities.
Chris’ first assignment as Senior Buyer was the procurement of 75% of the capital equipment and assembly systems for the W5A580 Transmission, a 600 million dollar powertrain program in Kokomo, Indiana. During that project he facilitated the very first on-line auctions for DaimlerChrysler powertrain purchasing. Chris was designated only one of two Global Lead Buyers in the U.S., as well as Communications Officer between the American and German procurement groups. His time at DaimlerChrysler required numerous trips overseas to Europe and Japan, meeting with procurement counterparts to bundle sourcing opportunities, and touring supplier manufacturing facilities. Chris also spent time in Mexico where he was commercially responsible for the Hemi Engine upgrade programs.
During his time at DaimlerChrysler, Chris worked with thousands of Sales Professionals. And after spending a couple years behind the Buyer’s desk, it became apparent to him that the relationship between Buyers and Sellers could be greatly improved; that Sales Reps could greatly enhance their opportunities if they could only experience the sales process “from the Buyer’s perspective”. So in 2003 Chris started including “buyer-endorsed” recommendations in his Request-for-Quotes to suppliers as to how to improve their prospects. Eventually, through the approval of DaimlerChryser, those recommendations turned into a full-fledged sales workshop called “Buyer-Endorsed Sales Training” or “B.E.S.T”.
“Buyer-Endorsed Sales Training” was a 4-hour, open-forum workshop written, developed and facilitated by Chris and another Senior Buyer who worked closely with him at DaimlerChrysler. Held in an amphitheater at a local conference center, B.E.S.T. was the only sales workshop in the Nation developed and run by Corporate Buyers. This unique workshop provided candid feedback, real-world sales advice and “buyer-endorsed” sales strategies based on the responses of over 300 diverse corporate buyers and end-users from across the country. Participants were able to experience the entire sales process through the minds and eyes of corporate buyers, thereby learning how to improve their opportunities with those who buy from them. B.E.S.T. successfully ran for four years and was attended by hundreds of the top Tier 1 automotive and industrial suppliers in the Country. One anonymous attendee summed up his experience at the seminar when he wrote, “Without question, the most informative, real-world sales training I’ve attended.” Chris and his seminar colleague also took B.E.S.T. on the road, holding workshops for various corporate sales teams and business events. After four years, they ended B.E.S.T. to spend more time focusing on their careers.
In 2007 Chris was hired by American Axle & Manufacturing in Detroit as Senior Buyer of Indirect and Direct Procurement. During his time at AAM, Chris managed the procurement of capital equipment, assembly lines, construction and facility, corporate services and industrial materials for American Axle’s global manufacturing facilities. In 2010 Chris was hired as Senior Buyer by his current employer, a world premier solution provider of off-highway, onsite energy and components applications in power propulsion systems.
In addition to his 35 years in the industrial environment, Chris was an Adjunct Instructor at the University level for several years teaching technical and administrative courses for Central Michigan University’s Off-Campus vehicle design and engineering programs. He was approved by CMU to teach several classes including Manufacturing Process Planning, Manufacturing Methods Analysis, Technical Creativity, Value Methodology, Plant Layout and Design, and Manufacturing Quality. Chris is an active member of the Institute for Supply Management and will subsequently receive his Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) certificate.
In his spare time, Chris is committed to his goal of improving the business relationship between Buyers and Sellers as the Key Speaker at various industry and organizational events providing an insight into the world of corporate purchasing. Prior organizations who invited Chris to speak include the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT), the Original Equipment Supplier’s Association (OESA), the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC), the National Association of Women Business Owners (MAWBO), the Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Asian Pacific American Agenda Coalition (APAAC).
Besides writing several Blogs a week at TheBuyersDesk.com, Chris is in the final stages of completing his new book “FEEDBACK: Sales Advice From the Buyer’s Desk”. This revolutionary sales book contains observations, insight and buyer-endorsed sales techniques from the Buyer’s side of the desk. It covers the entire sales process from cold-calling, sales meetings, quoting, negotiating and developing a business relationship. It will be the ONLY sales instruction book compiled and written by a Corporate Buyer.
PLEASE NOTE: Any views or opinions presented at TheBuyersDesk.com are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of any current or previous employer.