A senior figure at one of the world’s leading engineering groups has returned to Huddersfield and his former university.
Peter Anderson, vice-president for US-based global supply chain and manufacturing at Cummins – which includes Cummins Turbo Technologies at Turnbridge – was back at the University of Huddersfield where he gained a degree in transport and distribution in 1991.
He was the first member of his family to enter higher education – but his BSc equipped him for a career that has seen him rise to a role where he is responsible for budgets running into many billions of dollars and for 37,500 employees.
As a leading supply chain professional, he can exert a powerful influence over the design and manufacture of products.
“My degree at Huddersfield was directly relevant to my career. I could never have got to where I am without doing it,” said Darlington-born Mr Anderson, who was visiting the university to meet staff of the business school and give a talk on supply chain trends and challenges to a final-year students taking a retail and manufacturing logistics module.
When he first came to Huddersfield in 1991, Mr Anderson had a choice between studying mechanical engineering or transport and distribution, a subject that was then being pioneered at the institution. He was persuaded by tutor Colin Bamford, now an emeritus professor, take this latter route.
Today, Mr Anderson’s knowledge of the supply chain means that he works closely with engineers and designers in order to ensure that products can be distributed and sold profitably.
“There are different methods of manufacturing that engineers might not be aware of,” he said. “I have responsibility for everything from the initial sign-off of the design right the way through to transportation and warehousing – and for the quality of the product as well. If I don’t get it right, then the company doesn’t make any money.”
His degree provided the nuts and bolts of his supply chain expertise, which was then bolstered by a varied career in the UK, Europe and now the USA. It began with a role as regional supply planner for Redland Roof Tiles, the firm with which he had spent the work placement that was built into his Huddersfield course.
Before joining Cummins in 2017, Mr Anderson worked for 10 years at Ernst & Young, forming its global supply chain practice. He has also worked for Price Waterhouse and his consultancy role at such firms gave him vast experience of a range of industries around the world.
“Globalisation is happening whether you want it to or not, especially from a supply chain perspective,” said Mr Anderson. “It is going to continue accelerating and we are not going to change it.”
In his talk to students, he analysed a range of technological and social trends that are changing the face of industry and distribution. They include the concept of mobile manufacturing, new forms of customisation, and 3D printing, leading to components being produced on demand.
Change is so rapid that supply chain professionals need to display continual intellectual curiosity, stressed Mr Anderson.
In addition to his session with students, he held talks with teaching staff of the Huddersfield Business School, including Prof Samir Dani, who is head of logistics, operations, hospitality and marketing. After his lecture, Mr Anderson was thanked by associate dean Prof John Anchor.