Meet Senior Consultant at Critical Input James Voller

In the complex realm of procurement and supply chain management, having a seasoned expert can be the key to unlocking strategic success. Meet James Voller, a Senior Consultant at Critical Input, boasting 28 years of hands-on experience in elevating procurement strategies and optimising supply chains. For CEOs and GMs seeking to collaborate with top-tier professionals who bring tangible value, this Q+A dives into James’s journey, revealing how his extensive background shapes innovative approaches and empowers businesses to thrive in today’s dynamic landscape.

What led you into this type of work?

I sort of fell into Procurement & Supply Chain after completing a Bachelor of Commerce. Never turned back since, as I enjoyed seeing positive outcomes from sometimes challenging situations. The opportunities it has presented allowed us to live and work in Zambia and Madagascar, but my roles have had a truly international focus, dealing with projects and suppliers from all continents.

What do you bring to Critical Input that is unique and beneficial to clients?

My international exposure combines operational (OPEX) and project (CAPEX) expertise. From day-to-day procurement activities to multi-million CAPEX expenditure, I bring a well-rounded perspective. My supply chain knowledge covers containerised to break-bulk cargoes, providing a comprehensive skillset to our clients.

 Do you have a particular career highlight?

Winning an Award for Academic Excellence in Strategic Sourcing during my Graduate Certificate in Logistics & Supply Chain Management stands out. However, my main highlight is witnessing national team members in Zambia and Madagascar applying the knowledge I passed on during my expat assignments.

Describe a typical day at Critical Input.

No day is the same! I navigate changing client expectations while hands-on applying procurement and supply chain processes. The diversity keeps me engaged and always learning.

Is there a particular type of work you enjoy the most?

I relish training, mentoring, and developing team members’ skills, enabling them to manage independently.

What are common client mistakes in people and processes?

Cumbersome processes with multiple approval levels and underutilising their team’s optimisation insights. Sometimes, involving specialists can yield more efficient outcomes than merely adding more people.

How do you know when you’ve done a good job or when a project is a success?

Feedback from clients and suppliers is vital, as is the ability for others in the organisation to continue managing the project or task.

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

More face-to-face communication and moving away from relying solely on text and short messages. A phone call often leads to better outcomes.

What’s a fun fact about you?

I’m currently an Owner Builder, managing a major renovation on our house. Balancing this with supporting Critical Input’s clients and maintaining family life keeps things interesting.

Core Strengths:

1.    Adaptability to operational and project sourcing requirements

2.    Effective communication and presentation skills

3.    In-depth understanding of international freight and logistics

4.    Expertise in international business transactions

5.    Strong time management

6.    Relaxed nature without compromising commitments

Recent Highlights:

1.    Juggling major renovation, client support, and family life with effective time management

2.    Successfully negotiating and awarding $350m+ of long-lead equipment across a major projects program

3.    Handling Australian-based procurement for projects worldwide

4.    Elevating skills of national staff in Zambia and Madagascar

5.    Immersing as an expat in local culture and experiences