Ep. 54 :: Matthew Schmidt: Secrets from a Strategic Sourcing Director at PulteGroup

My career at Pulte began in the field, where I was involved in the construction of 1000+ homes over 8 years. Dealing daily with homeowners, trades, and building officials (with varying degrees of cooperation), that left little time to wonder what the people working in the Purchasing Department actually did. 

Sure, we knew they bought stuff. We also knew they dined at swanky steak joints with sales reps and rubbed elbows with manufacturing execs in the skyboxes high above Soldier Field. Beyond that we knew little. 

When I had the opportunity to join the Purchasing team, I learned quickly it was less about what we bought and more about who we bought it from. We could get the shingles, siding, and steaks from anyone. Same for rebates (for the most part).

Our real job was to identify the experts with ideas and insights who could help us make, find, and save money over the long term. I learned this—along with innumerable other fundamental principles of purchasing—from Matthew Schmidt, Strategic Sourcing Director at PulteGroup.  

Upon graduating from Purdue University, Matthew joined Pulte in Chicago and has advanced within the company over the last 20 years. Matthew is passionate about his craft and is currently earning a master's degree from Michigan State University in Supply Chain Management. 

In this episode, Matthew shares the builder's perspective on how to best navigate the complex sale (start with the trades), his level of interest in selling your product for you (zero), the time he invests in listening to voicemails (again, zero), and what brand loyalty means to him and how to establish it (you must listen to this).  

In my book, Behind Your Back: What purchasing managers say once you leave the room and how to get them to say yes, I shared the builder's perspective—the view from the other side of the desk. One of the men most responsible for helping me learn those lessons is Matthew Schmidt. Enjoy my candid conversation with him and share it with anyone else on your team who could benefit from understanding what is important to those making the buying decisions for builders. 

And yes, it goes well beyond shingles, siding, and steaks. 

Thanks for listening.