NRTC recently welcomed David Primmer to the newly created post of vice president of Vendor and Supply Chain Management. He comes to NRTC at a time when it is expecting significant growth in some business sectors. It is examining changes to its supply chain process to ensure members get efficient delivery of vital equipment and supplies. Primmer has an extensive background in supply chain and pricing analysis as well as vendor negotiations.
“What we’re trying to do is set up the contracts with the right terms and conditions that best support the business units,” says Primmer, who is based at NRTC’s Herndon, VA, headquarters. The business units are in close contact with members and let the Supply Chain Management team know what members want and need. “Our mission is to enable all of those business operations to run more smoothly. That will happen through contractual negotiations with the vendors or by updating existing contracts with terms that better suit NRTC’s goals,” he says.
For example, NRTC recently completed a contract with a major fiber optic cable manufacturing company. “As part of that deal, we negotiated delivery dates and we have commitments with that vendor on delivery dates. That commitment is backed up by contractual guarantees,” Primmer said.
Sometimes, he says, vendors push back on requests for terms NRTC seeks to benefit rural providers. Primmer says he has a regular response: “Understand that NRTC is a cooperative. Our members are our owners, so we have a responsibility to them that goes far beyond regarding them as our customers. We have a fiduciary duty to ensure that we get the best terms and conditions and the best prices.”
The team also has begun a project to establish an electronic data interchange (EDI) “to directly connect our systems to the systems of our major vendors,” he says. When they place an equipment order, project managers overseeing broadband, smart grid and other deployments need to be able to check the status of those orders and know when to expect shipment. The new tracking system “once in place, will help eliminate potential errors when you’re transferring information via email … and it will enable project managers to more easily obtain updates on order status,” Primmer said. He expects the EDI to operational in about six months.
Primmer was an independent consultant prior to joining NRTC with clients including Sprint/T-Mobile as those companies were completing their merger, and CTIA, the DC-based industry group representing the mobile voice and data industry. Among his tasks for CTIA was helping to develop a financial model for spectrum management and a project to improve finding geographic locations for mobile 9-1-1 calls.
Earlier in his career, Primmer held positions with other companies in mobile communications, including Sprint Nextel Corp., where he met and sometimes worked with current NRTC executives General Counsel Chuck Divone; Greg Santoro, senior VP and Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, and Ted Solomon, VP, Strategy and Corporate Development.
He began his work life with a technology background earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. He also holds an MBA from Emory University, Atlanta.
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