Phil Webb, Distribution Manager, Supply Management Services

Phil Webb, distribution manager for the U of A’s Supply Management Services, and his team are relied upon to swiftly organize and distribute the hundreds of thousands of purchases made each year to over 110 buildings across campus.

Together, they help make the U of A sustainable; they work hard to ensure that once the thousands of purchases are delivered to campus, they are distributed efficiently. In addition, they ensure that campus goods and materials are reused and recycled, as much as possible, and that the eco footprint of old or discarded good and materials is reduced.

“Our main focus, and it’s very important to us, is to prevent and limit our eco footprint but the amount of stuff that goes to landfill,” said Webb.

In order to reduce the environmental impact of shipments around campus, Webb manages a warehouse grounded in efficiency. All orders are consolidated upon arrival at the Supply Management Services warehouse and sorted based on where they need to go on campus.

“We receive shipments from all the major shippers and we combine it onto one truck,” said Webb.

This sorting process, combined with other staff purchases from preferred suppliers such as Grand & Toy, Xerox, Fisher Scientific and McCallum Printing, makes things a lot easier for Webb and his team as orders arrive en masse from these select distributors. Consolidating campus deliveries results in less trucks on the road from other distributors and reduced delivery traffic volumes on campus.

Webb proudly recognizes the positive effects of his group’s sustainable distribution practices at the U of A, including having reduced the amount of delivery trucks on campus from a possible 60 to 8.

“Our staff has done their part, they are very pro-active and aware of our goals, they do a great job,” said Webb.

The Supply Management Services distribution department does much more than just the efficient and streamlined delivery of goods around campus.

Webb’s group holds a strong commitment to waste reduction and has integrated extensive reuse and recycling plans into the SMS warehouse. Their focus on reducing items from going to the landfill includes collecting and organizing the recycling of electronics, furniture, pallets, plastics, toner cartridges, metals and batteries. They have created partnerships with local businesses such as Shanked Electronics who assist in the complete dismantling and recycling of all U of A electronics.

“We’ve made it a priority that we do everything in our power to make sure that nothing goes into the garbage that doesn’t need to,” said Webb.

It is clear that Webb doesn’t passively interact with sustainability on campus. His passion for sustainability is constantly pushing for more in-house sustainability training and understanding for all staff members. This proactive approach has the university’s future looking a lot greener.

“We’ve got our staff trained so that nothing goes into the garbage can without second guessing it.”
Quick to note that the sustainable focus of SMS is not alone at the U of A, Webb sees sustainability involvement as a campus wide effort. With over two decades of service at the U of A, he has experienced growing sustainable change in all facets of campus life.

“There is a huge awareness for campus sustainability that was never here 20 years ago,” said Webb.

These days, changes are abound all over campus, especially with new and growing waste initiatives, energy efficient buildings and a shift in the mindset of many offices that Webb’s team delivers products to.

“The products we all buy, the products we all use, there has been a huge push towards sustainability,” said Webb.