Feeling hot hot hot? If you are, there's a reason for that. After years of toiling in obscurity, America's logistics professionals suddenly find themselves a hot commodity. The Sunday classified sections of major metropolitan newspapers are bursting with prominent ads for the kinds of logistics-related positions that were once buried in the back pages. Companies that five years ago didn't employ a single person who had even a rudimentary knowledge of the supply chain now suddenly need a senior vice president to oversee theirs.
But even if I never looked at the classifieds, the surging demand for seasoned logistics professionals could hardly escape my notice. Not a week goes by when I don't receive at least three calls (or e-mails) from head hunters looking for recommendations. Three or four years ago, it was rare for me to get more than one or two of these calls a year.
It's not just the frequency of these calls that has struck me. It's the way these recruiters are talking up the positions they're trying to fill: Sunny climate. A salary well above the six-figure mark. Direct access and reporting to the CEO. And so on and so forth.
That's good news for professionals like you who are now among the hottest personnel "products" in the work force. And it appears that things are about to get even better. What do you have to thank? RFID. What else?
As companies race to get their operations RFID-ready, many have run up against an unforeseen obstacle: A lack of RFID expertise. That's right. While we collectively dithered about read rates, tag price points and extended compliance across the supply chain, we failed to ask the obvious: Where are we going to find people who know how to do all this stuff?
But we're thinking about it now. Supply chain executives from coast to coast are waking up and realizing that a shortage of RFID expertise could put a serious crimp in their implementation plans. A new study conducted by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) indicates that eight in 10 corporate-level logistics executives believe a lack of RFID expertise will inhibit their ability to exploit all that the technology appears to offer.
That's not gone unnoticed by the academic community. Several universities are launching RFID programs (and a few are even considering establishing degree programs in RFID technology). Take Indiana University's Kelley School of Business. Aided by a $150,000 grant from Procter & Gamble, the school is revamping its curriculum to add both graduate-level and undergraduate courses on RFID technology and its role in today's business environment. Industry organizations are getting in on the act as well. CompTIA is in the midst of developing a vendor-neutral RFID certification program that it hopes to have in place by the end of the year. And just last month the International Supply Chain Education Alliance (ISCEA) and American RFID Solutions announced that they had joined forces to develop a five-day RFID accreditation program that will be held at various locations throughout the country.
It's not hard to figure out which of the bright, talented, experienced logistics pros out there will soon have their pick of jobs and command the highest salaries: those with a demonstrated expertise in RFID. If you're thinking this might be a good time to get up to speed on RFID, you're right. Not only could it fatten your wallet, but it might be your ticket to job security and career satisfaction for years to come.