It was a long time coming, but the vindication is nonetheless sweet. Some 35 years ago, I found myself on the losing side of a debate with other members of the National Council of Physical Distribution Management (NCPDM) Executive Committee. The question at hand was whether the group should launch its own professional journal to promote the practice and advancement of the discipline that has come to be known as supply chain management. Although the council members deliberated long and hard, in the end, the supporters were outnumbered, and the idea was politely but firmly rejected.
After all this time, I believe it's safe to admit that I accounted for 50 percent of the support for this journal, so you can imagine how I felt when I read that NCPDM's successor, the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), was launching a new publication, to be titled CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly. If any of those committee members from the '70s were still around and still cared or even remembered, I would say, "I told you so." But since they aren't, I must find solace in the knowledge that my support for the project has been vindicated.
Certainly, NCPDM/CLM/CSCMP hasn't been idle in the publishing arena. During the years since that first discussion, we have seen the birth of Comment, the Journal of Business Logistics, and an assortment of other research and informational publications. But the recently announced plan promises to take the organization's publishing efforts to an entirely new level.
In announcing the new journal's launch, Rick Blasgen, president and CEO of CSCMP, stated, "This initiative is indicative of our efforts to continually look for new ways of helping our members do their jobs in the 21st century." In my opinion, this is a worthy objective, and one which I believe the council should be pursuing. Those who are members of CSCMP look to the organization for leadership and education in supply chain management. One could even legitimately argue that it has an obligation to its members to provide this leadership.
In today's volatile supply chain environment, CSCMP's annual conference, the council's major educational event, is no longer enough. And although there are other CSCMP educational initiatives such as seminars, workshops, research, and local roundtables, the new publication will go a long way toward helping to fill the void between October and September. Further, unlike the seminars and meetings, which are not accessible to all members, the publication will be available to all. Each CSCMP member will receive a subscription as part of his or her annual membership dues, and paid subscriptions will be offered to a global audience.
Blasgen believes that the quarterly will "provide a solid platform for ongoing efforts of advancing the supply chain profession's body of knowledge." In doing so, CSCMP is partnering with AGiLE Business Media, LLC, publisher of this magazine and the RFIDWatch Weekly e-newsletter. We see this as a positive move for CSCMP, and one that will combine valuable, proven publishing expertise with the CSCMP brand.
While I think this is a good strategic move, I am sure that, just as there were 35 years ago, there will be others who disagree. Some will no doubt say they already have way too much to read. True, the supply chain industry is served by an array of excellent trade publications; but as a practitioner trying to survive in a complex global environment, I for one need all the help I can get—especially if it's free.
A relative newcomer to the CSCMP administrative ranks, Blasgen has the challenge of breathing life back into an organization that, though more successful than most, is still feeling the pressures of declining membership. I give him high marks for what he has accomplished so far, and particularly in this case, I believe he has a winner.