Talent in logistics, transportation, and material handling is nothing new. Much of the first-known writing on clay tablets in Mesopotamia consisted of freight manifests. Some of the great developments in navigation in the age of sail came out of the desire to improve commerce. The pulley and other simple machines that provide mechanical advantage can be counted as foundations of material handling. Even the wheel itself, it might be argued, was a milestone in the development of material handling and logistics. And Roman roads moved not only armies but goods across a vast empire.
What I find fascinating when I look at the history of logistics and material handling is the confluence of individual inventiveness (say, Archimedes and his lever and compound pulley or John Harrison and his marine chronometer) and the capacity of others to build on the gains of the past or devise clever adaptations of advances in other fields. (Where would we be without computer science and a host of engineering disciplines?)
In our July issue, we are pleased to offer to readers our latest roundup of what we call the Rainmakers profiles. In this annual collection of interviews, some of the most innovative, thoughtful, and accomplished people in logistics, material handling, transportation, and supply chain offer insights into what makes them tick.
The task of selecting the Rainmakers can be daunting—largely because there are far more people in this business who deserve recognition than we can possibly accommodate in one issue. We rely on several sources to identify candidates. First, there's our team of editors, who in their travels and interviews come across impressive professionals every day. We also call on members of our editorial advisory board—an elite group of professionals—for guidance in identifying candidates and to help us determine those who are most deserving of recognition. And we call, too, on past Rainmakers to point out other top performers they may have encountered. Talent, after all, attracts talent. Finally, we look to readers to say, "Here's someone you ought to consider." While our Rainmaker search for next July won't begin in earnest for a couple of months yet, we do invite nominations at any time. Send them along to me—firstname.lastname@example.org—and we will give each serious consideration.
I trust you will enjoy reading about this year's group of Rainmakers. They are examples of the breadth of talent found in this profession. They are also heirs of those countless and often anonymous engineers, inventors, and managers who came before them, and who, to borrow from Archimedes, allow us to move the world.