The president and CEO of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) reiterated today the field's growing importance in corporate and economic competiveness, and urged attendees to focus more on education to both sharpen their own skills and to create the foundation for future employment for young people struggling to build a future.
Keynoting the first of three days of events at MODEX 2012 in Atlanta, Rick D. Blasgen traced the evolution of the profession from the 1970s, when it was mostly a warehouse function to the present-day environment, where it has become a global, sophisticated, and multilayered discipline whose practitioners are increasingly sought after by corporations.
Blasgen advised young people just entering the field that, if practicable, they should work in supervisory roles at a local distribution center to both understand the day-to-day nature of the business, and to grasp and embrace local cultures and customs. For example, Blasgen said a manager running a DC in rural Pennsylvania needs to be aware that he or she will be faced with no-shows on the first day of the state's annual deer hunting season, a day when, by custom, schools and many offices are closed.
Rather than punish the no-shows, he said, "you should just let them go."
Blasgen said supply chain management is taken for granted by most Americans. Most simply expect a product to be available whenever and wherever they want, and are unlikely to give much thought to what it took to get the goods into their hands.
"When you walk in your house and turn on the lights, you don't call up the power company to thank them," he said, adding that supply chain practitioners get feedback—usually the negative kind—only when something goes wrong.