Revisiting Some Great Advice for Supply Chain Young Professionals

Editor’s Note: Today’s post revisits some great advice offered by supply chain and logitics executives to students and young professionals in past episodes of Talking Logistics. We originially shared these brief video excerpts in 2013 and 2014, but we’ve compiled them here again in case you missed them the first time. We asked these executives the same question: What advice would you give to students and young professionals interested in a supply chain and logistics career? It’s interesting to note the common threads between their responses, as well as the unique perspectives they each provide. Do you agree with their advice? What words of wisdom would you share with the next generation of supply chain and logistics leaders? Post a comment and share your perspective!

Kevin O’Meara: Be as quantitative as you can – the more you can do the mathematics of supply chain, the more you’ll understand it.

Eric Morley and Will O’Brien: Go broad as well as deep, and find an industry mentor. Follow your passion and recognize that supply chain management is about driving top-line growth too.

Art Mesher: Never stop learning. LEARN is an acronym for me: Listen, Educate, Articulate, Research, Network.

Jim Matcham: Strike a balance between going wide and going deep, and take on a big and difficult project every year.

Jordan Kass: Make a personal development plan and identify the skills you need to reach your goals. Also, get as many different experiences as you can early in your career, and strive to be a great team player because relationships are critical in this profession.

Randy Lewis: Analytics and IT are the name of the game. Everybody wants to be a boss, but first do a great job in the role you’re given; the quality of your work will speak a lot louder for you than you can speak for yourself. Do something marvelous and surprise your leaders.

Paul Lomas: Keep your eyes and ears open and learn as much as you can about the adjoining functions across the supply chain so you can understand how they relate and work together.

Angel Mendez: Look for companies that will help you grow foundations very quickly,  but not skip them. Successful executives have earned what I call “the torn t-shirt,” where they had to prove themselves early on in their careers at the foundational level. It’s hard to be a successful and credible supply chain executive if you’ve never run a factory, or you’ve never run transportation or been in a sourcing role. It takes time and patience, but it will pay off later.

Monica Wooden: Develop your process re-engineering skills, which includes the ability to gather requirements from different stakeholders in a quality and professional manner. Also, get experience using supply chain and logistics technology, and strengthen your math skills, especially statistics.