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How Supply Chain Management is Affected by Human or Natural Causes

By Dr. Robert L. Gordon | 09/25/2018 | 1:59 PM

Guest Post By Dr. William Oliver Hedgepeth

Faculty Member, Transportation and Logistics Management, American Public University

If you are not into logistics, supply chain management, manufacturing or warehousing, you might not ever think about where products begin. Each element is important and a part of the often invisible supply chain for all products. The items you purchase in a grocery store, for example, represent the end product of a complex spider web of raw materials and finished products in constant motion.

The Vanilla Shortage and Supply Chain Management

Our food supply chains can be affected by manmade incidents and Mother Nature’s disasters. If you love to visit your favorite bakery, you may have noticed the price of donuts increasing over the past few years due to the rising cost of vanilla.

The price of vanilla beans was $100 per kilogram in 2015. By the end of 2017, vanilla cost $500 per kilogram and its price is likely to increase further in 2018.

The problem for vanilla is that 80% of the crop comes from a special orchid grown in one place, Madagascar. It takes five or more years for the crop to replenish itself before it can be harvested again.

The collapse of the vanilla supply chain was compounded by another supply chain element, the living things that pollinate the orchid. In all parts of the world, a key worker in the fields is the bee. The enemy of the vanilla flower were the rains that ripped across Madagascar and destroyed acres of plants, creating a shortage of vanilla beans.

Honey Bees Offer Lesson in Proper Supply Chain Management

Dr. Wayne Surles has studied the honey bee for over 20 years, looking into what helps and what hurts the bees in the making of honey. He examined pesticides that affect honey production as well as other agricultural products. Dr. Surles says that 30% of the honey bee population is lost each winter and in the summer months. 

The Richmond Beekeepers Association keeps statistics and information on how to protect honey bees so they can do their job of pollination and produce honey. Currently, there appear to be nearly two and a half million beehives in the U.S.

When it is time to pollinate fruit trees and other crops, bees are often shipped around the country to do the all-important job of fertilizing crops. However, it seems that bees are dying from a lack of the proper amount of nectar and pollen that sustain them.

Also, a mysterious illness known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has destroyed untold numbers of beehives. A survey of nearly 5,000 beekeepers across the United States found a third of the bees they managed died from this disorder between April 2016 and March 2017. 

As a result, the natural swarming of bees in time for the growing season is in decline and a new supply chain has emerged. If the honey bee was the beginning of that jar of honey in its supply chain, now we have to extend that supply chain to a new origin – the beekeeper. 

Beekeepers now travel around the county to the farms with hives of honey bees, the starting point of so many agricultural products, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reports. Those transportation costs and the upkeep of beehives must then be added to the cost of gathering that honey or other foods. The extension of the supply chain starting point for honey is now longer and more complex. 

Pesticides Also Affecting Supply Chain Management

But there is another enemy of this new starting point besides CCD. It comes in the form of pesticides that are resistant to insects, including the honey bee. Currently, companies that produce great agricultural products, such as Bayer and Monsanto, also continue to manufacture pesticides to control weeds and kill bugs that destroy crops.

There is a large and growing chorus of people against the increased use of such pesticides and herbicides, which could also contribute to the spread of CCD. The starting point of the new fruit and vegetable supply chain in the U.S. is under attack from a manmade enemy, even more so than from too much rain, wind, and sun.

I own an old farm with fruit trees. The farm used to have a huge blackberry bush that attracted bees and bugs. I killed the bees and bugs with pesticides and sprayed so much Roundup on the weeds that the blackberry bush died and the pesticide got into the soil. As a result, my fruit trees have not produced but a handful of apples, peaches, and pears in the past five years.

I am part of the man-made problem responsible for the new food supply chain beginning. Have I learned my lesson? Yes.

But others need to earn to be careful too. Supply chains are useful, but they are vulnerable to the whims of Mother Nature and human actions.

 

About the Author

Dr. Oliver Hedgepeth is a full-time professor at American Public University (APU). He is the former program director of three academic programs: Reverse Logistics Management, Transportation and Logistics Management and Government Contracting. Dr. Hedgepeth was a tenured associate professor of Logistics and chair of the Logistics Department at the University of Alaska Anchorage. He has published two books, RFID Metrics and How Grandma Braided the Rain.

Individual Consideration Leadership Style Obtains Positive Results in Supply Chain Management

By Dr. Robert L. Gordon | 09/04/2018 | 4:00 AM | Categories: Current Affairs, Web/Tech, Weblogs

Guest Post By Emmet (John) Fritch, Ph.D

Associate Professor, School of Business, American Public University

The shipping company DHL reports that 58 percent of supply chain and operations companies have trouble finding the right combination of leadership and analytical skills in employee candidates. These companies experienced particular difficulties locating qualified candidates for supply chain management positions.

According to university professors Stanley Fawcett, Gregory Magnan and Matthew McCarter, “People are the key bridge to successful collaborative innovation and should therefore not be overlooked as companies invest in supply chain enablers such as technology, information, and measurement systems.” 

However, adversarial relationships are common among companies in supply chains. In 1998, professor Edward Morash documented a progression from silo organizations, moving from independent organizations such as production, logistics, and marketing to integrated organizations combining each organization into an intra-organizational process. Morash also noted the presence of inter-organizational collaborative structures connecting multiple company organizations into one integrated supply chain.

Supply Chain Performances Suffer When Traditional Management Techniques Are Employed

Many companies rely on conventional management styles using techniques such as planning, organizing, implementing, and control. In intra-organizational structures, such as supply chains consisting of several companies, traditional methods do not achieve the same degree of cooperation and performance as organizations with transformational leaders. As a result, supply chain performance suffers.

Supply chain managers control internal company relationships through a position of power. Managers with this power have direct authority over employees.

In multiple-company supply chains, this power is not as effective. Managers do not have control over those employees who are not reporting in the same company chain of command. A different dynamic is in play with outside supplier organizations.

Where managers do not possess a position of power, leaders must be capable of motivating employees across multiple company organizations. Transformational leaders should achieve results through personal motivation instead.

Literature over the past decades supports the idea that CEOs of companies with a dependency on strong supply chain management benefit when the leadership style of senior supply chain management contributes to company success. However, understanding the type of leadership style associated with supply chain performance has not been widely reported. Additionally, there are few empirical studies on the effectiveness of supply chains based on leaders’ styles.

The Importance of Transformational Leadership in Supply Chain Management

According to Bruce J. Avolio and Bernard Bass, transformational leadership is a leadership style in which followers form an emotional attachment to leaders and are motivated to perform as a consequence of the way leaders behave. Transformational leadership has long been recognized as an effective way to lead organizations.

In 1985, Bass defined three types of leadership styles: transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire. Each style has its own characteristics and sub-categories. The five elements of transformational leadership are described in the following table.

Summary of Transformational Leadership Styles

Leader Trait

Characteristics

Description

Individual Consideration

Leaders who understand the personal and professional needs of employees. 

Leaders in this category typically go out of their way to support both personal and professional needs of employees. They strive to change cultures and improve performance.

Idealized Influence (Attributed)

Leaders who stress to employees the need to achieve goals.

Leaders in this category typically stress a sense of organizational mission and encourage the use of power to accomplish department objectives.

Idealized Influence (Behavior)

Leaders who encourage pride of the department and stress the importance of demonstrating strong commitment.

Leaders in this category

use role modeling to demonstrate expectations.

Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella is an example.

Inspirational Motivation

Leaders with inspirational motivation traits provide employees with a set of shared goals and the vision necessary to attain them.

 

Intellectual Stimulation

Leaders with intellectual stimulation traits motivate employees to rethink prior situations and problems in new ways.

Employees are encouraged to examine they how they feel about prior assumptions and are encouraged to work with leaders in identifying new ways to address problems. Intellectual stimulation is in contrast to traditional management styles that rely on Fredrick Taylor’s scientific method of job definition by industrial engineers.

Source: Langston University study on transformational leadership

Survey Assessed How Supply Chain Performance Improves with Leaders Using an Individual Consideration Leadership Style

A survey of supply chain professionals that I conducted revealed supply chain performance improves when the leaders conduct their leadership with individual consideration. For this study, professors Kenneth J. Peterson, Gary Ragatz, and Robert Monczka established the supply chain performance variables. These included:

  • Product costs – measured by comparing actual prices paid over time
  • Delivery – measured by the degree on-time shipments improved or did not improve over time
  • Quality – the degree suppliers did or did not improve on meeting specifications

How the Research Survey Was Administered

Eight hundred participants were selected from the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) membership. Eighty-two fully completed surveys were returned and assessed by a systematic sampling technique.

The study involved two different questionnaires. One questionnaire provided participants’ perceptions of supply chain management leaders’ styles. The second questionnaire assessed supply chain members’ perception of their company’s performance.

Company performance was based on participants’ perception of their company performance for product cost, delivery, and quality. A correlation and regression test was applied to establish relationship values and statistical significance.

Results of the Survey

The results indicated relationships between each of the five transformational leadership sub-categories. The survey found that leaders exhibiting individual consideration could be expected to achieve 17% better supply chain management results than leaders not exhibiting individual consideration.

Overall, according to the perceptions of supply chain professionals, CEOs who appoint top-level supply chain leaders scoring high on individual consideration will see increased supply chain performance.

About the Author

Dr. Emmet Fritch is a full-time associate professor in the School of Business at American Public University. He holds an M.S. in technology management from Pepperdine University and a Ph.D. in business administration from Northcentral University.

APUS Collaborates with APICS to Close the Skills Gap in the Logistics and Supply Chain Field

By Dr. Robert L. Gordon | 05/26/2018 | 12:05 PM | Categories: Current Affairs

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Guest Post by Dr. Stacey Little
American Public University, Faculty, Transportation and Logistics Management

Almost daily, all of us have some experience with transportation and logistics. They are the distribution elements of the supply chain that bring the products we desire to the places we shop or dine, or directly to our door. Logistics is a fundamental component of most businesses. Consumer demand, coupled with globalization, has boosted related career opportunities.

Logistics and supply chain are among the fastest-growing job markets in America, creating a high demand for qualified individuals to fill those positions. Given this rise in demand in the sector, American Public University System recognized the need to expand its Transportation and Logistics Management program to keep pace with industry needs. As a result, APUS recently announced a partnership with APICS, the global association offering highly respected and industry-recognized certifications. Through this partnership, APUS will offer an instructor-led online preparation course for the APICS’ Certified in Logistics, Transportation, and Distribution (CLTD) designation.

Logistics professionals seek the CLTD designation because it “sets the global standard for best practices in logistics, transportation, and distribution.” The credential provides a distinct advantage in an increasingly competitive global market as many employers give preference to applicants with industry certifications. In fact, the 2018 APICS Supply Chain Survey not only found that compensation continues to rise for supply chain professions, but also that practitioners place great value in such industry-related certifications.

APUS stays abreast of industry needs and has an ongoing commitment to help prepare the transportation, logistics, and supply chain management workforce. The CLTD preparation course will benefit current APUS students by complementing several APUS learning paths at both the certificate and degree level. Organizations seeking to improve performance and add to the bottom line can also benefit from employees with CLTD designations since these individuals are equipped with knowledge of resource optimization to reduce costs and improve profitability. We’re proud to collaborate with APICS to offer this additional element as part of our flexible, career-relevant programs.

Autonomous Freight Vehicles: The Impact on Supply Chain Management

By Dr. Robert L. Gordon | 04/05/2018 | 7:07 AM | Categories: Current Affairs

Guest Posting By Russell Parker

Student, Transportation and Logistics Management, American Public University

 

Automation in the transportation industry has been around for years, mostly in public transportation and in-house transports within company grounds. Autonomous freight vehicles, a new level of automation, will soon put driverless freight vehicles on public roads and highways. 

Vehicle automation adds value to transportation because it reduces the normal costs associated with moving goods. Automated freight transportation will change the global supply chain industry in value added, outsourcing requirements, congestion, environmental concerns, safety, and lead-time.

Is There a Need for Automation in Freight Transportation?

According to the American Trucking Association, 70 percent of goods consumed in the United States are moved by truck, but the industry needs to hire almost 900,000 additional drivers to meet the rising transport demand. And as current drivers retire, newcomers are hard to find. The result is retailers delay non-essential shipments or pay higher prices for delivery. The shortage of truck drivers motivated Alex Rodrigues, the CEO, and co-founder of Embark, to pursue self-driving technologies.

Autonomous vehicles can assist drivers or operate on their own without human interaction.

Autonomous drones are used by the military and private industry. With the aim of improving safety, reducing environmental impacts, increasing efficiency and relieving the shortage of drivers, numerous companies are now involved in the race toward this technology because the demand and profitability are high.

Autopilot technology would require truck drivers to work as airline pilots do. The autopilot would control aspects such as acceleration, braking, lane-centering, and cruise control, as well as a myriad of certain traffic situations and conditions. Truckers would still be required to monitor these functions while maintaining high alertness should something go wrong with the system.

Embark has worked with technology that allows its trucks to move highway exit to exit without any human interaction. This technology uses artificial intelligence (AI) with a combination of radars, cameras, and depth perception sensors, but the technology still requires an operator to take control of the vehicle once it exits the highway and starts operating within city limits.

One advanced automation system currently in testing is driver-assisted truck platooning (DAPT). With this technology, one driver operates a truck, and its sensors, radar, and vehicle-to-vehicle communications operate several trailing trucks in convoy acting as a single unit.

Peloton, a pioneer in this technology, conducted a live demonstration of DAPT on December 1, 2017, in Michigan. The technology worked successfully and reduced fuel costs. This technology is also being tested by the United States Military with the Oshkosh Terramax Unmanned Ground Vehicle Technology. One operator can direct up to five vehicles in a single convoy.

What Are the Impacts of Autonomous Freight Vehicles on Supply Chains?

Autonomous vehicles will change supply chains globally. This new method will encourage new outsourcing requirements and companies, enhance the flow of materials, cut back on highway congestion and add value to transportation.

Automated freight vehicles mean more electronics and fewer engines and fuel consumption. Also, this autonomous technology would assist the supply chain industry to meet the International Kyoto Protocol’s 60 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.

Autonomous freight carriers are the way of the future for supply chain operations. As the driver population decreases and demand increases, and costs rise for both suppliers and consumers, autonomous vehicles will offset those conditions and allow the industry to continue operations.

Logistics companies need to prepare for automation sooner rather than later because this emerging technology is moving ahead quickly and those who fail to adapt will find themselves overrun by new suppliers and logistics providers who do embrace autonomous vehicles.

About the Author

Russell Parker is a Marine Corps Captain logistics officer and currently stationed at 29 Palms, CA. A Cleveland, Ohio native he has deployed four times in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom as a motor transportation platoon commander, company commander, and a joint staff officer. 

APICS Conference 2017

By Dr. Robert L. Gordon | 10/26/2017 | 10:03 AM

Little

Guest Post by Dr. Stacey Little, Program Director for Transportation and Logistics Management, American Public University

Dr. Stacey Little, Program Director for Transportation and Logistics Management at American Public University attended the APICS conference in San Antonio, TX from October 15-October 17th. The APICS Conference hosted more than 2000 attendees from 50 different countries.  During the conference, there were several opportunities to meet and network with other supply chain professionals, students, and educators. 

The Conference offered over 60 educational sessions based on the SCOR model (Plan, Source, Make, Deliver, Return, Enable), 10 hours of Spot Light Sessions with specially curated content and two industry recognized Keynote speakers. Stacey presented on the topic of Post-Military Career transition to supply chain careers at a spotlight session.

The keynote speakers for the conference this year were interesting and engaging.  During the opening session, we heard from John Mackey of Whole Foods.  He highlighted the importance of focusing on the customer.  We later heard from Derek Kayongo, an expert in environmental sustainability. Derek is also the founder of the Global Soap project, where donated hotel soap is purified, reprocessed and redistributed to vulnerable populations around the world.

During the APICS Conference, there were networking lunches and receptions permitting attendees time away from the session to network and meet new people.  Finally, there was an Expo Hall set-up with over 50 exhibitors featuring education, technologies, supply chain solutions, and information regarding APICS membership and certifications.  American Public University was one of the educational exhibitors at the conference.

APICS offers a way to give back to the APICS community through a mentorship program.  At this year’s conference, Stacey served as a “Mentor a Scholar” by mentoring three students during her time at the conference.  For this program, mentors are matched with their students before the conference.  The mentor reaches out to the student prior to the conference for an introduction and plan for connecting at the conference.  The first meeting is a pre-conference Welcome Reception for new members and volunteers.  Outside of program sponsored events, mentors meet with the students at least an hour a day to share their professional and APICS experiences with the students.  It is a way not only to give back but to meet the best and the brightest supply chain students.

Lean Manufacturing leads to greater efficiency

By Dr. Robert L. Gordon | 08/14/2017 | 8:39 AM

Guest article by Dr. Keith Wade, American Public University System

Lean Manufacturing leads to greater efficiency

Lean manufacturing or Lean production is termed as a systematic approach that is used for elimination of waste within any given manufacturing system. Also, Lean considers wastes that are created through overburden and wastes being generated through unevenness in workloads. Lean is said to be based on making standard functionalities that add value by reducing any given element. Various benefits and risks are associated with Lean manufacturing. Below is the discussion entailing these advantages and risks (Myerson, 2012).

Improved quality and fewer defects

In Lean manufacturing, when batching and lot production are put away, there is always a less chance to manufacture defects. The reason is that the quantity time will be just one. Besides that, there will be no mountains of inventory to count, store, move and pick. Another reason is based on the single flow in Lean manufacturing that makes sure that any given problem that might be existing in the production is identified and rectified. Batch processing eliminates hours that are isolated to test other materials in the same production run to assess if they meet the necessary threshold (Myerson, 2012).

Lean manufacturing leads to reduced inventories

By implementing single section, flow needs each operation only to yield what is required by the subsequent process. When monitored properly, the process tends to remove any given opportunity to build ahead. Hence, inventories tend not to be permitted to accumulate. Since inventories levels are reduced, the reduced inventory results in less space being used.  The results in reduced human resources which are always required to store, count, deliver, stock and manage it. Besides that, single piece flow ensures there is manufacturing cells that squeeze machines into a single operator that has the capability of overseeing numerous pieces of equipment with the least number of walking motion (Myerson, 2012).

Lean manufacturing increases workers morale

Because there is the single piece of flow results, then the production issues that might be identified are solved on time, and team members can receive instant feedback on their respective work. Production feedback gives workers more ownership in their respective production areas. Besides that, due to the presence of Lean production workers tends to lead in solving their different efforts by focusing on the approaches and not in individuals. Through this method, there is more trust in managers (Myerson, 2012).

Lean Manufacturing leads to a safer environment

Lean production means there are fewer inventories that imply the presence of lighter on production methods and less clutter. Because all the stakeholders know the individual repeating tasks, this means there is less opportunity for sudden movements that lead to chances of accidents.

Risks Associated with Lean Manufacturing

Customer Dissatisfaction risks

Since Lean manufacturing process is dependent on supplier efficiency, the presence of any given disruption in the supply chain can be a problem that might affect overall stakeholders. Besides that, delivery delays can lead to sustainable marketing issues that can be hard to overcome.

High costs involved in implementation

The application of Lean manufacturing method means that the previous physical infrastructures and systems will be ultimately be dismantled. Besides that, the process of training of a new set of workers can be the length and the acquisition of managers who are experienced to deliver quality services might be expensive since even the payroll to maintain their salaries is also high. When focusing on machines that are needed to support Lean production, the setup of smaller work cells usually leads to long-term debts. Small and medium-sized businesses might be subjected to costs changeovers to Lean manufacturing that ends up being prohibitive (Myerson, 2012).

Costs of Failure

It is said that under the worst conditions, it is usually simpler that Lean production will not prove to be successful. The change to Lean requires a permanent overhaul of the company. As a result, workers might be lost because there are poor relationships and services with suppliers that might deteriorate. Also, it might not be feasible to backtrack to the old method of doing things; this usually leads to the ultimate failure of the business (Myerson, 2012).

Over-Focus on Waste

Lean production approach mainly focuses on elimination of waste that tends to override other concerns. Besides that, Lean strives to make sure efficiency and productivity primarily through cutting flab, however, in the process, this manufacturing method ends up ignoring other critical parameters such as wellness of workers and corporate social responsibility that are crucial factors needed to develop a good relationship with employees. Therefore, Lean manufacturing fails to address other critical concerns that end up making it ineffective to be fully implemented in any given production firm (Myerson, 2012).

Conclusion

In a nutshell, even though Lean production has got some benefits and risks at the equal measure, it is important to have solutions to the real risks that are in the Lean production. The move to Lean will increase the levels of success of any given firm. When overall production method is rectified then, the companies can get more profits and manage their business more efficiently.

 

References

Myerson, P. (2012). Lean supply chain and logistics management. New York: McGraw-Hill.

RFID technology is rapidly becoming a staple in the consumer industry

By Dr. Robert L. Gordon | 01/29/2017 | 11:03 AM

Guest Post by Kandis Wyatt, Associate Professor at American Public University

RFID technology is currently utilized at many Disney Theme Parks, and yes, some call it magic, but it is RFID technology. The customer is given a wristband that is read when you pass by a RFID reader. Using the wristband, you can pre-order food and have it delivered directly to your table, without standing in line. This technology transmits up to 40 feet, so your preferences are read by readers as you walk into a store, restaurant, or hotel. 

Here’s another way to think about RFID technology. Think about never waiting in line to check out. Can a cashier-free society become a reality? Amazon and its new Amazon Go Pilot Store offers this vision of a new reality. Customers download an app and using RFID technology, all the products in your shopping cart are scanned, your total is calculated, and your credit card is charged (Dignan, 2016). Think about how much time you would save if you did not have to wait in line, deal with cashiers, and swipe a credit card. How can this technology be expanded to the retail industry?

Imagine RFID technology in the automobile industry. RFID technology can be embedded in tires, car batteries, and engines. Using a standard RFID reader, you can perform a diagnostic check of your vehicle in record time, regardless of the manufacturer. No need to go to the car dealership and wait in line. Imagine the freedom of knowing when it is time to replace tires, get a tune-up, or replace major parts of your vehicle? A simple RFID reader can provide you with a wealth of information. There is currently a push to create a global standard for the automobile industry for RFID technology.

If you have ever driven on a major interstate highway in the United States, chances are you have paid money to drive on a toll road. These roads charge vehicles in exchange for ‘supposedly’ faster, smoother rides. Many toll plazas are using RFID technology to read a device in the car and automatically charge the customer. This RFID use saves time because the vehicle does not have to stop. Also, this cuts down on the number of toll plaza employees needed at each station. The technology is advancing more, and some brand-new cars already have the RFID technology built into their operating systems (Baars et al, 2015). The tags can be recharged depending on the use.

RFID technology has also expanded into the airline industry. Imagine having a RFID reader in your checked luggage? You could track the whereabouts of your bag always via the airline’s RFID reader system. Also, this new technology may alleviate the need for a paper ticket to track your checked luggage. Likewise, this technology can be expanded to paper tickets in the future. Instead of having to download a special application (app) for every airline you choose to travel, simply having a RFID reader installed can identify you and decrease your time at the TSA checkpoint. No need for TSA Pre-Check! This technology is currently being tested in New Delhi (TNN, 2015).

RFID technology is rapidly advancing, and becoming a staple in our everyday lives.

Baars, H., Kemper, H.. Lasi, H., and Siegel, M. (2015). Combining RFID technology and business intelligence for supply chain optimization scenarios for retail logistics. Proceedings of the 41st Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 2008. ISBN ISSN:1530-1605 , 0-7695-3075-8.

Dignan, L. (2016). Amazon Go: here are the takeaways business tech execs need to know. ZDNet. Retrieved from: http://www.zdnet.com/article/amazon-go-here-are-the-takeaways-business-tech-execs-need-to-know/

Hedgepeth, W. (2007). RFID Metrics: Decision Making Tools for Today's Supply Chains. Taylor and Friends Group.

TNN, Economic Times (2015). Get ready for tagless travel as airports planning to phase out cabin baggage tags . Retrieved from: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/55889765.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

Growing the awareness of the supply chain

By Dr. Robert L. Gordon | 12/12/2016 | 4:22 AM

Guest Post by Stacey Little, Program Director, Transportation and Logistics Management, American Public University System

Ever wondered why when a junior high or high school student is asked about their career aspiration that they rarely mention logistics or supply chain?  On the rare occasion we hear that they want to be in logistics or supply chain, yet usually, it is because they know someone or one of their parents work in the field.  In fact, many students who do go into the profession admit that logistics and supply chain was not something that was on their radar while in high school.

What is the answer to this lack of awareness of this profession?  Why is logistics or supply chain not a sought after or dream job of a junior high or high school student?  I have often heard that logistics and supply chain jobs are associated with negative stereotypes and are not attractive to students.   Alternatively, the supply chain profession can be difficult to describe to young children. 

While attending an APICS Conference, I learned of an effort to bring awareness to Supply Chain and Stem through an outreach program targeting elementary, middle and high schools.  This particular program is customizable to children as young as kindergarten and as old as seniors in high school. I saw demonstrations of fun activities in which the school children could participate.  There were hands on activities with toys such as legos and paper airplanes for younger children and more advanced activities with cell phone supply for older children. I learned the goal of this outreach program was to reach 100,000 students by 2020. The outreach program is an excellent initiative providing ways for Logistics and Supply Chain Professionals to get involved.  Volunteers are a huge factor to the success of the outreach program.

Another initiative aimed at increasing supply chain awareness is the #iWorkinTheSupplyChain Campaign.  The campaign allows supply chain professionals to share their stories in efforts to inspire the next generation of workers.   Not only does it honor those who are successful in the field it highlights supply chain’s role in our economy. Showcasing supply chain professionals demystifies the supply chain profession.

Supply chain is an attractive occupation with a talent shortage that needs to be addressed.  As baby boomers in supply chain positions retire, the question is who will fill these positions?  These jobs should be highly sought after as there are so many facets and career paths that students can take.   Included in the information shared around the supply chain profession should be the emphasis on the value and importance of the employee roles in this functional area. Information like this will bring awareness to the types of jobs available as well as the professional people who occupy supply chain jobs removing misconceptions around the profession.

What can supply chain professionals do?

  • Public speaking -Accept opportunities to speak to others about the profession including career days at local schools. Be proud of your strategic and exciting career.
  • Mentor- Pay it forward by showing others how exciting this career field can be. Sharing your knowledge and experience can help others see how valuable the supply chains jobs are to the organization and the global economy.
  • Volunteer- Offer your knowledge to a small business trying to get off the ground or volunteer at a non-profit organization.
  • Write- Highlight your knowledge and skills by writing a blog or contributing an article to a local paper.
  • Social Media- use social media to spread the word of the exciting career experiences and opportunities that are available.

In today’s global, competitive environment supply chain roles within the organization are gaining increasing importance.  Organizations want to have the best talent in these positions.  Addressing the awareness issue will help bring more talented individuals toward the supply chain profession.   Sharing your experience can help reduce the confusion and negative stigma surrounding the supply chain profession.  Take steps today to make a difference tomorrow.

Has technology made us less ethical?

By Dr. Robert L. Gordon | 12/05/2016 | 5:00 AM

Guest Post by Kandis Wyatt, Transportation & Logistics Associate Professor, American Public University

Technology is advancing at a rapid rate. As a result, it is easier than ever to capture a person’s words, thoughts, and actions. Video, voice recordings, and other technological means of information have led to a proliferation of the replication of knowledge. However, as more and more ideas are disseminated in the world, there is a greater temptation to copy the ideas of others rather than develop something new. Also, the more ideas that people are exposed to, the potential exists that similar ideas could arise in different people.

In the written form, a word-for-identical-word match is a red flag for plagiarism. Depending on the format used, there is a preferred method to use to signify the work comes from another source.  At the 2016 Grand Old Party National Convention, Melania Trump was accused of plagiarizing portions of a speech given by Michelle Obama in 2008.  Ultimately, the speech writer took the fall for the incident, but what should be the consequences of not citing a person’s original work in print or a verbal speech?

There have been instances where the press has taken liberties with others’ work, and when they are eventually caught they typically leave the field in disgrace.  Just over a year ago, Brian Williams embellished a story about being fired upon when traveling by helicopter. The embellishment of the incident and about the facts turned Mr. Williams’ long career in reporting sour to the point he lost his job, and he made an apology to the American people.

Original thought is a requirement in academia, but what about using works that are not as well known.  What about business ethics? Jack Welsh would proudly proclaim that he stole good ideas from other companies, such as Six Sigma from Motorola. Six Sigma had been in use at Motorola for some years, and when Jack Welsh wanted to overhaul the flagging General Electric Company (GE), Jack made Six Sigma part of the plan. During the period that followed, GE was driven by the tenets of Six Sigma and GE showed savings of $12 billion over five years.

Currently, there are multiple companies working to perfect the self-driving car. However, will this type of technology be disputed in the future? Is each of these companies in development truly unique or is there some technical overlap? Also, what role will corporate theft or espionage have in the future?

The question that persists is, how does society hold a person accountable for their actions? What, if any repercussions, should be established in the future? It is important to highlight the pros and cons of utilizing original work in both the verbal and written format. Specifically, how to relay original information, how to use one’s words, and how to let the listener/reader know the source of information.

Over 500,000 registered drones in the U.S.

By Dr. Robert L. Gordon | 11/21/2016 | 4:02 AM

Drone
To date, there are over 500,000 registered drones in the U.S., and there are over 20,000 registered commercial operators of drones.  The FAA advises that over 3,300 people signed up to take the aeronautical knowledge test, which is one of the new requirements to operate a drone in the U.S.  The FAA estimates that more than 600,000 commercial drones could be in operation by 2017. 

These clear statistics and projects are the first quantifiable evidence to support the 100,000 jobs and $82 billion-dollar economy that drones represent.  The evidence is overwhelming at this point that drone will be a de-facto part of our lives soon.  Although the 100,000 jobs and $82 billion-dollar economy number has been projected in the past, the registrations and number of companies that are being registered with the FAA offer massive potential for drones.  Some people in government and business have concerns about this growth and potential; there are already many different applications that are on the horizon. 

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) have already delivered medicine to remote areas, delivered burritos to hungry college students as well as being used to detect radiation and chemical leaks.  Current FAA rules require that drones remain within line of sight of the operator, the testing of UAV that operate beyond the line of sight are already being tested in The Netherlands.  Nokia is already working on technology to allow automatic flight control that can operate independently of a line-of-sight operator.  Nokia is working on an App that will allow for drone operations that can monitor drones in real time. 

Furthermore, the British Royal Navy and the U.S. Navy had a joint exercise in October where the navies of these nations tested unmanned, unarmed surface, underwater, and aerial vehicles.  With all this activity both commercially and with different militaries, is it any wonder that there appears to be a lot of potential in the future of UAV. 

Given all this activity by many of the major players in multiple industries, there is no doubt that the world of the drone is changing and changing rapidly.  Technology is moving forward faster than governments can legislate, making enforcement even more difficult.  However, this burning innovation will certainly help bring home many new technologies that will improve our lives.  The concern of some is how will these new technologies impact our future freedoms.  The nature and activities of drones and the impact on freedom remain an open question for the future.

The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

About Dr. Robert Lee Gordon

Dr. Robert Lee Gordon

Dr. Robert Lee Gordon is program director of the Reverse Logistics department at American Public University. Dr. Gordon has over twenty-five years of professional experience in supply chain management and human resources. He holds a Doctorate of Management and Organizational Leadership and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, as well earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from UCLA. Dr. Gordon has spent more than 14 years teaching reverse logistics, transportation, project management, and human resources. He has published articles on reverse logistics; supply chain management; project management; human resources; education, and complexity. He has also published four books on Reverse Logistics Management; Complexity and Project Management; Virtual Project Management Organizations, and Successful Program Management..



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