Archives for November 2012

Certifications – Necessary or Not?

By Joe Tillman | 11/30/2012 | 10:49 AM

“The wisest are most annoyed at the loss of time.”

   - Dante Alighieri

Over the past few months, there’s been a lot of talk about certifications, particularly from young supply chain professionals. Recently, Bryant Jackson, Assembly Supervisor at Truxedo, Inc. asked me about the best certifications for young professionals.

The spectrum of possible certifications is virtually endless for supply chain professionals. Supply Chain Management Review had a great article detailing the why’s and why not’s of getting a certification in its July/August 2012 issue.

As I understand it, certifications are targeted for industry professionals who want to demonstrate a particular skill-set, develop a new skill, or to bolster their educational credentials several years after college. Several of the available certifications enable potential candidates to demonstrate their knowledge through experience by developing a project and then implementing it – i.e. Six Sigma Green and Black Belts.

My suggestion for recent graduates and for young professionals is to wait a few years and then determine where to go in the supply chain industry before tackling a certification. If you graduated in the last six months from one of 13 different universities identified by American Society of Transportation and Logistics (AST&L), you may already qualify for Certified in Transportation and Logistics (CTL) certification through their blanket wavier program.

Essentially, there is not a “best” certification for young supply chain professionals. Before investing in a certification, see if your employer will sponsor additional education. If no, and you are still interested, the next step is to evaluate whether the investment in a certification will help achieve your life’s vision or overall goal.

For most young supply chain professionals, a certification is not necessary to achieve their personal and professional goals. While we, as young professionals, are typically impatient, it is best to focus our time on self-development in other areas, such as soft skills.

In case you are wondering, Bryant chose Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink.

I need a plan?

By Joe Tillman | 11/15/2012 | 12:01 PM

Image001Yeah, you do. Really. Businesses have strategic plans for a reason and you need one too! 

Your strategic plan can help you decide important decisions and ensure you are on the right path. It’s a tool to evaluate whether a project or task is the right thing for you.

First, you need a vision – an overall goal. It should be simple, specific, and measurable. Mine is to “Get a Tattoo at 95.”

Second, you need purpose. What moves you to get out of bed each morning? What is it that you enjoy doing? I love helping companies and people find a better order to turn the impossible into the possible.

Third, outline your steps to achieve your vision. These steps are the incremental goals you need to achieve to reach your vision. Establish a balance so you are not focused on one area. I have my incremental goals divided into six life areas – Physical Environment, Career/Business, Live Wealthy, Have Fun, Health and Fitness, Love and Be Loved.

Fourth, measure progress. Pick three to five goals that best signal you are on track to reach your vision.  The first slides I see in my strategic plan are my five KPIs and color-coded performance for each one.

Finally, take action. For me, this was creating a schedule that I follow each day. For example, I think about article ideas every Monday from 7 – 8am.

I review my strategic plan once a month to make sure I’m on track. I update my goals to reflect any changes and remind myself why I do the things that I do.

I’d love your feedback – and would love your help in sharing questions and comments about being a young professional. If you have a question, comment or feedback, please send me an email to [email protected].  The blog on the last Wednesday of each month will be a question and answer session from those that I receive from you, my audience. If I use your question, I will send you a free copy of a book mentioned in a post. 

Image: the plan by the|G|â„¢ via Flickr cc

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 Joe Tillman

Joe Tillman

An enthusiastic and dedicated professional, Joe Tillman offers supply chain education and research through his company TSquared Logistics. Joe has a keen interest in all things supply chain and uses his high-energy approach to life to author articles for industry publications, blog on young professionals for DC Velocity, and speak to supply chain industry groups. He also co-leads the Warehousing Education and Research Council's influential annual benchmarking study, "DC Measures." Prior to founding TSquared Logistics, Joe worked with Supply Chain Visions as a senior researcher and consultant, Wal-Mart Logistics as a distribution professional, and Union Pacific Railroad as a conductor. Joe is certified in transportation and logistics (CTL) by AST&L and SCOR-Professional certified by the Supply Chain Council.


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