According to Dr. Robert Hanfield, Supply Chain Management (SCM) is based on two core ideas. The first is that practically every product that reaches an end user represents the cumulative effort of multiple organizations. These organizations are referred to collectively as the supply chain. The second idea is that while supply chains have existed for a long time, most organizations have only paid attention to what was happening within their “four walls.” Few businesses understood, much less managed, the entire chain of activities that ultimately delivered products to the final customer. The result was disjointed and often ineffective supply chains. Supply chain management, then, is the active management of supply chain activities to maximize customer value and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. It represents a conscious effort by the supply chain firms to develop and run supply chains in the most effective & efficient ways possible. Supply chain activities cover everything from product development, sourcing, production, and logistics, as well as the information systems needed to coordinate these activities.
I’ll be completely honest, I never once paid attention to how or where a product I was interested came from, I just cared that I received the product at what I felt was a competitive rate. I’m sure most consumers would agree with me. So how did I decide to become a supply chain professional?
My dream job was to become a fighter pilot in the United States Air Force and I pursued this dream. I commissioned as an Air Force Officer and was selected for a pilot slot to attend Undergraduate Pilot Training. When I thought I was well on my way to achieve this goal, life threw a disqualifying curve ball at me and forced me to reassess my career plans. I vividly remember having a conversation with my commander discussing career paths. He said, “Logistics (Supply Chain), that would be a great career field. There are huge opportunities out there for talented people.” It’s important to note that he was an air mobility pilot so he understood the significance of streamlined operations.
After conducting my own research in the career field, I discovered it was undoubtedly growing. While I’m still learning the industry, it has already provided plenty of growth opportunity, professional challenges, and has been everything I wanted it to be.
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