Supply Chain Monthly

A Special Word from Rick Blasgen, President and CEO of CSCMP

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Why is supply chain important?

First, it absorbs about $1.5 trillion of costs in the United States alone, or 7.7% of gross domestic product (GDP). Think about this, in 1980, those same logistics costs were 16% of GDP!

Secondly, there are about 44 million people in the United States alone who occupy a position defined as a supply chain role. We have gotten more productive, more efficient, and more sophisticated with our technologies allowing for the redeployment of people to more value-added positions. Along the way, we have made huge impacts not only to economies around the world, but we, as the stewards of this industry, have also raised the standard of living of many.

It is a fascinating, dynamic and fast-paced career. Yet, many upcoming leaders entering college or university programs have not been exposed to this fascinating world of supply chain management until they stumble across it in a class or learn about it from a professor or mentor.

Our next challenge is to push supply chain management as a destination career. This will require outreach and education to the lower levels of our educational system. It will entail making parents of high school-aged children, who are thinking about what they might do with their futures, knowledgeable about our discipline.

Is it a steep task? Yes! Luckily, that is why associations like CSCMP exist. "To advance the disciplines of logistics and supply chain management, and the careers of the individuals within it." It is a noble cause, and we care deeply about it. We strive to build our membership community and maintain relationships with professionals throughout their careers.

We also facilitate both local and global events to bring our community together for networking and the exchange of ideas. One of the largest gatherings is CSCMP's annual EDGE conference, September 30 - October 3, 2018, in Nashville, Tennessee! Imagine over 3000 people from over 40 countries getting together in Music City to talk about the challenges, rewards and opportunities before us.

Every year I am re-energized by the tangible level of excitement experienced at EDGE. As one of the largest events of its kind, EDGE is focused strictly an education. Whether you are new to the supply chain discipline or at the tail-end of your career, know that there are professionals shaping the industry available to help you along your career journey.

CSCMP is a family-like community of supply chain professionals that care deeply about doing things right and doing the right things. You can't go anywhere else to find that type of support, sponsorship and mentorship.

I personally love to talk to skeptical executives who don't understand the ROI of membership and attendance at events like EDGE. When I recall the days when I ran large organizations in the food industry, attending an industry conference like EDGE and my membership with CSCMP were some of the best investments I ever made.

Why, you say? An EDGE attendee can be inspired with a $1 million idea simply seeing an emerging innovation in EDGE's Supply Chain Exchange; A CSCMP member attending a local roundtable event may meet a new provider or partner they didn't know existed, with a solution to a problem that's been plaguing their company; or maybe you are attending EDGE and enjoying a cup of coffee with a person from another country who is facing similar challenges and the two of you jointly work through a problem.

Once you become aware of the other individuals within the supply chain who can brainstorm with you, assist in problem-solving, that you can meet and engage in conversation with and together get to the heart of a matter and find a wonderful solution, you then realize the vastness and value of the CSCMP network.