Embrace Risk

Maria McIntyre spent a few minutes with Logistics Today to talk about her five years as executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP). She retired from that role in November after 31 years with CSCMP and its predecessor organizations.

Breaking down silos that isolate functional areas and institutionalize inefficiencies is no simple undertaking. The Council of Logistics Management (CLM) faced that challenge head on as it evolved into the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals. You lead by example, said McIntyre, and the association was seeing a shift in members’ responsibilities and titles. The vice president of logistics was now the vice president of supply chain management, reflected McIntyre. The change not only added to members’ workload, it broadened their responsibilities, she continued, and the association had to change to meet those needs. “Members were calling and asking, ‘How do I handle this? Who can I talk to?’ and they were looking for a quick education to get up to speed.”

McIntyre and the CSCMP executive committee recognized the need to move into areas that were not part of its tradition of logistics and physical distribution management. “Part of my responsibility these last five years was to establish relationships with other association executives.” That effort resulted in breaking down some traditional silos and collaborating in areas that would benefit the supply chain management profession. “These silos we keep talking about are not efficient any more. [Members] need to look at working with all departments in their company and developing a much more efficient flow without the fear of losing their job.” CSCMP had to do the same.

Collaboration turned from buzzword to action for CSCMP. The Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC) helped with warehousing tracks at the CSCMP annual conference. The International Cargo Security Council (ICSC), Voluntary Inter-industry Commerce Standards (VICS) group and the APQC (American Productivity and Quality Center) came out of those invisible silos to participate. APQC cooperatively launched a supply chain benchmarking project with CSCMP.

Global grassroots efforts reflect extended supply chains. To combine a strategic focus with a tactical approach, CSCMP has had to focus on its local roundtable organization. That has increasingly meant a more global perspective. The result has been a series of events outside the U.S. These successful supply chain seminars and conferences are an extension of the annual conference that reaches members overseas who are unable to travel to the annual conference in the U.S., noted McIntyre. A 2004 event in Amsterdam brought together supply chain professionals from 18 countries – and again reflecting the more global nature of supply chains, those attendees were not just from European countries. McIntyre said members came from the U.S. and Asia to participate, network and do business with other supply chain partners.

McIntyre leaves on a high note, having managed the organization through the economic downturn of 2000 and the tragic events of 2001, which reduced membership and participation not only for CSCMP but other professional associations. She has helped to put CSCMP back on a growth curve with membership returning to a level of over 9,100 and retention rates that are up from 50% in 2003 to 66% today.

When McIntyre speaks of the risks of leading by example, that has meant CSCMP has had to follow the advice of countless speakers at its annual conferences and measure results, strive to be customer focused, break down functional/organizational silos and take a more global perspective.

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