The Value of Connections

Nov. 1, 2009
Don't underestimate the resiliency of material handling and logistics.

The strength and value of an association can be found in its members. As we begin preparations for the holidays and the new year, WERC is both thankful to our members and thankful for our members.

Let me explain what I mean. Being thankful for our members is pretty basic because, obviously, WERC would not exist without members. Going beyond the basics, though, members are the voice and heart of the association. They set the tone (friendly, welcoming, practical, sharing) of the group. They broaden our network by reaching out to those in their own geographic areas (WERCouncils). They spread the word that distribution is a thriving industry, and they bring a high level of professionalism to their work and the industry. They are dedicated, enthusiastic and smart.

Being thankful to our members is also fairly self-serving because their participation and support is critical to the association; however, the industry benefits, as well. Through the years, I have been amazed by the willingness to share that seems inherent in the industry. Distribution professionals share knowledge, experience, ideas, tips and expertise. Let me list some examples:

Data reports and benchmarking
WERC relies on practitioners to complete research surveys so we can gather and report the data and the trends they reveal. Some specific WERC reports that are important to the industry are the salary survey report and an annual metrics study.

From outreach programs like the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN), a vehicle through which individuals and companies can contribute to humanitarian relief efforts, to planning conferences and local events, members pull together for the good of the whole.

Social networking
Need help finding something or getting a question answered? In the past, such connections were available strictly through membership. These days, social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook offer general and specific groups, and many associations have their own subgroups on these sites. [Ed. note: MHM is available on LinkedIn and Twitter]

Continuing our theme of thankfulness, we have to recognize all the other fine organizations in the industry as well as the trade press and supply chain educational entities. There is a strong collaborative environment within the industry that cannot be underestimated. Whether it's shared research, helping those in need, collaborative learning events, or just plain answering operational questions, members of the logistics industry are ready, willing and able to share.

Stephen R. Covey, in his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, refers to this outlook as the “abundance mentality.” The heart of that philosophy is, “People with a scarcity mentality tend to see everything in terms of win-lose. There is only so much; and if someone else has it, that means there will be less for me. The more…we develop an abundance mentality, the more we are genuinely happy for the successes, well being, achievements, recognition and good fortune of other people. We believe their success adds to…rather than detracts from…our lives.”

The logistics industry's strength is in its members — and we're glad to be a part of it.

Michael J. Mikitka, CAE, CMP, is chief executive officer of the Warehousing Education & Research Council (WERC). Contact him at [email protected].