One of the first things they teach you in journalism school (well, admittedly, it’s been a few years since I left the hallowed halls of academia, but I assume they still teach this stuff) is that you should have multiple sources for your articles. Rather than taking just one person’s word for it, find a couple people with varying degrees of responsibility. The goal should be to present as full a picture as possible of whatever the story it is that you’re covering.
Maybe that’s one of the reasons I enjoy analyzing the results of the annual MH&L Salary Survey so much—we don’t just have a couple sources… we have hundreds of sources. I’ve been talking to supply chain professionals for well over 20 years for various publications and the books I’ve written on supply chain management best practices, and I’ve always been impressed by how willing you all are to share your experiences and your knowledge to help your colleagues avoid the mistakes you made and to enjoy the kind of success you’ve achieved. Even more than that, I’ve always been gratified at your willingness to step away from your regular job just to talk to a reporter-type like me. Managing any aspect of the supply chain is an extremely important (though maybe sometimes underappreciated) job, so it’s always an eye-opening experience when we get the chance to pick several hundred of your brains all at once, as we do in the Salary Survey.
Although the salary amounts for various demographics are naturally the headliner aspect to the survey, the real payoff comes from the open-ended questions, where we give our readers a chance to sound off on whatever workforce topic is top-of-mind to them. This year, for instance, we asked: If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be? Here’s what some of your colleagues said:
● “Eliminate age discrimination and quite chasing the newest ‘bright shiny object’! Corporate ADD is making all of us less effective! Follow-through is still necessary and accountability is still lacking!”
● “Stop the company’s declining market share, which puts on-going cost pressure on the supply chain organization.”
● “The ‘do-this-now’-because-something-wasn’t-scheduled-properly aspect of the job.”
● “That no one realizes what I do. I don’t go around announcing what I am doing next, so no one knows all the responsibilities I have.”
● “Basically everything. Since we were bought out by another company, it’s all gone downhill.”
● “More opportunities for growth. This company does not properly staff and support supply chain activities.”
● “The ability and availability to pursue professional certification programs such as CPSM, CSCP, LSSBB, PMP, or SCPro.”
● “My work needs to feel more meaningful and actually beneficial to the company.”
● “Hire better and smarter people.”
● “Transition every part of the business to digital.”
● “Nothing comes to mind, as I am very pleased with my job, and the opportunities available to me.”
● “Increase corporate recognition of the importance of the supply chain. And increase the supply chain’s power in regard to corporate decisions.”
● “Faster company car.”
Okay, so there’s always one wiseguy in every bunch. But reading those comments, which are just a handful of the many we received, illustrates the central point we’ve been emphasizing here for quite some time: Top-performing companies have top-performing supply chain people working for them. As the constant push for more deliveries, faster deliveries, delivered-not-only-to-your-door-but-inside-your-house deliveries puts incredible pressures on the supply chain to make that happen, inevitably the burden of executing the always-on, omni-channel business model falls on the shoulders of material handling and logistics professionals.
As a new year of “more-more-more” gets underway, let’s take the time to appreciate just how great a job supply chain professionals have done and continue to do, every single day. It’s a tough and too-often thankless job, but it’s not just your company or your industry that benefits from your role—it’s the entire world.