February 2014 | Commentary | Checking In

Benchmarking Career Development

Tags: Education & Careers, Supply Chain Management

Felecia Stratton is the editor of Inbound Logistics magazine.

When a professional discipline evolves at hyper speed, career development follows. But actually, it should lead. Keeping up with change—often precipitated by new generations of talent, innovation, and technological know-how—instinctively raises expectations, and inspires personal growth and enrichment.

That's particularly true of supply chain management. In a literal sense, learning on the job is part and parcel of any logistician's day-to-day experience. Countless new wrinkles and challenges arise daily, defying even the best-prepared plans. There's no better education than that hands-on experience.

At a macro level, there are similar reasons to expand your supply chain knowledge and skillset. Technology and standards are changing. New strategies and best practices continue to emerge. Practitioners need to maintain their edge to ensure their organizations stay ahead of the curve.

This type of measured progression is part of the logistician's DNA. Metrics, KPIs, and standards command this industry. Business logistics managers rarely find benchmarks they don't like. That analytical drive for detail propels organizations to a higher and deeper supply chain consciousness.

But in today's business climate, you must be proactive. It's little wonder that undergraduate and post-graduate degrees, professional development programs, and certifications have become such an important part of this industry. Logisticians expect as much from themselves as they do a product's lifecycle—and they measure accordingly.

Inbound Logistics' annual education/career development issue focuses on how supply chain professionals can use certifications and certificates to not only expand their knowledge, but their career horizons as well. Merrill Douglas' feature article considers the whys and wherefores of accredited and certificate programs, offers anecdotal examples of personal successes, and provides a primer for how you can take the next step in your career.

In this issue's Reader Profile, Jason Shefrin relates his career progression from working at a boutique consultancy out of college, moving to a software vendor, then to American Greetings, and finally to his current position as executive vice president, global sourcing, for housewares manufacturer InterDesign. Along the way, he managed to complete an MBA in international business and finance—experience and knowledge that play well in his current job.

Use this issue as a helpful beacon as you progress along your own supply chain journey. If you have any suggestions on how we can help you raise the bar, and reach new career mile-markers, I'd love to hear from you: editor@inboundlogistics.com