December 2000 | Commentary | Checking In

Sharing Your Logistics Wealth

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Hats off to the National Industrial Transportation League, which has joined with Transportation.com and Transportation for Tots to collect toys and cash for needy kids at its annual conference and at other transportation-related events. Transportation.com also teamed up with e-Toys.com this holiday season for a six-week online toy collection campaign.

These folks know that logisticians—and the organizations they work for—are in a unique position to share the wealth during this season of giving and around the year. Take third-party provider ShipXact.com, which donated $60,000 to the Children Restoration Network to help equip homeless children with new book bags, school supplies, and health checkups before they returned to school this fall.

Another example is Returns Online Inc., which handles merchandise returns for retailers. The company's partnership with Goodwill Services International (GSI) supports GSI's employment and training service program, providing a channel for merchants to give back to the community while increasing asset recovery on their returned products.

Logistics professionals are donating know-how as well as cash. The UPS Foundation, for example, has targeted food collection and distribution as a national focus, providing direct financial support and "sharing our logistical and managerial expertise," according to Evern Cooper, the foundation's executive director. ConAgra has teamed up with America's Second Harvest to do the same, investing dollars and supply chain knowledge to get food to hungry people faster.

Businesses do well by supporting good causes and community service. But they also need "to get their staff motivated to be part of the community," says Dave Abeloe, distribution center director for Patagonia Inc., Reno, Nev. Besides donating millions of dollars to grassroots environmental organizations, Patagonia enables employee groups to address environmental concerns on company time.

Third-party provider Exel takes another approach: recognizing outstanding employee achievements with cash stipends that let employees support projects that benefit their communities. For example, Exel's Rohm and Haas midwest distribution center donated $8,000 and a mobile entertainment unit to a children's hospital in Louisville, Ky., after winning a company-wide award for continuous improvement.

Are you sharing your logistics wealth? If not, maybe that should be one of your New Year's resolutions. I know that it will be one of mine. Happy Holidays!

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