Good Question: What was your first job in logistics and what did it teach you?
Summer seasonal order picker. It taught me an order is only as good as its accuracy; without it, all you would have is empty pallets.
Client Sales Representative
Echo Global Logistics
Manually tracking and tracing previous-day LTL pickups. It taught me every missed pickup has three stories: why the carrier says it’s the shipper’s fault, why the shipper says it’s the carrier’s fault, and the truth.
Director, LTL Pricing & Procurement
In the U.S. Army, I was tasked with clerical functions such as equipment movement and systems management. I learned accountability and the value of inventory management.
The TJX Companies
Import clerk, processing inbound documents and running to customs. It taught me to adapt to customers’ needs and pay attention to details.
Business Development Manager
Global Transport and Logistics
I started at 18 years old, loading outbound freight for Southeastern Freight Lines. That taught me the importance of hard work and gave me a good perspective of the touchpoints involved in distributing goods. It sparked my passion for simplifying the logistics process.
President and CEO
I started as a temp at Birmingham Cargo Airport in a small freight forwarder’s office. I learned from the bottom up—typing air waybills for exports, keying entries, walking to the customs office and post office box multiple times a day. No matter how good or how senior you are, it doesn’t hurt to offer to do the menial stuff every now and again.
Supply Chain Manager, Logistics
Walgreens Boots Alliance
Inventory analyst/inbound officer. This position taught me 1) to be detailed and detect anomalies, 2) precision in my workflow, 3) the importance of feedback in a team, 4) measuring my performance via KPIs for steady improvement.
I managed a major sorting hub, with almost 500 doors and more than 130 teamsters driving "jeeps" aka forklifts. Keeping deadlines and getting priority pallets out of inbound and into outbound takes planning and coordination. Preparation is 90 percent of the game.
Back in 1988, coming out of active duty from the Marine Corps, I took a job as a teamster truck driver and later moved into a day-shift warehousing role. Logistics has been the backbone of my understanding of business, economics, and the world at large.
Director of Logistics & Transportation
Loading and unloading trucks for a carrier. I learned "every box every day"—treat each box with the utmost importance. This also taught me about what happens at the ground level of a supply chain and the effort it takes to facilitate the movement of goods.
Vice President, Operations and Implementation
Beginning when I was 12, my summer job was with Priority Distribution, the 3PL owned by my parents. I would listen to my dad on the phone, and any time he would speak to a driver, his first question was always "How was your day?" It was never "Where’s your truck?" From that, I learned the value and importance of talking to people like they’re human beings, and not just part of the process of moving goods.
CEO and Co-Founder
I started my career as a dispatcher in a small brokerage office. I learned one of the most important lessons of my career: No freight moves without a driver to move it. If you want to serve your customers, be sure to first support your drivers.
SVP Carrier Relations & Yield Management,
Domestic Freight Management
Ascent Global Logistics
OTR truck driver. It’s not as easy as it seems, and drivers are the backbone of this industry.
RMX Global Logistics
Coming out of college, knowing absolutely nothing about trucking or supply chain, learning how to deal with people in general and truck drivers specifically, taught me how important drivers are in the business. Being patient, treating them fairly, and doing what you say you will made a huge difference. And it also made drivers some of the most loyal and hardest-working people I have ever managed.
Director of Strategic Carrier Development
I was a youngster emptying the trash and cleaning the restrooms for my father, who managed a terminal. I worked my way to the maintenance shop, changing tires, fueling, and doing special projects. I loaded trucks, and made deliveries and pickups. I learned to respect the janitor as much as the president. No one position is more important than another and I’m so grateful for those who had the patience to coach me.
Old Dominion Freight Line
Warehouse associate. I offloaded containers and loaded trailers. It showed me hard work and dedication; being inside a container on a hot summer day is not a joke. It made me respect every individual and made me the hands-on leader I am today. It has helped me better connect with my team and understand their everyday obstacles and how to keep everyone motivated.
Assistant Operations Manager
While I was fortunate to get a sales position in LTL right out of college, I worked on the dock, and claims and billing departments first. It taught me how valuable every position is to the organization.
Senior Account Executive
My first job in supply chain was in business process re-engineering. I was working in an industry going through massive transformation, and the company needed to create order-to-cash, procure-to-pay, and field service management processes on a tight timeline. I quickly learned about integrated supply chain management and the value of change management. At the time, there was an entrenched workforce highly resistant to change. Integrated supply chain management requires collaboration, communication, and a willingness to continuously improve processes. A precursor to making process changes is a hearts-and-minds campaign to communicate the case for change and get people invested in the effort.
Executive Vice President, Logistics
As director of IT, I realized adding your own secret sauce is what sets you apart, but you have to plan the budget and resources to make it happen. Sharing information with users and giving them opportunities to provide feedback is another key to success.
VP of Product
My first job in logistics was when I was 18, working in the summer for a screen printing company hand-unloading truckloads of shirts. I learned that no matter how hot, sweaty, or persuasive you were, you had about a 10-percent chance of getting the truck driver to turn on his reefer unit. The drivers that did still hold a special place in my heart.
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