November 2018 | Commentary | Good Question

Good Question: What was your first job in logistics and what did it teach you?

Tags: Trucking, Loading Dock, Transportation, Supply Chain


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.

James Stone
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.

Steven Pandolfo
Director, LTL Pricing & Procurement
Sunset Transportation


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.

Yanina Rowley
Operations Manager
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.

Shelley North
Business Development Manager
Global Transport and Logistics
DSV


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.

Bobby Harris
President and CEO
BlueGrace Logistics


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.

Julia Lomas
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.

Chiemeka Ukamba
Warehouse Supervisor
DHL


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.

Michael Plunkett
Director
Tech Mahindra


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.

Jeff Brady
Director of Logistics & Transportation
Overstock.com


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.

Jon Eberly
Vice President, Operations and Implementation
Transplace


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.

Drew McElroy
CEO and Co-Founder
Transfix


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.

Noah Wilmot
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.

Sarah Maney
Logistics Coordinator-Broker
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.

Joseph McCrabb
Director of Strategic Carrier Development
KINEXO


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.

Sam Hunter
Solutions Specialist
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.

Marco Martinez
Assistant Operations Manager
Damco


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.

Michael Rector
Senior Account Executive
Purolator International


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.

Michael Notarangeli
Executive Vice President, Logistics
Maine Pointe


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.

Kris Windlinx
VP of Product
EVS


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.

Mike Morris
Operations Manager
Sunset Transportation


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