I was born in the 1950s and grew up in the 1960s and '70s—a classic baby boomer. Most of my industry friends and acquaintances are of the same era. We are the second wave of supply chain professionals, and most of us learned from the thought leaders who pioneered our profession and by practical, on-the-job experience. All of us worry about who will learn from and then take over from us.
The answer, of course, is "younger people." Not all of us are comfortable handing over the reins to younger generations, though. Questions like "Will they acquire the same kind of hard-won knowledge and experience that we did?" and "Can they effectively lead organizations?" run through our heads. This issue—industrywide succession planning, if you will—is a global concern.
That is why industry associations in every corner of the supply chain are devoting time and attention to helping their members educate, recruit, develop, and retain young professionals, or YPs. Many have created groups for younger members to network, share ideas, and attend programs of interest to those in the early stages of their careers. Some have also found ways to celebrate and publicize the accomplishments of young professionals in their industries, through awards, contests, speaking engagements, and more.
In this issue of CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly, we, too, highlight the importance and accomplishments of young professionals. In our "Forward Thinking" news section, we bring you a synopsis of the findings from new research on young supply chain professionals, sponsored by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) and Penske Logistics. The researchers polled CSCMP's YP members about their education, career choices, job satisfaction, and future plans. The survey results provide a useful gauge not only of YPs' ambitions and attitudes, but also of what they want in a job, a career, and an employer. As a bonus, we've posted the entire report on our website.
We also present our fifth annual "Dialogue" interview with the winners of CSCMP's Emerging Leader Award. This award was created for active CSCMP members age 30 or under who are recognized as up-and-coming leaders in supply chain management, have already made significant contributions to the discipline, and have the potential to impact supply chain management in the future. You can read what 2017 winners Nathan Chaney and David Perez have to say about their experiences to date and their future plans. I encourage you to also read our interviews with past winners, beginning in 2013, which are available on Supply Chain Quarterly's website. The award recipients' thoughtful answers to our questions will be enlightening—and heartening—to anyone who works alongside younger generations.
I hope you'll take the time to learn more about the talented, motivated young people who are entering our profession, and about how they view their place in our fast-changing world. They have big ambitions, and there's much we can do to help them achieve their goals.
This article was updated on October 30, 2017.