Is all the doom-and-gloom talk about the economy getting you down? Are you worried about the housing-market meltdown, the credit crunch, rising unemployment, inflation, and the possibility of recession? Most important, are you concerned that your job might not be there in the not-toodistant future?
Well, if you're reading this, chances are that you're already working in the supply chain field—and quite possibly, have risen to the top of your profession. If that's the case, you can sit back and relax. Although things may be pretty dismal in other segments of the economy, it appears that in your little corner of the business world, everything's going to be all right.
It's not that the supply chain profession is recession-proof; if there were a deep, sustained recession (and I'm not suggesting that is what's happening), it, too, would feel the pinch. But even during severe slowdowns, there are products that have to move: drugs and surgical supplies to hospitals, for example, or milk and bread to grocery stores, or soybeans to Japan. Someone has to take charge of moving all that stuff. Someone has to make sure it gets exactly where it's supposed to go—whether it's Shenzhen or Sheboygan—when it's supposed to be there. And perhaps most important of all, someone has to find a way to get it there at the lowest possible cost. During hard times in particular, the ability to move things cheaply can be a source of competitive advantage.
As a result, supply chain professionals remain one of the most sought-after groups of business executives on the planet. For evidence of that, look no further than the stampede of corporate recruiters to university business schools. What are they looking for? Students who are about to graduate with a degree in supply chain management. Logistics majors are in especially high demand these days. At The Ohio State University, for example, 25 percent of the recruiters who visit the campus are seeking out students enrolled in OSU's logistics programs, according to a report in Business First of Columbus.
Even though the general public tends to see jobs like distribution center managers, demand forecasters, and supply chain analysts as boring and perhaps soulless professions—if they even know that they exist—those of us in the field know better. We know that the supply chain is the engine that drives a company's success. We know that there are almost endless ways in which a fully optimized logistics operation can boost supply chain efficiency, in the process reducing costs, improving customer service, and driving revenue.
So, take comfort. While much of the business world fixates on a looming economic meltdown, you can relax and smile. The future for supply chain professionals has never looked brighter.