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  • Building Your Professional Brand
    Posted: 6/1/2013
    Published in CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly (Q2/2013)
    When we think about "BRANDS" we generally think of consumer products and the companies that design and make them. Consider, for example, such well-known companies as Domino's Pizza, Volvo, and Apple. With Domino's, we think "fast", because we know we can be eating pizza 30 minutes after ordering it. When we hear Volvo, we think "safety". Apple we associate with "innovation". These associations?the images that emerge when we think of each company are the brands.
    Companies carefully cultivate their brands over years in an effort to ensure that the impression they make on you is the one they desire you to have. When they are successful in creating a strong, desirable brand, it has "pull"; in other words, it prompts action on the part of the consumer. Apple has been especially successful in this regard, with consumers routinely standing in line to be among the first to buy the company?s latest innovation.
    People can have a brand, too. As an example, the late television news anchor Walter Cronkite's brand was "trustworthy and honest". If Walter Cronkite said it, you believed it. This doesn't apply only to celebrities. When you think about your co-workers, certain descriptors probably come to mind: the creative one; the analytical one; the organizer. These descriptors are shorthand for their professional brands.
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  • Supply Chain Specialist or Generalist: Which is Right for You?
    Posted: 3/1/2013
    Published in CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly (Q1/2013)
    Supply chain management is a complex and challenging discipline. With so many functions involved (procurement, manufacturing, demand planning, inventory, and logistics, to name just a few) there are many potential areas of career specialization.
    Specialization can be a good thing, and it plays an important role in supply chain management. By having specialists in key areas of the supply chain system, companies can make impressive gains in efficiency, effectiveness, customer satisfaction, and market expansion. If you are a specialist, it often implies that you are an expert in a certain area of the supply chain system. In effect, you become the "go to" person for critical issues and challenges related to this specific realm of knowledge. Your particular skills and expertise can make you a valuable contributor to the success of the enterprise. Moreover, your deep knowledge in a key supply chain dimension can position you as a "big fish in a small pond." There is absolutely nothing wrong with becoming a specialist, if you do so as a result of a conscious decision.

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  • Should I Stay or Should I Go?
    Posted: 1/1/2013
    Published in CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly (Q4/2012)
    As a supply chain manager, your day starts early. Once in the office, the calls, e-mails, and meetings come fast and furious. By the time the day is over, it is late and you may be tired. But good work was accomplished. Progress was made. Tomorrow, you will do it again and do it just as well, if not better.
    This is all great; we are paid to deliver results. But this kind of focus on the day-to-day can turn into something less desirable: keeping our heads down and not looking at the bigger picture. In other words, doing a good job of managing day-to-day operations should not be your sole focus. You also need to manage your career with an eye toward your future.

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  • Why Everyone Needs to Stop, Ask and Listen
    Posted: 7/6/2012
    Published in CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly (Quarter 2/2012)Career Ladder column. Tim Stratman's article discussed why you need to rely on others for information the higher you go in your career. You need to Stop to assess what information you need. You need to ask the right people the right questions. And, most of all, you need to actively listen to the answers.
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  • Why you should never graduate
    Posted: 1/3/2012
    CSCMP Supply Chain Quarterly
    Q3 2011 Career Ladder Column

    THERE'S A GOOD FEELING that hits you when you?re wrapping up a major negotiation, completing a big project, or even finishing a book. It is very satisfying to tick something off your "to do" list, to get something done. Most of us crave it. Some call it the "completion high," and that craving is one reason why supply chain management (SCM) professionals are considered to be superb at execution. SCM professionals know how to get things done.
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  • Be prepared for the unexpected
    Posted: 10/1/2011
    CSCMP Supply Chain Quarterly
    Q3 2011 Career Ladder Column

    When it comes to leading a business, most senior executives are masters at preparing for the unexpected. But what about their careers? Are executive leaders truly prepared for the unexpected? When change happens, is their a backup plan that's ready to go?
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  • Building Your Personal Brand
    Posted: 7/31/2011
    Supply Chain Management Review, July/August 2011

    Skilled practitioners though they may be, most supply chain leaders have the potential to significantly expand their influence and achieve greater success. They can realize more of their potential by deliberately building and marketing their personal brands. The dividends from making this personal investment are both quick and career-spanning.
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  • How to Turn Past Failure into Future Success
    Posted: 7/6/2011
    CSCMP Supply Chain Quarterly
    Q2 2011 Career Ladder Column

    Accepting and learning from mistakes, while initially hard to do, yields lifelong rewards. The ability to accept that you have failed, learn from the experience, and ?bounce back? to a position of strength is a hallmark of great leaders.
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  • To Advance Your Career, Make Yourself Uncomfortable
    Posted: 7/1/2011
    CSCMP Supply Chain Quarterly
    Q4 2010 Career Ladder Column

    Do you have a comfortable pair of old shoes in your closet? You know what I?m talking about: your favorite pair, the shoes that fit like no other. We all have a pair of those shoes, and some of us have more than one.
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  • Are Supply Chain Leaders Ready for the Top?
    Posted: 11/1/2010
    Supply Chain Management Review, November 2010

    Why don't chief executives come from the top supply chain ranks as readily as they do from finance, marketing and sales? Senior supply chain management roles constitute some of the best preparation possible for the CEO's position. But if they are to be seen as such by those who plan CEO successions, supply chain leaders themselves need new ways to think about the route to the top office. Here are some ideas.
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  • Get to Know Your Customer
    Posted: 10/29/2010
    CSCMP Supply Chain Quarterly
    Q3 2010 Career Ladder Column

    If you want to significantly improve your chances of becoming a senior leader, getting to know the customer is essential.

    When was the last time you sat down and talked with a customer? For many supply chain professionals, the answer is likely to be "not lately," or worse yet, "rarely, if ever."

    That's not surprising, really; supply chain professionals are often considered specialists who aggressively pursue cost and efficiency primarily by working with suppliers and within their companies' four walls. Few companies, moreover, have truly embraced supply chain management's role in driving profitable growth and increasing sales.

    But if you want to significantly improve your chances of becoming a senior leader-and perhaps lead an entire supply chain organization or even run a business-getting to know the customer is essential. After all, without customers, you don't have a business.
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