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OT: Supply chain employees?

  • I am curious to see if there are any supply chain workers on here and your opinions about your jobs. I am getting close to getting out of the Military and this is a field I am interested in.

  • playmea

    Did you work in supply chain and logistics in the military? I find military logistics fascinating.

    "Gentlemen, the officer who doesn't know his communications and supply as well as his tactics is totally useless."
    - Gen. George S. Patton

    The military model of cross collaboration and tactics such as Toyota's JIT are always fun studies for business. Perhaps nobody handles supply chain and logistics better than WalMart. Although I'm sure many will debate that.

    Sorry, I don't work in supply chain. But I find these aspects of business cool. I'm just a humble nerd.

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    I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with typewriters. - Frank Lloyd Wright (1868-1959)

  • Supply Chain here......same company for my 12 years after graduating college and majoring in Supply Chain.

    Great field, with increasing demand of EVERY company who touches a product is looking to take cost out through their chain.

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  • playmea

    This post is for members of Bucknuts only. Join now! Start Free Trial
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    I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with typewriters. - Frank Lloyd Wright (1868-1959)

  • I spent 20 years in the Army as a supply sergeant...never got cold, hungry, or wet! It's a great field. Upon retirement I landed a GREAT job at Wright-Patterson AFB and worked 11 years in FMS (Foreign Military Sales). Not only was there upward mobility throughout FMS but base wide as well. Worldwide travel for 7-10 days at a time was almost always available. Check into's VERY interesting!

    Good luck!

    This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by dmorris 18 months ago

  • Heater

    I was a career Air Force logistics officer and I am supply chain management certified.

    I currently work at the primary distribution center for an industry leader as the fleet manager for our private fleet of trucks (and LOVE it!).

    Tremendous field...growing industry. If you get really good at it and have vision, you can make BANK as a consultant.

    Learn all the ins and outs of the lower chain and their activities. It will aid you greatly in learning the higher level stuff.

    Logistics is always the last thing folks think of but the biggest place to save mega bucks AND TIME. Time is hugely important.

    National President of the Sky is NOT Falling Club

  • Used to be in Supply Chain. Before I left the field, I'd had many mgmt. jobs up to Dir. of Global Supply Chain for a multi-billion company. I also was a consultant in the field on both the software (SAP) and mgmt. consulting sides. I focused my career as a generalist, but always had one foot in technology, one in planning and I straddled the intersection of the other disciplines.

    One thing to note is that while there has been a movement toward a unified Supply Chain field for 30 years, it is still often seen (either within a company or as fields in general) as multiple fields. Purchasing, Manufacturing, Distribution, Transportation, Inventory/Planning are often still seen as distinct fields (or sub-fields). So, even if you try to be a generalist, you will initially be in one sub-field.

    If you are interested in pursuing a degree in the area, I can hook you up with several faculty (including Dept. Chair) from OSU if you want to talk to them. Same goes for the USAF Logistics School (AFIT I think it's called) out at Wright-Patt (one of the OSU faculty has been an instructor their for years). (However, Heater may be a better contact there.) My best friend is semi-retired after a second career teaching in the Logistics/Supply Chain Dept. at OSU. I'm also friends with most other Supply Chain faculty (including Chair) and in the mid-80s I got my degree from that faculty group.

    On the non-salary side, it's a high demand field which will never go out of demand. However, that does not mean any given operation won't close/move (I was involved in a huge number of warehouse/DC closures/moves for M&A, operational efficiency and/or service level reasons). To a lesser extent, those jobs are sometimes rationalized (like many others) based on the prospects of the company. (Any job not directly driving revenue is always at a higher risk when the company isn't making their numbers.) If you go this route, get a CDL on Uncle Sam. That's a massive peace of mind thing since it guarantees 100% employment (if not 100% happiness).

    On the salary side, the demand is always there, but just like any other field it has it's problems. There are down-sizings, etc.

    As far as certifications that can add to your value (pay) consider these:

    - Non-exempt(salary): CDL, Forklift Driver, entry-level quality (ASQ offers many based on industry)

    - Exempt (salaried): APICS (CPIM is more mfg. focused, CSCP more chain focused), ISM (from Purchasing focused to chain focused), CSCMP (chain focused, but originated as a Logistics focus organization), Six Sigma (Quality focus, but prized and broadly applicable), Lean (Quality focus, mostly auto-industry, although a little more broad) and others exist.

    If you are going the Exempt route (degreed) only consider these shools:
    - OSU (Program Bud LaLonde built)
    - MSU (Sparty) (Program Don Bowersox built)
    - PSU (Program John Coyle built)
    - GaTech (Don Ratliff's program)
    - ASU (Sun Devils) (Purchasing-centric, can hook you up with Arnie Maltz on faculty)

    This post has been edited 3 times, most recently by JarheadBuck 18 months ago

  • Company I work for loves military experience and when it comes to our bread and butter especially military logistics experience. Heck, our NA President is a West Point grad and was a "logistics officer". Many Directors are ex military.

    PM me if you want a company name.

  • Yes that is my job in the military and is the reason I am so interested in logistics in the civilian world. I enjoy every aspect of logistics/ supply chain even though the military can make it extra frustrating at times.

  • That is encouraging news to hear. If you don't mind going into more specifics as far as your part in the supply chain.

  • I absolutely love being a supply sergeant! How do you see the job prospects for someone who has the experience we have, but doesn't do the full 20? Do you feel the 20 years put you at a huge advantage over other potential employees?

  • I appreciate all of the responses and the wealth of knowledge being passed along in this thread. I never knew I was sitting on such a gold mine of professionals and professional opinions on this message board! I appreciate all of you guys!!

  • I was a Navy Logistics & Contracting Officer for the Navy Nukes (Rickover's old Group).

    After leaving the military, I landed with a manufacturer here in Columbus. Worked up through Plant Management, and now I'm the Global Director of the Supply Chain. We have three plants (Cbus, Brussels, and Tianjin, China). We should be opening a new plant in Brazil in FY14. I spend 2-3 months of the year in Asia and another month in Europe.

    First - I love my job. I told my Boss that I would stay for 5 years - that was 15 years ago. Most of my expertise is on developing suppliers, honing our supplier network, and driving throughput improvements through the production plants. However, Supply Chain touches so many areas. I get involved with Marketing to harmonize our portfolio, with R&D to improve time-to-market, with Staff/M&A to assess potential business partner, with Sales to work with Customers, etc. These functions all touch Supply Chain. This year, my team will oversee an SAP roll-out in two plants (not looking forward to this).

    SC is a better field today than when I started. Most organizations have a much better appreciation of the SC role now. When I started, I led the purchasing, shipping, receiving, and inventory teams for one plant. Today, these functions are not so discrete - they are linked together with Operations to manage/plan material, its movement, and eventually create satisfied Customers.

    Jarhead made some great points in his post - there are sub-fields of expertise where you would likely start. However, BE ADAPTIVE. You will likely be exposed to other links/fields in SC - the more you know, the more value you can add.

  • Supply Chain is a broad term for operations at my company.

    I'm a commodity manager which is a fancy name for supplier manager that focus specifically on a set of products like paper or inking products and so on.

    As the other guys have mentioned, if you know what you are doing in this business you can make major bank. Considering your experience inside the military, that is a definite plus. Companies are realizing now, or should have been in the last 10 years or so, that major cost savings come within SLM, and people who know what they are doing can capitalize on it.

    I do not recommend doing the consulting thing right away, but to each his own.

    Good luck!

  • This is an great thread!! And I support much of the other feedback regarding Supply Chain / Logistics as a great place to start. I got my degree in Logistics (+some other stuff) from OSU in the early days of the program (early 80's). Spend the first 7-8 yrs of my career in differing SC jobs, getting great perspective on the business. That is a key aspect of the field. At least in a manufacturing environment, you really get a strong view of all aspects of a business......from manufacturing, through procurement, planning, and into Sales and Marketing. Supply chain.....and the involved roles, sits in the middle of pretty much everything. As a result you gain broad insight on a business by working in this area.

    I eventually matriculated into more external jobs...... and a series of sales and marketing roles in my company (one of the largest in the world that y'all would well know). I now manage a global market development team, and after 30 years I really am having a blast managing people and projects around the world.

    I would not have been as successful as I've been without that broad perspective at the beginning of my career.

    I would strongly encourage you to pursue this interest for certain!

  • No, I really don't think having the full 20 years made much (if any) difference. WPAFB scored your application with some kind of formula and all "veterans" got 10 additional points. It didn't matter if you had 20 years or 2. Obviously a Honorable Discharge(s) was required and I think having a SECRET clearance probably helped. If you get an interview, take all awards, certificates, DD 214 with you. You may not get the grade you want to start as most of the entry level jobs are GS-07. I was there 11 years and retired November 2011 as a GS-11. I'm sure I would have made GS-12 in the next couple years but damn, I'm getting old and didn't want to work any longer!

    Go to and look around!

  • Not a supply bubba at all people but what great contacts and experience do we have out there on this board. Congrats to all of you for your successes and helping out a fellow Bucknutter.

  • Global Supply chain lead here for a multi billion dollar company based in c-bus. I concur with the advice you are getting from others, great field, substantial growth potential and excellent undergrad and graduate programs available.

    Good luck and thank you for serving.

  • I'm a Logistics and Ops Management grad from Fisher now working as a commodity manager in the aerospace manufacturing.

    Supply chain is a great field. Like others have said, companies put a high value on top supply chain talent as each dollar saved goes straight to the bottom line. I'm just a few years out of school but have already moved up the ladder a couple times and have saved my company a few million dollars. Definitely recommending a supply chain career.

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