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29th Annual Salary Survey: Experience pays

Our 2013 survey finds that the highest salaries in logistics and supply chain management will be earned by those sticking to time-honored values: education, hard work, and company loyalty.
By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
April 01, 2013

New era
According to educators at the University of Tennessee (UT), there has indeed been a fundamental shift in how logistics and supply chain managers are perceived and rewarded.

Fifteen years ago, the UT staff says that the logistics and supply chain leader in most companies held a title such as “vice president of logistics.” It was largely a functional role that relied on technical proficiency in discrete areas: knowledge of shipping routes, familiarity with warehousing equipment and distribution center locations and footprints; and a solid grasp of freight rates and fuel costs.

“He reported to the chief operating officer or chief financial officer, had few prospects of advancing, and had no exposure to the executive committee,” says J. Paul Dittmann, Ph.D., executive director of the Global Supply Chain Institute at UT. “The way companies need to think of the modern supply chain executive has changed dramatically.”

Dittmann, who recently teamed with colleagues on tracking “game changing” trends in the industry, notes that logistics and supply chain executives still need to be experts at managing supply chain functions such as transportation, warehousing, inventory management, and production planning. But the supply chain process extends end-to-end and even outside the firm, including the relationships with suppliers and customers on a global basis.

“Leading firms now see the supply chain functional leader as the executive to coordinate the end-to-end supply chain process, even though he or she does not control it all,” says Dittmann. “Because of that added dimension of cross-function, cross-company coordination, senior supply chain executives must possess a number of unique characteristics.”

Austerity and diversity

Austerity measures and “doing more with less” continue to inform most companies’ tactical direction, but there’s little doubt that long-term strategic plans will be reliant on attracting a younger and more diverse workforce. According to Rosemary Coates, an educator and president of Blue Silk Consulting in Los Gatos, Calif., women will be playing a much larger role in this industry in the coming decade.

“The supply chain and logistics arena is a place where there are a lot of existing problems,” says Coates. “Women are problem-solvers. We have traditionally had to deal with family budgets and evaluating risk and reward in our family lives, so when it comes to bringing value to employers, we can draw from that discipline and experience.”

Amanda Tillman couldn’t agree more. She’s a young carrier specialist with Kaiser Logistics in Milton, Wisc., who says that the “glass ceiling” may soon be athing of the past.

“Trucking is a ‘boy’s world,’” says Tillman, “but once a woman can get her foot through the door, the sky is the limit. While I like working for a family-run business, in five or 10 years, I hope to move up to a higher management level.”

Tillman, who has degrees in marketing and public administration, believes that ongoing education is a must. “You never stop learning when you get into this business,” she says, “and I would recommend logistics management to any young woman seeking a balanced and rewarding career.”

Brenda Gautier, director of operations for MW Logistics, LLC, in North Dallas, Texas, feels Tillman is on the right track. As a “seasoned professional,” she says she helped lay the groundwork for women to enter the senior ranks in logistics and transportation.

“It’s too late for me,” says Gautier, “but I’m glad I was among those willing to ‘fight the fight’ and create opportunities for others. Loyalty is rewarded in this business, and you can create considerable change within the company if you work hard and keep your passion.”

About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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