Jacqueline Bailey, Co-founder, TidalSeven
While off to a great start in regards to female leadership within the industry, the numbers still need to grow to be comparable with other business disciplines. In the last decade we have seen a shift in the maturity and professionalism of the industry, marking a transition from the backroom to the boardroom. This led to many female business professionals that never considered supply chain in the past, to view it as a viable career path and industry with a lot of opportunity. Through this influx of female talent, we have finally seen recognition of female leadership in the industry. I am excited to see the momentum continue in this positive direction.
Lee Shellhouse, Controlling Owner, Trident Technical Corp.
For 2013, Trident is creating a menu of services to appeal to a broader variety of customers. This structured approach will enable customers of all sizes to choose the level of service that best fits their needs and gives them the best value for their money. The supply chain topic that would benefit most from extra awareness is being able to readily identify alternate sources of supply. Unfortunately, many companies have been forced to close their doors in recent years, leaving potential gaps in the supply chain for manufacturers. Ensuring that you have detailed specifications for all of your parts will allow you to locate alternates and/or requisition a custom replacement if needed. Identifying multiple sources of supply will also help to keep pricing competitive. Fluctuations in the economy caused women to think outside the box in terms of becoming self-sufficient. The number of women-owned businesses continues to increase and programs such as the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract program are expanding opportunities for women to enter the supply chain at all levels. The best ways for women to better position themselves are to actively seek learning opportunities and to network with successful business leaders in their field of interest. We should continue to encourage women to be assertive, do their research and take advantage of every opportunity to learn more about their business.
Kate Vitasek, Faculty, Center for Executive Education, University of Tennessee; and Founder, Supply Chain Visions
Overall, today’s workforce is really stuck in an activity trap of sorts—heads down, at work every day, doing the same things we’ve always done. Instead, they need to look at and understand outcomes versus the activities. It’s having the ability to create long-term visions, describe that long-term vision to others and then communicate it in such a way that it creates enthusiasm and a desire to follow. Women who can break the activity trap mold will better position themselves for those decision-making roles in companies. The increase in the number of women who major in supply chain in college and taking positions with supply chain related companies over the past 10 to 15 years is the biggest part of it. The image of supply chain rapidly changed as well from old warehouses and diesel trucks to corporate offices and the C-Suite. The industry now has a couple of powerhouse logistics service providers that are woman-owned that is proving smart woman can run big businesses in the supply chain space. Overall, I see more and more women who are launching their own supply chain companies and I think that can be very inspiring for young women just getting into the field. They can truly see the glass ceiling has not only been cracked—but truly shattered.