Pros to Know: Where are They Now -- Daniel Stanton

Supply & Demand Chain Executive revisits former Pros to Know winners to see what they're up to, how their career has progressed and what's in store for the future.

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In the wake of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the entire world learned how fast things can change in the matter of weeks. We are facing a completely different world view in 2020 than we did in 2019, but behind all these changes are leaders that we have grown to rely on.

With Supply & Demand Chain Executive celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the editorial team has been watching and reporting how the industry has changed over the last two decades. One thing remains unchanged, though -- the supply chain and logistics industry thrives on quality and consistent leadership.

The annual Pros to Know award recognizes professionals for their accomplishments in leveraging the supply chain industry for competitive advantage. For the last 20 years, SDCE has honored these Provider, Practitioner and Provider Team Pros to Knows by highlighting their achievements. Now, we look back at some of the top Pros to Know over the years to see what they have been up to since they last received the award.

Daniel Stanton, also known as Mr. Supply Chain, truly embodies what it means to be a Pro to Know, having won the award numerous times, including 20182019, and most recently in 2020. Stanton has been a leading advocate for supply chain management education by engaging as a teacher, researcher and a researcher sponsor. He's also helped bring supply chain education to the masses through courses on LinkedIn Learning and his book "Supply Chain Management for Dummies."

“For the past couple of years, my focus has really been on educating the whole world about supply chain management. Part of that is explaining what supply chains are to people that just really don't know. And,  then part of it is helping supply chain professionals pick up the skills and the insights that they need to do their jobs better and to advance their careers,” says Stanton.

Stanton has also amassed a large following on social media, especially LinkedIn. He ends all his posts with the hashtag #StayLearning, allowing his peers to understand that there’s almost more room to evolve and continue on with conversations, so that you can progress in your field.

Meanwhile, he partnered with LinkedIn Learning, creating a series of courses for a supply chain certification. This allows Stanton to continue to be a part of these conversations, as social media allows people to grow and develop professionally. He explains that through the courses – which are offered in different languages – users can cover all aspects of supply chain management.

“For me, supply chains are complex systems. And, what that means is the decisions that you make in one place can have far reaching consequences. So really, the more that people understand about what supply chains are and how they work, the better job all of us can do with balancing those trade offs,” he explains. “The better that we understand the tools, the rules and the jargon of supply chain management, the better job that we can do of communicating with our suppliers and with our customers. At the end of the day, that means education is really a critical part of running supply chains efficiently and of adapting to changes when we need to, which is critical when we see a challenge.”

Since Stanton’s book was published in 2017, he has received praise for helping people understand a difficult industry. He explains that the book is often used as a manual for businesses and by young professionals first entering the industry.

“We all start off at the beginning, right? For me, it's really rewarding to be helping people make that first step onto the ladder, and then figure out where you want to go,” says Stanton. “That's a really empowering step is to get to the place that you've got enough knowledge and enough confidence, you can have an intelligent conversation, and then figure out where to go from there.”

But, when it comes to educating the public, there also comes a series of challenges. For Stanton, that means having to define what the supply chain management profession actually is.

“The truth is, [supply chain management] is a new discipline, right? I mean, the term supply chain management is less than 40 years old. It's really, if anything, it's almost like it's a philosophy. It's a way of viewing businesses and how they, how they operate internally and how they connect to the markets in which they operate,” says Stanton. “I think that's one of the first challenges is just how do we define what it is we do? And how do we explain that to people in terms that makes sense to them?”

So that’s exactly where Stanton has been placing his focus on in the last couple of years. His goal is to bridge that gap and make the supply chain profession easier for people, especially those first entering the industry, to understand. His determination and willingness to educate people on the industry is why he has been named one of SDCE’s Top Pros to Know Throughout the Years.

“It's a huge honor for me to get that [Pros to Know] recognition from my peers and from Supply & Demand Chain Executive and really, I see it as a vote of confidence that the work that I'm trying to do to educate people and to demystify supply chain management as a profession and as a career on that it's a vote to indicate that I'm doing something right,” says Stanton. “It also gives me, you know, really also a greater sense of responsibility because I feel like it brings attention to what I'm doing, which is going to force me to be held to a higher standard.”

“There has never been a time in history when supply chain management is more important for society than right now. And so, I just want to show my appreciation to all of my colleagues around the supply chain industry, for the great work that they do every single day to help make modern life possible,” says Stanton.