Supply Chain Leaders—We Salute You

This month, we pay homage to the industry leaders’ contributions—including a special tribute to the women of the supply chain

As we sifted through the nearly 400 entries to our 13th annual Pros to Know awards, it became very clear that more women in supply chain have been cracking, if not totally shattering, the glass ceiling. That’s why this year, in addition to our Pro of the Year being a woman, we paid special tribute to the  proactive women in the supply chain.

As you can see from our cover, we chose as our 2013 Pro to Know of the Year Louise O’Sullivan, Founder, President and CEO of Prime Advantage, a buying group that helps mid-sized manufacturers achieve savings and form better relationships with suppliers. Her selected nomination supports the dominant theme of this year’s awards coverage: female executives leading the supply chain.

Louise is a prime example of what it really takes to be a pro, not just as a female but as a global supply chain executive. Following a 22-year management career in industrial manufacturing, she founded Prime Advantage in 1997. Today, the company serves more than 25 industries, including commercial food service; packaging; truck and trailer; material handling; and more. Her successful leadership is exemplified by a staggering number: in the past 10 years, Prime Advantage paid more than $130 million in rebates and discounts to its manufacturing industry members.

To learn more about Louise O’Sullivan and our 2013 Pros to Know, please turn to page 14. And on page 34, read our exclusive—an SDCE editorial first—on the top female leaders in the supply chain.

But there’s a lot more to this issue than our Pros coverage. For example, the chemicals industry is one of the most volatile (in all senses of the word) arenas we have to serve in supply chain. It’s risk management at its riskiest.

“Many of these commodities are potential dangers toward health, safety, security and the environment,” explained Taylor Nicks, Manager of the ChemSolutions division of C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. “And in addition to safety risks, many can be heavily regulated at the federal and state levels. Supply chain must execute a series of defined processes with multiple communication points and handoffs for the safety of the general public, the environment and the people working with those products.”

For some tips on how to do just that, please turn to “Chemical Reactions” on page 44. When you’ve finished that story, go right to page 46 for a look at some best practices in risk mitigation.

We’re still not done with advice, solutions, best practices and other useful information for supply chain professionals. On page 26, we provide you with an update on free trade agreements (FTAs) and what small-to-medium-sized businesses must be prepared for. And finally, we let you know the value of joining a professional association and how it can help your career, on page 50—whether you’re a seasoned veteran or just out of school. Oh, and don’t forget about our updated V.25 Global Enabled Supply Chain Map, inserted at the center of this issue. Happy reading.