What is missing in logistics education

I met this week with Mitchell Estrada of the Chit Chat group, www.chitchatgroup.com, who has started a logistics education company.  Among our topics of discussion was what college does not teach you and perhaps it should. Among the topics not taught or not taught well are: how to be a business leader and the issues of the day to day job,  the later being the focus of the Chit Chat Group.

A business leader does two major activities, planning for the organization and running the organization. College Supply Chain courses and programs  do an excellent, hit the ball out of the park, job on educating for the planning part of the job of a business leader. Words like supply chain visibility, end to end planning, customer pull, and collaboration are taught exceptionally well. But rarely will they teach that to be the boss, is not at all about bossing people around. The actual running of the operation gets short shift in many training programs. As a leader, one needs to be focused on helping their reports be successful. There is as much the leader can learn from those who report to her/him as from any customer.   Another general missed topic, is how to find the right hirer for an open position. Rarely is training done on the general legal requirements of a business leader, such questions that can not be asked in a job interview.  This paragraph could go much longer, but I will stop here.

In the day to day details of the job, such items as the Bill of Lading, basic import-export custom requirements rarely get discussed. The importance of safety and how to achieve it is rarely mentioned in academic courses. Schools do a good job about teaching about numbers, data, and financial statements but rarely integrate that with the day to day requirements of the job.  Most of us, alas, learn these things under the fire of daily work activity, sometimes through failure.

It costs money to train and the return on investment is harder to measure because it is true measure elimination of mistakes. It is worth the time and cost justification for education and training if you can develop these metrics to sell the program to your management.

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