Transforming My Supply Chain View

It’s been about a decade now since I graduated from college with my Industrial Engineering degree. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my career, but I was sure of one thing: I did not want to work in logistics and supply chain. I had taken a class in it, and all I remember is doing boring computer network models. I was convinced I could do so much more with my degree.

As fate would have it, my first job was in the logistics division of Caterpillar. While I wasn’t thrilled to be in logistics, I was excited to work for Cat and begin building my career. I spent the next four years in a blur of roles… running a rearrangement and launching a new warehouse management software… supervising docks and the picking of parts orders…. even helping to solution and cost 3PL solutions. Instead of opting for an MBA, I got my masters in supply chain… but I still wasn’t convinced it was the career for me.

It wasn’t until I returned to work for Cat that it finally clicked. I was in a meeting when someone said, “I just love talking to you about logistics and supply chain because you’re so passionate about it.” I think I must’ve stared at him dumbfounded. After all, it was just about trucks and dusty warehouses full of products. I was integrating distribution networks from a recent merger, using data analytics to transform our dealer network, and collaborating with marketing and operations to provide new services to our customers. But that is supply chain.

Since then I’ve been fortunate to work and network with the most brilliant, hard-working, and passionate supply chain professionals. With a great group of people and ever-evolving technologies and challenges, it’s truly an exciting and terrific career to be in. While it took me a while to change my own views, I can now proudly say “I work in the supply chain.”

Susie Conley