People outside of the industry often don’t know what the supply chain is, or even worse, they have a negative image of a dirty manufacturing plant. But that doesn’t need to be the case.


International trade association MHI, formerly known as Materials Handling Institute, has launched a new initiative to promote careers in the supply chain. Called iWorkinTheSupplyChain, the effort is focused on both increasing awareness of careers in the supply chain and promoting the role of blue and white collars serving in supply chain related positions.


More than that, MHI says the campaign is designed to not only promote manufacturing and supply chain as an innovative and rewarding career choice but to change the perception of jobs in the industry. The goal of the #iWorkInTheSupplyChain campaign is to connect, engage and inspire next-generation workers to pursue manufacturing and supply chain careers, MHI says.


“New and emerging manufacturing and supply chain technologies require highly-sophisticated skillsets and an equally sophisticated, well-trained and well-paid workforce,” says George Prest, MHI CEO. “Because supply chains work behind the scenes, you only hear about them when there is a disruption. We, as an industry, have to do a better job communicating the amazing and rewarding career opportunities available. That’s the goal of this campaign.”


The campaign was launched this week with a video titled #iWorkInTheSupplyChain, which tells the stories of various manufacturing and supply chain professionals. It can be seen at In addition to those personal stories, the website includes a video of a variety of individuals talking about their connections to the supply chain, including well-known television personality Mike Rowe, who, with the others, was filmed at MHI’s annual conference in Jacksonville, FL earlier this fall.


MHI invites everyone who works in manufacturing and the supply chain to join this campaign and explain their role in the supply chain. The association created an interactive blog at where, as it says, professionals can join the conversation, tell their unique stories, upload videos and connect with other manufacturing and supply chain professionals.


As a benefit, supply chain professionals who do share their story at can enter to become the 2016 MHI Face of the Supply Chain. This award will honor a supply chain professional whose personal story demonstrates the hard work, creative-thinking and a commitment to innovation it takes to succeed in this industry, MHI says. The winner will be announced at the MODEX trade show next spring.


MHI points out that although more than 11 million people work in the supply chain, which is 8.6 percent of the nation’s workforce, there still is a shortage of skilled supply chain workers. An estimated 600,000 manufacturing positions in the U.S. are unfilled for a lack of qualified workers, according to MHI. In addition, the “U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling & Logistics” predicts that, between now and 2018, there will be 1.4 million new jobs in the logistics and supply chain field.


With those numbers in mind, MHI spokespeople say it is more important than ever to explain that supply chains are global enterprises led by a diverse group of professionals who use innovation, creativity and smart thinking to not only drive operational efficiency but to keep the economy going. Furthermore, supply chain careers are rewarding and highly-compensated jobs which may lead to the C-suite.


I’m interested in your thoughts on #iWorkInTheSupplyChain. Do you think the campaign will help promote awareness of careers in the supply chain? Would you post a video there?