I interviewed Ron Mudgett who discussed Supply Chain Job Searching.
Can you start by providing a brief background of yourself?
Sure, it’s great to be with you too, Dustin. I have a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management. I’m currently the director of education for the LA chapter of APICS, the organization for operations managers. I’m about 50 percent through with a master’s degree in the executive master’s in supply chain management at Michigan State University. I recently relocated to southern California.
Thanks. Can you talk about your experience with searching for supply chain job opportunities?
I can. I’ve been here since January. Today is September 10 and I’ve scoured all the job boards that are available here in southern California, I haven’t seen a lot of operations manager positions both in the manufacturing sector, as well as in the warehousing distribution sector, which is where, both of those areas is where the majority of my experience is in. I do have a background in development procurement and my personal business ownership. I have a pretty well-rounded background in my thirty years in employment. One of the things that I’m finding interesting is that I’ve noticed that a lot of companies are putting supply chain management as one of the competencies they’d like to see out of their operations managers in both sectors, both the operations for manufacturing facilities and distribution logistics facilities. But then when it comes down to the actual qualifications, that particular experience is not at the top of the list. For instance, with the manufacturing setting, what I’m finding is that—and I won’t mention any names of companies, but what I’m finding is that they want masters at widget makers but they aren’t allowing individuals with backgrounds strictly in supply chain management to, in my experience, even be called back for those positions. I think that’s kind of interesting. I think part of that can be they understand that as supply chain becomes more and more part of the overall company’s viability going forward, they’re still not ready to kind of give up those reins and put that person in charge that has an extensive supply chain background but not so much the production and product-building background.
Why are companies unwilling to allow supply chain training to be at the forefront of potential candidate résumés?
Well, that’s a really good question. I wish I could speak to that. I haven’t really had any discussion with hiring people from those areas, but I can speculate a little bit. I’ve spent some time in that area. The operations manager in a manufacturing facility has such a huge job, and it’s been over the past few decades that we, manufacturing facilities, we’ve put them under a different umbrella of Six Sigma or lean. Those tend to spread out and certainly making sure that they’re being as efficient as possible. I think, part of it I think is, as leaders in manufacturing, they don’t want to lose that aspect. Most manufacturing companies, I think, don’t realize is that that’s something, number one, we teach at APICS, and it’s something that I found to be very prevalent in my academic career at Michigan State. Those types of things are still there with an individual with a supply chain background. Maybe the point of the issue is that they don’t have enough information to know what someone with a supply chain background is going to bring to the table.
How should supply chain professionals approach the job search?
Well, I think that what I’ve done is, I’ve recently been CSCP-certified through APICS, and there are many different great organizations. I happen to be a member of APICS, as well as a board member, so I have the tendency to tout them a little more because I’m a member. Find an organization like that that gives you some accreditation over and above your schooling. In some cases I think we may be at a matter of going out, as I’ve done, and I’ve started my own consulting company and done some smaller projects for manufacturing companies as far as helping them even out their supply and demand and do some S&OP training, stuff like that. I think that anything you can do to put yourself out into the job market and network, all those things that I’ve mentioned are gonna give you an opportunity to network with professionals. I have a really good friend of mine who says he’s never gotten a job from his résumé; it’s always been because he either knew someone or has networked his way into the position. I found that to be true with my experience as well for the most part. Networking can be very, very important, so I think to use that aspect and to go out and find those opportunities either through an organization like APICS or to get yourself out into the community, maybe do some job fairs, do things of that nature to get yourself out there and be known. That’s the biggest thing that I think can be done in today’s market anyways.
Well, thanks for sharing your views on supply chain job searching.
Absolutely, Dustin, any time.
About Ron Mudgett
at RPM Global SCM