Cobb companies and universities steering a new generation of supply chain talent
by Garrett Lazenby
May 05, 2014 12:00 AM | 1119 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print

In the ’80s and ’90s, Baby Boomers, Generation Xers and early Millennials built a complex global economic system. Years later, that brain trust is retiring, and several Cobb companies and universities are grooming a new generation to pass their knowledge and experience on to.

In the early ’80s, Keith Oliver, then a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, coined the term “Supply Chain.” He used it to describe the complex system of organizations, people, activities, information and resources involved in moving a product or service from supplier to customer. The concept really started taking hold in the late ’90s as the economy became a much more globally sophisticated marketplace.

Fast forward to 2014 and Georgia is home to some of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing distribution networks and transportation hubs. The state also boasts some of the best universities in the country, many offering majors in supply chain management and global business, including subsets such as logistics and transportation.

That next generation of workers is a key ingredient in positioning Georgia as one of the best places to do business. So how do we ensure that in the future?

In the fall of 2013, the Transportation Club of Atlanta, a local Chapter of Transportation Clubs International, started an internship program connecting Georgia-based universities and supply chain companies. Part of TCA’s mission is to help promote a greater knowledge of supply chain, logistics and transportation, so it was an easy decision to start this program locally.

Each business partnering with the TCA has the autonomy to design their internship program how they choose. The club’s job is to help connect businesses with the best students in the state.

Less than six months later, Kennesaw State University is one of several local universities involved. The Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Southern University and Clayton State University are a few of the others.

One of the first companies we’re working with is Cobb-based The Home Depot Inc. Students are getting great experience and building their resumes. The company has a pipeline of internship positions to fill, with workers ready to start rolling immediately in the supply chain positions and other jobs, such as transportation and logistics.

The Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement specialty retailer, is one of the biggest supply chain companies in the world and one of Georgia’s largest employers. Its supply chain internship program started in the summer of 2011.

Shannon Long, Senior Manager HR Supply Chain for The Home Depot, says: “Home Depot’s partnership with TCA has demonstrated one of our key values — building relationships. The coordination between TCA and the colleges in the state of Georgia has been effective in providing great quality resumes of students in consideration for our job openings.”

Another partner is Unisource Worldwide Inc., one the largest distributors of national and private-label products in North America, with capabilities including engineered package design, e-business technologies, logistics, paper procurement and optimized facilities management. They’ve been using supply chain, logistics and transportation interns for more than 15 years from universities, including Georgia Southern University and the University of Tennessee Knoxville, and are excited to expand their program.

Frances Tinsley, Customer Project Manager at Unisource Logistics Solutions, manages Unisource’s supply chain internship program. She says the partnership with the TCA has allowed them to connect with the best students in Georgia, who can immediately provide a beneficial impact to their supply chain operation.

TCA is currently working on additional partnerships, including one with Southwire Company, one of North America’s leading manufacturers of wire and cable used in the distribution of electricity.

Supply chain, logistics and transportation will continue to be a strong source of jobs and revenue for the state of Georgia. The Transportation Club of Atlanta is looking for more Cobb universities and companies to join our program.

Garret Lazenby is a Logistics Practice Leader and Broker with Cobb-based Sterling Risk Advisors (www.sterlingriskadvisors.com), specializing in risk management and insurance for transportation, logistics and supply chain companies. In December 2013, he was named to the Board of Directors of the Transportation Club of Atlanta. He can be reached at (678) 424-6505 or glazenby@sterlingra.com.



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