Hey, Supply Chains are Fun!

Angel Mendez knows a secret about supply chains not many logistics managers will share: they’re fun.

Cisco’s senior vice president of global supply management let it slip at a May 11 conference on infrastructure strategies in Washington.

“Supply chain management has never been more complex, more difficult and at the same time more fun — if you’re somewhat masochistic about this kind of work,” he said.

That qualifier aside, Mendez obviously gets a kick out of running a global supply organization for Cisco, a $39.5 billion technology supplier.

“Supply chains are becoming far more complex, more global than they’ve ever been. At no time has the complexity factor been as high as it today,” he said.

The core of supply chain management, he said, is innovation, especially coming up with new innovative ways of getting things done.

The big question for managers today is “how do we get people to cooperate better across the supply chain, to innovate, to release potential?”

It’s a field that should attract more talent, he said, but logistics education needs to keep up with the fast-changing industry.

“It’s important that we concentrate on skills that enable people to lead global teams and deal with the complexity we’re dealing with,” he said.

Industry needs to work more with universities and colleges that offer supply chain degrees to keep courses up-to-date.

“We need to invest in them and cooperate with them to ensure that they teach modern supply chain management to students, not four- or five-year-old methods.”

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