We Try Harder

We Try Harder

Copyright 2003, Traffic World, Inc.

Woo-hoo, we''re No. 6! All right, I''d rather be No. 1. But in the Journal of Business Logistics'' survey of the usefulness of various magazines to U.S. logistics educators, we did pretty well.

For an article in the Journal of Business Logistics, a scholarly semiannual publication of the Council for Logistics Management, Brian J. Gibson and Joe B. Hanna, both associate professors of logistics in the Department of Aviation Management and Logistics at Auburn University, surveyed logistics professors from across the country on the educational value of periodicals.

Now I trust the judgment of Auburn University men. My late uncle Broughton Riddle of Gadsden, Ala., was a proud graduate of Auburn who liked to say it wasn''t until his junior year there that he learned that "damn Yankee" was two separate words. Uncle Broughton, as loquacious as I am quiet, was a farmer and a cattle rancher and owned a livestock auction house and butcher shop. I was his sister''s kid, the sister who met a Yankee at the Tennessee Valley Authority in Chattanooga, married him and moved north. When I visited Gadsden, Uncle Broughton enjoyed teaching me about what I missed living in New York.

But back to the Auburn professors. Using responses from 102 educators, Gibson and Hanna rated 47 "research journals and practitioner-oriented publications" for usage, research merit, outreach merit and teaching merit. Those scores were combined into a "usefulness index score," and Traffic World ranked sixth by that criteria.

Now I say No. 6 is pretty good because while we do have a strong interest in education and career advancement, we are chiefly a news magazine, the only weekly that covers the broadest range of logistics and transportation news.

While five publications fared better, only one of them is a for-profit magazine about logistics, and it comes out just six times a year compared to our 51, and it''s more expensive to boot. The periodicals rated the top two for usefulness to educators were CLM''s Journal of Business Logistics - which published the study - and some rag called the Harvard Business Review. Then came Supply Chain Management Review, Transportation Journal - a quarterly of the American Society of Transportation and Logistics - and the International Journal of Logistics Management, another scholarly volume published twice a year by two university professors.

None of them are what I consider Traffic World''s competition in covering important developments in logistics, supply-chain management and freight transportation technology. Behind Traffic World came half a dozen commercial publications and 10 more scholarly publications.

Traffic World also covers the educational field as well, with periodic stories on education and Career Advancement columns by Associate Editor Kathleen Hickey, annual reports and directories about logistics education and a healthy diet of commentaries by educators and practitioners alike. This week, for instance, we begin an occasional column by Tranzact Systems CEO Mike Regan on how to develop your logistics career (see "Get Career Insurance" on page 15).

Just last year we asked readers to tell us why Traffic World is important and several educators were among those who responded. "I have two ''must-read'' publications that I believe are essential for every professional in transportation and logistics - they are The Wall Street Journal and Traffic World," wrote Dr. James C. Johnson, professor of marketing and transportation at St. Cloud University. "Your publication is an outstanding tool for the classroom ... and extremely well received by the students," wrote Dr. William J. DeWitt, professor of logistics, transportation and supply-chain management at the University of Maryland. In Niagara University "senior-level logistics courses, Traffic World is a course requirement. More than one student has been helped in a job interview by" citing a Traffic World story, said Dr. Jim Kling, professor of business and director of Niagara''s Logistics, Transportation and Management Center. Thanks for your support. We''ll keep trying.